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Recycling electronics helps preserve environment

To the Editor:

I wanted to comment on a recent Associated Press article regarding electronic recycling which was published in the Sky-High Daily News.

It is unfortunate that replacement of electronics is frequently less expensive than repair. This combined with short product life spans and obsolescence is creating a huge environmental problem.

Most electronics contain significant amounts of hazardous materials ranging from water soluble lead, mercury, etc. As an example, older 14-inch cathode ray tube (CRT) computer monitors contain an average of four pounds of water soluble lead.

The key term here is “water soluble,” meaning the lead will dissolve when contacted by water. The scenario goes like this:

A consumer takes an old television or computer monitor to the landfill. If it is simply dumped and smashed by the bulldozer, the glass shatters exposing the lead to the elements. When water contacts the lead, it dissolves and then leaches into our groundwater. It’s irrelevant whether that groundwater leach occurs in Grand County or in Third World countries. It all contaminates our water supply.

For this reason it’s not only essential that we recycle our electronics, but that they are recycled in the proper manner. Some manufacturers claim to recycle electronics. In reality this can often mean they are collected and shipped overseas. A variety of scenarios may ensue ranging from redeployment of usable equipment to simply dumping them in an overseas electronics land fill.

As the president and owner of Double Diamond Technologies I am often the one telling clients that it is more cost-effective to replace rather than repair equipment. I feel a strong responsibility to promote electronics recycling.

For that reason, I have partnered with Gary Cruson of Mountain Recyclers in sponsoring several electronics recycling drives. Our Sept. 25 event filled a large trailer with over 211 items ranging from computer CPUs, laser printers, inkjet printers, televisions, keyboards, mice, etc.

A small number of newer, more powerful computers are reconditioned and donated to needy charities here in Colorado. The vast majority of equipment is completely disassembled with over a 98 percent recycle rate. Plastics and metals are sorted and melted down; glass is disassembled and shipped to one of two recycling plants.

According to Gary, the only component he must throw away is the “particle board” back found in older televisions. In addition, Mountain Recyclers work force predominantly consists of disabled workers. In short, I feel Mountain Recyclers is a “good neighbor” and steward for our environment.

Colorado law requires businesses to properly dispose of and document the disposal of electronics. Home consumers are not bound by that law; however, given the large quantities of home electronics I encourage everyone to act responsibly and recycle.

Double Diamond Technologies will be hosting another recycling drive in the spring of 2008. If you have immediate needs, I suggest you contact Mountain Recyclers at (866) 218-1557 or via their Web site http://www.mountainrecyclers.com.

Pat Jacques

President,

Double Diamond Technologies

Fraser


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