Here’s your chance to save that old computer from the landfill
Computers may be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but they’re also a recycling nightmare.
They contain toxic heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium, arsenic and manganese, that are dangerous in the environment.
For example, cathode ray tubes in desktop computer monitors contain between three and seven pounds of lead in their glass. Circuitboards contain a variety of heavy metals.
But recycling experts are beginning to find ways to deconstruct and recycle computer components, and have begun collecting outdated computers.
A computer recycling day is set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Basalt and Pitkin County.
The collection project is sponsored by the Governor’s Office on Energy Conservation and Management and the local Valley Resource Management.
Computers will be collected in the True Value parking lot in Glenwood Springs, at Carbondale and Basalt town halls and at the Pitkin County landfill.
Recyclers will be charged a nominal fee of $5 per monitor and $2 for a CPU or a printer. Other components are free, said VRM director Tresi Houpt. The actual cost of recycling a computer is $35.
“The state will pay for the rest,” Houpt said.
VRM received a $5,000 grant from OECM to stage the recycling events, she said. The valley recycling is part of a statewide effort this spring involving 15 cities.
“Our goal is to keep the hazardous components of computers out of landfills,” Houpt said.
Individuals and small businesses are invited to bring their computers for recycling, but because of privacy issues, financial, medical and insurance companies cannot participate, Houpt said.
Representatives of Computers For Kids will be on hand to inspect computers for the possible upgrades and re-use. The valleywide program refurbishes computers for kids who can’t otherwise afford them.
Components that can’t be renovated will be recycled by Waste Management, Houpt said. Those components will be broken down and the hazardous materials removed.
Mid-Valley Kiwanis, which is helping with the event, needs volunteers, Houpt said. To volunteer, call Robert Woods at 927-9595 or Glenn Hartmann at 927-4701, ext. 202.
VRM is also working to develop a continuing computer recycling program, Houpt said.
“This year’s event is a pilot program for us. We definitely want to see if there is a need,” she said.
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