Harsimus Cove Association Launches Sticker Campaign Against Improper Disposal of Electronic Waste

A television bearing the Harsimus Cove Association E-Waste Campaign sticker

Stephen Musgrave is sick of TV. Or, at least, of seeing old TVs dumped on streets by residents not complying with Jersey City Incinerator Authority (JCIA) rules.

The Harsimus Cove Association (HCA), of which Musgrave is president, has launched a campaign against electronic waste, or “e-waste,” being improperly disposed of, an issue that Musgrave says affects the quality of life in his neighborhood and throughout the city. (In an HCA survey of quality of life issues, TVs is the second biggest offender, behind graffiti, Musgrave says.) According to the JCIA, some examples of “e-waste” are old computers, televisions, stereos, radios, copy machines and fax machines.

Since Jan. 1, 2011, residents have no longer been permitted to place e-waste at the curb with their regular garbage according to the JCIA website. Instead, residents should call the JCIA on weekdays between 8 am and 4:30 pm to at 201-432-4645 ext. 600 to schedule a pickup. They can also drop off the e-waste at the JCIA, located at 501 Route 440, which is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm. For the drop-off method, proof of residency like a utility bill or driver’s license is required.

Although the JCIA has been following this procedure for years, many just haven’t gotten the message. The HCA has been particularly proactive about fighting the problem. As Musgrave says, it’s about more than just getting rid of the eyesores that often sit on curbs for weeks as garbage trucks pass them by.

“I don’t have a good grasp on what parts of the TV are recyclable — or if all parts of the TV are recyclable — but I know that the there is lead in these older TVs and leaving one out on the curb without an appointment to have it picked up allows the roving scrappers get to it, bust open the shell and get to the copper,” says Musgrave. “And if that’s mishandled, we’ve got lead on the sidewalk where children can get to it, or dogs. And then if it rains, we now have it flowing into our waterways. That’s a problem.

“Furthermore, it’s a blight, it’s dumping, it makes people feel like the place they inhabit doesn’t matter. And, of course, Harsimus Cove matters very much, as does every neighborhood,” he says.

In the past, HCA members would submit reports to the JCIA whenever they saw an offending piece of e-waste on city streets, and the JCIA would pick it up. This, however, is not helping to solve the problem, according to a recent post on their website:

“Efficiently cleaning up somebody’s mess sends the wrong message. The offender and the casual observer see a TV put out one day and then it’s gone the next. They likely come to believe that this is how it’s to be done — just put it out and the city takes care of it.”

Now, they’re placing PSA stickers on the electronics (as seen above) explaining what e-waste is and how to properly dispose of it. Those who want to help join the campaign can download the sticker and print them on Avery sticker labels (or on regular paper, if you’d rather tape them). They can be used by residents of any neighborhood, though the HCA has created its own label for Harsimus Cove resident.

Photo courtesy of Stephen Musgrave

Summer Dawn Hortillosa

is a freelance arts and entertainment writer whose work has appeared in the Jersey City Independent, The Jersey Journal, the International and other publications. She is also a creative writer and theatrical director.