Electronics recycling sets record in Durango

2-day collection helps to protect environment, reduce pollution

The two-day collection of unwanted electronic equipment and gadgets in Durango last month netted more than 53 tons of material, the most ever, the city’s sustainability coordinator said Monday.

“We collected roughly 106,700 pounds from about 700 participants,” Mary Beth Miles said. “Among the material were 550 computer monitors, 425 televisions and a variety of other equipment.

“We see all kinds of stuff,” Miles said. “It’s a mix of old and new.”

Natural Evolution of Tulsa, Okla., conducted the collection, Miles said. The firm dismantles all material, sanitizing or destroying hard drives and other data-storage components to ensure confidentially.

All processing takes place in the United States, she said. Nothing will be sent to landfills.

Residents of Pagosa Springs, Mancos and Dolores as well as La Plata County drop off material at the twice-a-year event, held two days in the spring, and two days in the fall, Miles said.

Collection of old electronics in La Plata County started in 2004, Miles said. A single two-day collection that year saw 75,000 pounds of material recycled, she said.

The total for 2009 was 173,242 pounds, second only to the 188,783 pounds collected this year, Miles said. In nine years of collections, 1.12 million pounds of electronics have been received.

“Old electronics contain hazardous material, such as lead, that can be recovered,” Miles said. “Recycling also conserves natural resources and energy, reduces pollution and protects the environment.”

The drop-off was at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.

Once recycling-center expansion is completed in July, material will be received there, Miles said. The expansion will allow electronics collection every Saturday.

Electronics collection can’t be successful without participation of the public, Miles said. She gets the word out through newspaper and radio ads, public-service announcements, the city TV station, fliers on Durango Transit buses and newsletters of the Environmental Center at Fort Lewis College and the Four Corners Office of Resource Efficiency.


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