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Consumer Electronics and Toys To be Banned From Landfills Starting July 1

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They occur every year:  gift-giving events where family and friends gather for food, cartoon-themed decorations, and to shower your kids with toys. In our current era, most of these toys are gadgets that aid your child developmentally or entertain them with shiny lights and loud noises.

But in a matter of weeks, months, or years, your child will inevitably outgrow them. Unless future children are in “The Plan,” every parent is likely to end up with a closet, basement, or corner of the playroom that will turn into an Island of Misfit Toys – abandoned, shuffled from spot to spot, ignored. First instinct? Toss ‘em. That’s what landfills are for, right?

Well, beginning July 1, 2013 most consumer electronics will be banned from Colorado landfills, meaning those old toys cannot be simply thrown away in household trash. Banned items will include video game consoles, tablets, and more. Here’s why:

  • The primary intention of the Electronic Recycling Jobs Act is to create jobs. According to the Institute for Self-Reliance, per ton of waste, recycling sustains 10 jobs for every one landfill job.
  • Electronics are made from valuable resources, such as gold, copper, and plastic – all of which require considerable energy to process and manufacture. Recycling electronics recovers these materials and as a result reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves energy, and saves resources by extracting fewer raw materials from the earth.
  • Many electronic devices contain hazardous materials, including lead and mercury. *These materials are not a concern when the equipment is in use, but if disposed of in a landfill, the materials could migrate and contaminate soil or groundwater.

*Note that landfills are well-lined and there is no evidence of this occurrence in Colorado.

To prepare for the July 1 ban, Colorado residents are encouraged to explore alternative disposal options, many of which are free, including:

  • Donating:  Most thrift stores will accept electronic devices, working or non-working.
  • Recycling:  Research community collection events, manufacturer’s take-back or buy-back programs, or a reputable electronics recycling firm. Visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s “e-waste” website to find options near you.

Know that you are responsible for protecting personal information that is often stored on electronic devices. The best approach to protect your privacy is to physically destroy the hard drive with deep scratches or by hammering nails through it.

So during the next toy-purging frenzy or child’s birthday party, keep this upcoming ban in mind. You’ll not only be freeing yourself of clutter, but you could be gifting other children and keeping your world cleaner and safer.

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