With Earth Day quickly approaching, New York State is on a recycling roll, with legal changes to the process of recycling TVs and plastic bags. In Madison County, residents are required to pay to recycle old TVs and computer monitors due to their use of cathode ray tubes. Meanwhile, the rest of the state has begun requiring stores to accept plastic bags with recycling triangle numbers two and four for recycling, in addition to grocery bags.
Grocery stores and other retail centers with recycling capabilities began accepting the new bags as early as March 1, 2015. While bags with drawstrings, bags soiled with food, and mulch bags are unacceptable, the new laws allow the recycling of many other bags that were previously turned-away. Even drawstring bags can be recycled as long as the strings are removed. Bread, produce, and cereal bags are acceptable with all food residue removed. Lawmakers hope making more plastics recyclable will have a similar impact as carpet recycling, which has kept more than 1.5 billion pounds of waste out of United States landfills.
In 2014, Madison County alone spent $15,000 subsidizing the recycling of electronics. Many companies and individuals have responded to the New York State Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act by recycling their used and unwanted electronics.
Old computer monitors and TVs are being left out of the recycling initiative, as manufacturers take no responsibility to recycle these items. Legally, there should be one collection site per county, with additional collection sites for every area with populations over 10,000. By these guidelines, there should be two collection sites in Madison County, but there is only one.
Many residents end up dumping their TVs and monitors at the side of the road and in woods, so the county is calling for legislators to enforce the manufacturers’ responsibility to recycle the items.