At Race for the cure in Central Park, Recycling Hero stopped to look at the recycling information table. After running or walking 5 kilometers around the park on a 90° day with sweat heavy on their brows, few people were ready to talk about recycling.
So why is it that people from GrowNYC’s Zero Waste Program were offering recycling information at Race for the Cure? That question started Recycling Hero thinking about the connection between cancer and recycling. Unfortunately as it turns out, there is a strong connection. Some of the things we throw out are known to cause cancer. Our electronic devices are the most significant source of heavy metals in landfills. Communities that host landfills have learned this lesson the hard way. Although they appreciate the $390 million that New York City tax payers send them each year along with 4 million tons of waste, the rise in the increasing incidents of cancer from cancer considerably lessens the thrill.
Heavy metals such as Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, Aluminum, and Arsenic, all found in electronics are known to cause cancer. The source of these heavy metals in landfills is electronics such as radios, stereos, televisions, computers, and cell phones. Concern about heavy metals leaching into their ground water has prompted community after community and state after state to ban electronics from landfills. And in turn, municipalities that collect trash have required their residents to make sure that their electronic devices are properly recycled. Recycling electronics is less convenient than tossing remembering to take a reusable bag to the store, but it is a lot more convenient than a 5k run around Central Park, or cancer for that matter.
Now that you see the connection between recycling and cancer, please take the time to recycle your electronics from The New York City Department of Satiation or GrowNYC.