For the Jewish world, the search for crumbs of bread in our homes, offices, and vehicles ahead of Pesach is known in the modern environ as spring cleaning. New York Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal and New York City Council Member James Gennaro understand the intensity of these days and in an effort of easing the burdens brought an electronic waste collection event to their districts in conjunction with the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills.

Affixed along 150th Street in front of the prestigious sanctuary, a wonderful crew was on hand to help locals empty their vehicles of clunky computers, screens, prints, and the like. The program accepted working and non-working devices. To my surprise, there was a printer still in its original packaging disposed. It appears this device was a bit outdated.

By 1 p.m., midway through the six-hour event, 78 families had already visited the site. Christine Datz-Romero, Executive Director at Lower East Side Ecology Center, co-founded the community-based environmental organization to bring New York City closer to a more sustainable future. She explained that the truck onsite would hold 12 pallets of unwanted electronics; eight were already being loaded. “All items go through a detailed sorting process,” explained Datz-Romero. “Even internal cables are stripped, parts are extracted, and the plastic casings are pelletized for new plasticware.” Datz-Romero also expressed how some items are known to be flame retardant requiring a further breakdown until the plastics can be prepared for shipment to the Asian region for production processes for new items.

Datz-Romero noted that the common household printer has its own host of issues prior to its disposal. The ink cartridges must be removed as they pose the threat of an explosion if disposed of as a complete unit. Similarly, CRT screens and televisions are handled with special care to remove the lucrative copper yoke. Occasionally, an item will come through that can yield a hefty gain on seller sites like eBay. One such mega motherboard was recently dropped off that can net nearly $4,000! The most exciting part of the event was the table of unique finds. It felt like I was transported into a bygone era.

As I watched the cars and vans pull up, I saw scanners, keyboard, mice, cables, memory chips, motherboards, phones, and wires all being offloaded. I was delighted to see that most of the participants were local frum families. Of course, nobody wants a fine for illegally discarding electronics in the trash, so the importance of such an event is noted. Events are scheduled weekly on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the five boroughs. Assembly Member Rosenthal was represented by Daniel Blech, Constituent and Support Services Director for his office, and Council Member Gennaro was represented by Adam Suinov, his Jewish liaison. For more information, reach out to the LES Ecology Center at, or call 212-477-4022.