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Colorado Bans the Disposal of E-Waste

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Colorado EWasteBeginning July 1st, it will be illegal to throw away electronic items in Colorado. Your discarded electronics will no longer be hauled away by trash collectors. If you do dispose of them, you’ll find a green sticker attached to the device stating: “Devices like this are prohibited from Colorado landfills according to the Electronic Recycling Jobs Act.

This law, which was passed last year by the Colorado General Assembly, was designed to help save the environment and generate new jobs. It’s expected to create an infrastructure for the disposal of electronic waste.

It’s illegal to throw away your discarded electronics in Colorado; there are many electronic-waste recycling facilities and programs operating throughout the state—from thrift stores to retailers, many places will accept these devices for free.

“There are a lot of retailers that are offering recycling now,” said Wolfgang Kray, an environmental-protection specialist with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, “A bunch of places that sell electronics are already offering recycling for free.” Kray says that “Most electronics that are being recycled are smelted down and being made into components [for] new electronics.”

For example, Best Buy and Staples will recycle your electronics for free.  Private businesses like Metech Recycling charge a fee for the service. Metech’s Senior Vice President of Compliance, Quality, and Sustainability, Mary Jo Lockbaum, says, “The amount of labor involved in getting materials out of electronics is quite significant.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, electronics contain hazardous materials that could be harmful to our health and to the environment when they aren’t properly disposed of. Handling e-waste in a responsible and ethical way can be extremely expensive.

Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment can answer all of your questions regarding what types of electronics can, and cannot be recycled.  Those who need to dispose of their e-waste can find local recyclers at: http://www.greenergadgets.org/

For more information on Colorado’s new electronic waste law go to: http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDPHE-HM/CBON/1251615964355

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