Computer recycling event held Saturday

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When the Computer Recycling Roundup was held two years ago, more than 1,700 pieces totalling 22.5 tons of electronic equipment were collected.

Barbara Hughes of Yampa Valley Recycles said interest has continued in recycling electronic equipment, leading the group to work with G & S Mountain Recyclers to hold another computer recycling event this year.

"We don't expect anywhere that kind of volume this time," Hughes said. "But because we got a lot of calls, we felt there was a need to do it again, that there was enough interest, enough stuff out there."

As part of Green Up-Clean Up Day, residents and small businesses can drop off old electronic equipment at the Meadows Parking Lot off of Pine Grove Road. The drop-off will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m Saturday.

"It's an opportunity for people to dispose of computer equipment in an environmentally sensitive and responsible manner," Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said.

The drop-off point will accept computers, printers, scanners, copy machines, telephone systems, fax machines, cell phones, palm pilots, VCRs and televisions.

The groups will charge to recycle the equipment; prices vary depending on size. The cost to recycle monitors or laptops is $20, printers are $10, fax machines are $15 and a copy machine can range from $25 to $250. Cell phones, keyboards, mice and palm pilots are free of charge.

At the 2002 computer recycling event, prices were much lower because it was subsidized by a $3,000 state grant.

Computer components have hazardous material and the hard drives have to be taken apart and cleaned off, DuBord said.

"They have to be disposed of appropriately, and that costs money," she said.

In 2001, the state Legislature passed a law making it illegal for businesses, government agencies and schools to throw computers, laptops, colored televisions and cell phones in landfills. The law established a $35,000 per day fine for any company that did not properly dispose of computers.

G & S Mountain Recyclers can coordinate with large businesses to pick up electronic equipment before or during the event if the business has 10 or more pieces to dispose.

Computer monitors alone contain five to eight pounds of lead. Other toxic materials in computers are cadmium, zinc, copper, chromium, mercury and manganese.

Once the old electronic equipment lands in landfills, those hazardous materials could seep into the ground and eventually into water systems.

"People are becoming more aware," Hughes said. "The consumer and the manufacturer recognize when these things do reach the end of their lives, the right thing to be done with the item. We can't just dump them in landfills."

Hughes said about 90 percent of the computer's components could be recycled, with the glass, plastic and metal being shipped to different manufactures.

The drop-off Saturday also will allow residents to donate usable computer equipment to the nonprofit organization GIVES.

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