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Free drop-off event for electronics, household hazardous waste, textiles and pharmaceuticals takes place on Countywide Cleanup Day
SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County will hold its free annual recycling event in concert with Countywide Cleanup Day and Colorado Public Lands Day, on Saturday, May 18. Accepted special-waste items include electronics, household hazardous waste, textiles and pharmaceuticals.
“As Summit County residents get into their spring cleaning projects, we know they understand the importance of disposing of unwanted items in responsible ways,” Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. “Our annual recycling event is a great opportunity to ensure that all those old computers, paints, clothes and medications don't end up harming our health or environment. So we invite everyone to participate as part of the celebration of Summit County Cleanup Day and Colorado Public Lands Day.”
The May 18 recycling event, free to all Summit County residents and property owners, is funded through the Summit County Safety First Fund, approved by local voters in November 2014. Collection will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Summit Stage Bus Barn, 0222 County Shops Rd., Frisco, next to the County Commons. During last year’s event, Summit County collected 13 tons of electronics, 218 pounds of pharmaceuticals, 24 pounds of medical sharps, 2 tons of textiles and 10 tons of household hazardous waste.
“Our community has an incredible passion for protecting our natural resources,” said Aaron Byrne, director of the Summit County Resource Allocation Park (SCRAP). “We see that passion spring into action every May, when hundreds of people come out to this collection event to make sure that their old computers and phones get a new life, their worn-out clothes are put to good use and their old medications and household chemicals aren’t getting into our rivers and streams.”
The collection event is for household items only. Commercial loads are not accepted at the event, but businesses may bring electronics and hazardous waste directly to the SCRAP during regular business hours for recycling and/or safe disposal. Appliances are not accepted at the event, but they are accepted at the SCRAP.
High Country Conservation Center is recruiting volunteers to assist with the May 18 collection event. To volunteer, contact HC3 at 970-668-5703, or visit www.highcountryconservation.org.
Accepted household hazardous waste items include paints, stains, pesticides, fertilizers, cleansers, solvents, adhesives, gasoline, kerosene and mercury thermometers and switches. Materials must be in their original containers and/or clearly labeled; do not combine or mix multiple materials. Household hazardous waste items not accepted at this event, but accepted onsite at the SCRAP, include antifreeze, fluorescent bulbs, batteries, motor oil and oil filters. Items not accepted at the SCRAP or at the event include explosives, ammunition, infectious waste, propane tanks and radioactive materials.
When household hazardous waste is improperly disposed of, or dumped down drains or storm sewers, it can seriously damage water quality and aquatic habitats. All household hazardous waste collected during the event will be reused or safely disposed of by Veolia and Green Sheen, with whom Summit County has contracted to ensure the highest standards of safety and pollution control.
Electronics accepted at the event include computers, monitors, printers, phones, audio equipment, TVs, tablets, game consoles and electronics accessories. Recycling electronics recovers valuable materials, thereby conserving natural resources, saving energy and reducing life-cycle emissions. Colorado law prohibits disposal of electronic devices in landfills. When these products do end up in the landfill, they can leach toxic pollutants.
The electronics collection will be facilitated by Electronic Recyclers International, which will disassemble or shred all materials and recycle 100 percent of the constituent materials. The company will physically destroy all hard drives and data storage devices to protect against theft of personal data.
Accepted pharmaceutical items include prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, medication samples, vitamins, prescribed narcotics, medicated lotions and ointments, liquid medications in original leak-proof containers, unopened transdermal skin patches, needles and lancets, pet medications and unused injection cartridges (e.g., insulin pens). Items not accepted include illicit drugs, inhalers, infectious waste, chemotherapy waste, personal care products, sunscreen, marijuana, business waste, empty containers and aerosol cans.
When pharmaceuticals are disposed of in landfills or flushed down toilets or drains, they can pollute water supplies and harm wildlife. Expired or unused medications that are left in medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to misuse or abuse. Twenty-nine percent of Coloradans have used pain medication prescribed for someone else, according to the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office will arrange for safe, anonymous destruction of all pharmaceuticals collected at the event.
“Safe disposal of unused medications is one of our top strategies for preventing diversion, misuse, abuse and addiction; safeguarding the health of our family and friends; and protecting our water quality,” Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said. “Prescription and over-the-counter medications are valuable tools in our health care, but they can also carry risks when improperly used, stored or disposed of.”
Accepted textiles include worn-out clothes, shoes, accessories (e.g., hats, handbags, belts), towels, bedding, drapes and linens, all of which will be collected by the Denver division of USAgain, which has been in the textile collection business for 20 years. The company resells all items collected to wholesale buyers, thrift store chains and textile recyclers. Carpets and pillows are not accepted. Residents are encouraged to bring items in good condition to local thrift stores, rather than to the recycling event.
For Summit residents and property owners who can’t make it to the event, the SCRAP also accepts household hazardous waste and electronics for free drop-off onsite during regular business hours, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, year-round. Proof of residency or property ownership is required. Since the inception of the free special-waste programs in 2015, Summit County residents and property owners have recycled or safely disposed of 640 tons of electronics and 200 tons of household hazardous waste.
Household medications may also be disposed of year-round in secure drop-off bins at the Summit County Justice Center in Breckenridge, Prescription Alternatives pharmacy in Frisco, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco and Dillon Police Department. Free needle collection boxes are available alongside the medication boxes at Summit Medical Center and the Summit County Justice Center. For more info on medication drop-off bins, visit www.SummitCountyCO.gov/takemedsback.
The annual Summit County collection event is part of Countywide Cleanup Day. Hundreds of Summit County residents turn out every year to get the community looking great for summer by picking up litter along roadsides, in parks, on trails and in neighborhoods. To participate, check in at 9 a.m. at Blue River Town Hall, Carter Park in Breckenridge, Frisco Historic Park, Dillon Town Hall or Rainbow Park in Silverthorne. After a morning of spring cleaning, volunteers are treated to a picnic lunch at their check-in location. Visit any of the towns’ websites for more information about activities in a particular town.
New this year is a Dillon Reservoir Shoreline Cleanup, hosted by Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, Summit County Open Space & Trails, the Dillon Reservoir Recreation Committee and Summit Shuttle Water Taxi.
"Participants will remove trash along the shores of Dillon Reservoir, helping to protect one of Summit County's most stunning recreational resources," said Jason Lederer of Summit County Open Space & Trails. "The water level is low right now, so we have a narrow window of opportunity to grab litter that's now exposed, before the water comes back up during spring runoff."
To sign up for the shoreline cleanup, visit www.fdrd.org. For more information on Colorado Public Lands Day, visit www.copubliclandsday.com.