Hundreds of cars rolled through the Delta County Fairgrounds parking lot in Hotchkiss on Saturday, June 14, to unload what amounted to 19,854 lbs. of unwanted electronics. In just four hours televisions the size of truck beds, dinosaur computer monitors, boxes of broken cell phones and cords, and other electronic miscellany, were packed to fill two semi-trucks.
“20,000 lbs. recycled . . .
that’s the weight of four mid-sized cars! That’s a lot less clutter in people’s homes and offices — and less stuff taking up space in the landfill, where most American’s electronics end up. It does a lot of good for our plane,” remarked Ken Burns, CEO of E-Waste Recyclers of Grand Junction, the recycling provider for the event.
E-Waste Recyclers employees drove the semi-trucks back to their warehouses in Grand Junction the following Monday to dismantle the electronics and ship away their components for recycling. The company ships all of the rare metals in electronics to be recycled within the United States. The only thing they ship overseas is plastic casings, which go to China to be melted down and reused for consumer products.
The drive was a fundraiser for the Hotchkiss Area Chamber of Commerce and the Western Slope Conservation Center. It was the second year the two groups have worked together to organize the event. The event was also sponsored by the Town of Hotchkiss, TDS-Telecomm, and the First State Bank of Colorado.
“As of last year (July 2013) it’s now illegal in the State of Colorado to dispose of electronics at the landfill, so our intention is to offer North Fork Valley residents an opportunity every year to dispose of their electronics responsibly by recycling. The only electronics recycling drop-off place in Delta County is at Double J Disposal’s Recycling Center in Austin, and many people in the North Fork rarely make it to Austin,” said Nathan Sponseller, chamber president.
The Western Slope Conservation Center leads a recycling committee that works to raise awareness and increase participation about recycling in Delta County. Sam Brown, recycling committee chair explained the Conservation Center’s motivation for organizing the e-waste drive.
“Electronic equipment is the fastest growing garbage stream in America. Most electronics manufacturers prioritize ‘planned obsolescence’ designing products to break and become useless within a very short time to keep us buying them more often, boosting their bottom line. The real cost is to our environment.
“Most electronics in the United States are disposed of improperly dumped in a landfill or burned in an incinerator. When dumped or burned, the lead, mercury and other toxic materials inside e-waste can contaminate our soil, water, and air. We don’t want this in Delta County. We want to make protecting our environment easy and normal.”
The chamber and the Conservation Center intend to host another electronic recycling drive next spring or summer. If you missed this drive, you can always take unwanted electronics to Double J Recycling Center at 25138 Austin Road in Austin. There are fees to recycle some electronics. For more info call Double J at 835-8886.