By Aramis Khosro
As part of a villagewide sustainability initiative, the Village of Port Jefferson teamed up with Holtsville-based e-Green Recycling Management on Saturday, Aug. 5, for a recycling event at the Perry Street lot in Upper Port.
Deputy Mayor Rebecca Kassay, the village’s sustainability commissioner, said this first-of-its-kind recycling event represents an ongoing effort to keep the community clean and promote environmental conservation locally.
“People want to be part of something bigger,” she said. “As a board of trustees member, I look for opportunities like this to bring our community together and keep toxic waste out of our landfills.”
In attendance was Stella Cohen, who has worked for five years at e-Green Recycling. She described the company’s mission, noting that recycled electronic waste serves a beneficial function for the environment.
Through recycling, “you’re saving the planet,” Cohen said.
According to the New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice, New Yorkers alone produce over 14 million tons of waste per year, the bulk of which ends up in landfills, polluting streets and water systems. E-waste is among the most voluminous and harmful household hazards, according to the NYC Department of Sanitation.
Since its launch in 2012, e-Green Recycling has worked to tackle the issue of electronic waste head-on.
Cohen added that recycling e-waste has the further benefit of promoting digital equity, which the National Digital Inclusion Alliance defines as “a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy.”
A New York State Education Department report states that nearly 27% of New Yorkers are not subscribed to wireline broadband services at home. Additionally, 22% of New York households do not have functioning laptops or desktops.
“Those recycled laptops and PCs can be refurbished and reused for people who cannot afford to buy them,” Cohen said. “There is a big economic factor as well.”
Kevin Wood, the village’s parking administrator and director of economic development, emphasized the value of these events in fostering a community identity and shared purpose.
“I like these events because they’re responsible,” he said, adding, “This is a great model for events in the future.”
Kassay expressed eagerness to repeat e-waste recycling activities soon.
“We will absolutely be organizing more events like this,” the deputy mayor said. “Whether it’s the village hosting or another municipality or organization, we want our residents to know that it is easy to do the right thing.”