The Electronic Recycling Jobs Act
By: Kate Lemon
We know that electricity and water don't mix. Beginning July 1, electronics won't mix with Colorado soil, either. This summer, the Electronic Recycling Jobs Act goes into effect. Most consumer electronics will be banned from Colorado landfills, including computers, video game consoles, TVs, and more. Why, you ask?
Senate Bill 12-133 was mainly formulated to create jobs. According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, per ton of waste, recycling sustains 10 jobs for every one landfill job. Electronics are also made from valuable resources, such as gold and copper, which require considerable energy to process and manufacture. Recycling recovers these valuable materials and as a result, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves energy, and saves resources by extracting fewer raw materials.
Concurrently, electronic devices can contain hazardous materials, including lead and mercury. These materials are not a concern when the electronics are in use, but if disposed of in a landfill, the materials could migrate and contaminate soil or groundwater. (1)
To prepare for this ban, Colorado residents are encouraged to explore alternative disposal options, many of which are free or profitable to you, including donation to thrift stores, community collection events, or manufacturer's buy-back programs.
Regardless of the disposal outlet, know that you are responsible for protecting any personal information stored on electronic devices. The best approach to protect your privacy is to physically destroy a hard drive with deep scratches or by hammering nails through it.
Please visit www.colorado.gov/cdphe/ewaste for more information.
(1) Note that landfills are well-lined to protect against this type of contamination, though the possibility of leakage still exists. There has been no evidence of this occurrence in Colorado landfills.