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Free drop-off event Saturday for electronics, household hazardous waste, textiles and pharmaceuticals
Contacts: Aaron Byrne, Summit County Resource Allocation Park (SCRAP), 970-468-9263, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Hueneke, High Country Conservation Center, 970-668-5703, email@example.com
SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County will hold its free annual recycling event this Saturday, May 21. Accepted special-waste items include electronics, household hazardous waste, textiles and pharmaceuticals.
“We know Summit County residents value our surroundings and environment, and understand the importance of disposing of unwanted items in responsible ways that help protect the places we love,” Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said. “Our annual recycling event is a great opportunity to ensure that all those paints, clothes, old electronics and medications don't end up harming our environment. So we invite everyone to participate.”
The May 21 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. In 2019 Summit County collected 14.3 tons of electronics, 197 pounds of pharmaceuticals and 4.3 tons of household hazardous waste at this event.
“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 year, 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. Neither household nor commercial appliances are accepted at the event, but they are accepted at the SCRAP.
Accepted household hazardous waste items include paints, stains, pesticides, fertilizers, cleansers, solvents, adhesives and mercury thermometers and switches. Materials must be in their original containers and/or clearly labeled. Household hazardous waste items not accepted at this event, but accepted onsite at the SCRAP, include antifreeze, fluorescent bulbs, gasoline, kerosene, batteries and motor oil. 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.
Electronic items 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, thermometers, 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. In previous years, over 201 pounds of pharmaceuticals were collected.
“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 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, Saturday 7am to noon, 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 569 tons of electronics and 177 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, and Dillon Police Department. Free needle collection boxes are available alongside the medication boxes at the Summit County Justice Center. For more info on medication drop-off bins, visit www.SummitCountyCO.gov/takemedsback.