Recycling discarded electronic devices

County Management

By Roger Baker

July 1 is often chosen by Colorado legislators as the day for various new laws to go into effect, and there are several this year that will affect Gilpin County residents.

Measures that will allow the County to implement a response to one of the most visible were adopted at last week’s meeting of the Gilpin County Commissioners.

The law in question was actually passed in 2012, and was labeled by its sponsors as the Electronic Recycling Jobs Act.

I don’t know how effective the Act will be in creating jobs, but it certainly has led to some changes at the County’s trash transfer station in mid-County.

Specifically, the law prohibits landfills (and our trash is eventually trucked to the Jefferson County landfill down on Highway 93) from accepting most types of discarded electronic devices. Telephones can still be tossed in the trash, though in most cases they can be resold, or donated to a number of organizations such as safe houses that will repurpose the phones for their clients.

But for the great majority of electronic devices – televisions and their accessories, computers and all their peripherals – just dumping them with the weekly trash bag is no longer an option.

Our Public Works Department has been working throughout the past year to come up with a program that will still allow Gilpin County residents to dispose of these items in an environmentally responsible manner, and those changes went into effect this week.

In short, the items will now be segregated in the trash collection process, and a separate fee charged to cover the costs of turning the goods over to a certified “Waste Recycler” for proper processing.

That operation is now in place, and the Commissioners’ action last Tuesday was to ratify the modified recycling fee schedule.

As with most of our fees, they will be higher for non-residents than residents; we want to keep all our fees low, though, so this sort of stuff doesn’t get “accidentally” mixed in with ordinary household trash or – worse yet – tossed in a mine shaft somewhere.

Although this is a change, it shouldn’t be that different for regular users. Besides the usual “free” recyclables that folks can toss in the roll-off container – paper and (most) plastics, cans and bottles – there has always been another class of waste which we recycle separately, and for which we charge (things like tires, car batteries, etc.).

Anyway, it’s good to have the option of convenient, legal and environmentally friendly disposal, and Public Works is to be commended for coming up with a proactive solution rather than just saying no to this growing category of e-waste.

And by the way, the program only applies to residents’ personal televisions, computers and the like, and those used in home-based businesses. Other business and commercial users are governed by different statutes and regulations.

There are links to both the new e-waste fee schedule and the revised solid waste schedule from the County homepage, at Or you can call the Public Works office during weekday business hours at 303-582-5004 with any questions.

And pray for rain!

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