Summit County’s recycling day keeps tons of waste out of environment |

Summit County’s recycling day keeps tons of waste out of environment

Disposed electronics at the Summit County Resource Allocation Park (SCRAP). Old electronics may contain toxic materials that can leak into the environment.
Aaron Byrne / Summit County Resource Allocation Park

Summit County once again stepped up to the plate during the county’s annual recycling event on May 19, bringing in healthy hauls of special waste while helping keep toxic materials out of Summit waterways.

The event, which was held in concert with town cleanup days and Colorado Public Lands day, invited residents to bring down old electronics, household hazardous waste, pharmaceuticals and textiles to be properly recycled at the Summit County Resource Allocation Park.

In total, the recycling event yielded 12.9 tons of old electronic waste, 4.5 tons of household hazardous waste, 5.9 tons of latex paint, 2 tons of textiles and 586 vehicles while the sheriff’s office collected a record-setting 218 pounds of discarded pharmaceuticals.

“I’m really thrilled that Summit County residents once again came out in force for the event,” said County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier. “It shows that the people understand the value of properly recycling or disposing otherwise toxic materials from homes, and it is wonderful to see how well informed people here are.”

High County Conservation Center executive director Jennifer Schenk added that rounding up the potential toxic waste goes a long way to keeping local waterways safe.

“The most important thing is that we’re not adversely affecting water quality,” Schenk said. “When something winds up being illegally dumped, even in the landfill, you just never know where it will end up. That’s why it’s illegal to have electronics disposed into the landfill. We want to keep our water quality pristine.”

SCRAP’s recycling foreman, Bill Schenk, Jennifer Schenk’s husband, said that several vendors are responsible for processing the special waste.

“Electronics Recyclers International handles our electronic recycling, who are able to properly handle, recycle and discard all components associated with this waste stream,” he said. “ERI completely dismantles all of this material and the scrap metal, precious metals and plastics are all recycled. Greensheen handles the latex paint that is either directly reused or properly disposed of. Veolia properly handles and disposes of all our other hard to recycle household hazardous wastes. US Again is able to collect old textiles for reuse and our Summit County Sheriff’s Office is able to take prescription medications and sharps to be properly discarded.”

Solid waste director Aaron Byrne said the effort to keep recycling a priority in Summit is a product of community spirit and teamwork.

“As far as turnout and success of this year’s recycling event it was a team effort first and foremost, and teamwork divides the task and doubles the success,” Byrne said. “We are fortunate to live in a community that cares about our surroundings and wants to protect our environment every way possible, and just to do the right thing.”

Byrne wanted to remind Summit residents that SCRAP accepts special waste items like electronics and household hazardous waste year-round, Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Just bring your materials up to SCRAP, get weighed and drop the waste off.

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