Recycling event a big success

1,500 to 2,000 pieces of computer equipment turned in


— About 45,000 pounds of computer equipment never made it to the Milner Landfill last month.

Piles of keyboards, printers, mice and monitors were sent first to a recycling center in Loveland and then forwarded to a Texas-based Internet systems management company that will disassemble the parts to recycle the plastic, metal and glass.

Barbara Hughes, chairwoman of Yampa Valley Recycles, shared the recent success of the community's first computer recycling event with the Routt County commissioners Monday.

She applauded the work of 52 people who volunteered their time and energy July 27.

Moving heavy equipment from vehicles and stacking them on pallets to be shrink wrapped and forklifted into a tractor-trailer was not an easy task, Hughes said.

"The folks that were out there that day did a tremendous job," she said.

Mike Zopf, director of the county's Environmental Health Department, called the event an overwhelming success.

"We needed every single person to pull it off," he said of the volunteers.

About 1,500 to 2,000 pieces of computer equipment were dropped off at Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

Hughes estimates a third, or 15,000 pounds, of the day's collection came from the Steamboat Springs School District.

The Hayden and Moffat County school districts took advantage of the event, with a Hayden school bus arriving that morning not with students but with computers.

"The schools here have been stockpiling this forever," Hughes said.

Area businesses, residents from Steamboat Springs, Craig, Oak Creek and Hayden and even a few people just passing through dropped off their computers.

Hughes estimated 2,000 to 3,500 pounds of lead were diverted from the landfill. About 5 to 8 pounds of lead can be found in one computer monitor. Glass from the monitors will be melted down to make more glass.

Yampa Valley Recycles polled people who participated in the event. More than 150 completed surveys revealed support for a recycling center in Steamboat Springs and suggested the cost should be shared by everyone in the community or by those who purchase computer equipment, Hughes said.

Of those surveyed, 193 computers and 383 televisions were reported in the home. That figure means some more electronic equipment could very well be headed for the landfill as new technology replaces it, she said.

Only 1 percent of the people in Routt County participated in the event, but a high response to the July 27 event showed the need is there, Hughes said.

Yampa Valley Recycles will likely pursue another computer recycling day for Routt County, but the event might not happen for another two years.

The Colorado Government Office of Energy Management and Conservation awarded Yampa Valley Recycles one of 16 grants in the state intended to offset the high costs of recycling electronics. Businesses, schools and residents were able to recycle their computers for much less than the actual cost.


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