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New law sets restrictions for disposing electronics PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holyoke Enterprise   

Phillips County ahead of schedule for landfill restrictions

Beginning July 1, Colorado residents no longer may dispose of most electronic waste in their household trash because Colorado landfills no longer may accept e-waste. The change is the result of a new law, the Electronic Recycling Jobs Act.

For the past year, the Phillips County Landfill and the City of Holyoke have taken the necessary steps to ensure compliance with the new law. Every first Wednesday of the month, the city performs a large item pickup. The e-waste is then taken to Logan County and then to a Denver recycling program.

A small fee is required to recycle video or digital cameras, computer towers/CPUs, laptop computers, landline telephones, car stereos, video game systems, satellite boxes, desktop copiers, servers, desktop printers, ink jet, fax machines, VCRs, DVDs, home stereos, universal power supplies and televisions.

It will remain free to recycle keyboards, mice, cables, cell phones, software, palm pilots and PDAs. Recycling Samsung equipment will also be free of charge as the e-waste recycling project is in cooperation with Samsung.

Electronic items found in the trash will be tagged and set beside the dumpster. Holyoke residents can request a pickup at the city office.

“The new law applies to TV sets, central processing units, computer monitors and peripherals, printers and fax machines, all kinds of laptops and notebook computers, DVD players, VCRs and any video display device with a screen larger than four inches,” explained Wolf Kray, recycling specialist with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The ban also includes radios, stereo equipment and video game consoles. Telephones, motor vehicle components and non-hazardous industrial or commercial devices still may be legally disposed of in a Colorado landfill.

People affected by the ban may donate or re-sell working devices, although this option is becoming more difficult, as thrift stores and resale shops are becoming more discriminatory about what they will accept. Kray strongly encourages people to recycle their e-waste through community collection events, manufacturer take-back programs or a reputable electronics recycling company.

“When disposing of old computers or printers, it’s important to protect your personal information from identity theft,” Kray said. “Just erasing and reformatting the hard drive is not enough. To be really protected, you need to use disk-wiping software or use a recycler who performs certified data destruction by physically shredding all information storage devices at its facility.”

The Electronic Recycling Jobs Act will create employment opportunities. According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, recycling one ton of waste sustains 10 jobs for every one landfill job. Electronic devices should be kept out of landfills and properly recycled to recover materials and reduce the energy demands from mining and manufacturing.

Electronics are made from valuable resources, such as precious metals, copper and engineered plastics, all of which require considerable energy to process and manufacture. Recycling electronics recovers valuable materials and as a result, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves energy and saves resources by reducing the need for raw materials.

To learn more about collection events, recyclers and protecting your personal data, visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s website, www.colorado.gov/cdphe/ewaste.


Holyoke Enterprise March 28, 2013