Ask Waste Watchers: Throwing away electronics
Vail, CO Colorado
Is it safe to throw electronics in the trash? If I decide to recycle a computer monitor, where can that be done and how much would it cost?
Don in Gypsum
Thanks for the great questions, Don, and for taking an interest in disposing of your computer monitor properly. In short, electronics should not be discarded in the trash because they contain heavy metals that contaminate the environment. Eagle County residents have a number of electronic recycling options.
By volume, electronics are a small percentage of the waste entering landfills but are responsible for most of the heavy-metal contamination. Landfills are not designed to handle large quantities of toxic metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead, which are commonly found in electronics.
Before too long, landfills may no longer accept electronic waste. Twenty-three states have already banned electronic waste from landfills, and Colorado may soon follow. The Colorado House of Representatives bill HB11-1244 (Consumer Electronics Recycling Act) is due to be considered this year.
Electronics cost money to recycle. Since they cannot be recycled locally, electronics must be transported to Denver or beyond for processing. Certain parts found in electronics have value, but the cost of transportation and the labor required to shred, sort and disassemble them exceeds the value of the parts.
Eagle County residents and businesses are fortunate because we currently have a number of options and opportunities for recycling electronic waste (E-waste).
• The Eagle County Household Hazardous Waste facility will begin accepting E-waste on April 1. Residents and businesses will be charged $0.20 per pound for all electronics. For example, a computer monitor weighing 40 pounds would cost $8.
• The Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability has two E-waste collection events coming up. The first is on April 9 at the Eagle Home Show at the Eagle Fairgrounds. Collection hours will be 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and the cost will be $5 per CPU, $10 per CRT monitor and $15 or more for televisions. The alliance’s second event will be June 10 on top of the Lionshead parking garage in Vail. Collection hours and prices will be the same as the Home Show event. Call John-Ryan Lockman at 970-827-9999 if you have additional questions about these two events.
• High Country Computer Services (new location in the Riverwalk at Edwards) accepts E-waste during regular business hours. Call 970-328-7991 for hours and pricing.
Joseph Walls is hazardous-waste specialist at the Eagle County Household Hazardous Waste facility, located at the landfill in Wolcott. The facility is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Call 970-328-3468 or visit http://www.eaglecounty.us/recyclingwaste for information.
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