Trinidad Times Independent, June 25, 2013
A new state law takes effect July 1 that means Colorado landfills can no longer accept electronic waste (e-waste). This means you will no longer be able to dispose of electronic waste along with household trash.
The list of items that can no longer be accepted by the landfill include TVs, computers, monitors, printers, fax machines, laptops, tablets, DVD players, VCRs, radios, stereo equipment, video game consoles and any other electronic devices. For more information, contact the city landfill at 846-2538, the city public works office at 846-9843 ext. 125 or the website of the Colorado Department of Public Heath & Environment (CDPHE) at Colorado.gov/cdphe/ewaste.
The twin ideas behind the ban on e-waste in landfills are recycling and jobs. Information from the website suggests the Electronic Recycling Jobs Act, officially known as Senate Bill 12-133, will create employment opportunities. Recycling sustains 10 jobs per ton of e-waste for every one landfill job, according to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a Washington, D.C.-based environmental group founded in 1974. Electronics are made out of valuable, recoverable materials, such as precious metals, copper, and engineered plastics, all of which require considerable energy to process and manufacture. If e-waste can be kept out of landfills and recycled, those valuable materials can be recovered. That means fewer raw materials would need to be extracted, which saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Many items can still be sent to Colorado landfills, even after the new ban takes effect. Appliances, non-hazardous materials industrial or commercial devices, motor vehicle equipment or any type of telephone may still be discarded in a Colorado landfill after the ban takes effect.
Local government can have an impact on the ban. County commissioners can vote to opt out of the ban if no infrastructure is available or if the county cannot secure a minimum of two collection events per year or a collection facility within the county. Thus far, Las Animas County commissioners have not voted to opt out of the ban, nor do the other factors listed above appear to apply to the county’s landfill situation.