‘E-Cycle’ your high-tech trash the Hempstead way

Have that old television set and VCR been taking up space in your garage for too long?

Well, the Town of Hempstead is here to help.

Over the past seven years, the town has successfully recycled over 858 tons of old electronics and other hazardous materials by hosting several “E-Cycling” events throughout the year.

On Oct. 15, town residents waited in line as early as 6:45 a.m.—over an hour before the event started— to drop off their unwanted computers, televisions, DVD players and other electronic devices. Sanitation workers also accepted pharmaceuticals and old documents for shredding.

Old computers, televisions and other electronics pile up at Hempstead's Oct. 15 E-Cycling Day (LIR Photo by Matthew Ern)

Old computers, televisions and other electronics pile up at Hempstead's Oct. 15 E-Cycling Day (LIR Photo by Matthew Ern)

In the past, two E-Cycling events occurred each year where residents could have their garbage properly recycled. The program has been so successful that Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray added two extra events as well as curbside pickup dates this year.

“It’s great for the environment, and the residents love it,” said Donald Clavin, Hempstead’s receiver of taxes. “Thousands of people come out.”

Recycling Coordinator Salvatore Saia said the total amount of recycled waste increases each year.

“When we started the events, we took in a total of 32.29 tons for one event,” he said. “The very next year, the number went to 102 tons for two events.”

In 2010, the program took in nearly 300 tons of unwanted electronics and other waste.

Data from the Town of Hempstead's E-Cycling program.

Data from the Town of Hempstead's E-Cycling program.

Clavin said that the town conforms to the standards of proper recycling. All the hard drives of the computers are wiped clean, and mercury tubes in old televisions and computer monitors are properly discarded, since they a major concern for the environment.

The E-Cycling program also works closely with another town program, Stop Throwing Out Pollutants (STOP). STOP holds similar recycling events several times per year to properly dispose of paints and chemicals. If incorrectly dumped, such hazardous materials could pollute Long Island’s groundwater.

STOP also holds a light bulb exchange where residents can trade old incandescent bulbs for newer energy efficient ones free of charge. The next exchange takes place Oct. 23 at North Woodmere Park.

For more information on the program, visit Hempstead’s E-Cycling homepage.

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