Center for hard-to-recycle materials helps students and Boulderites recycle tricky items
While paper and plastic have always been a top priority on the “easy-to-recycle” list, there are many other items that can also be recycled in order to help preserve the environment.
Eco-Cycle is a non-profit recycling organization created in Boulder in 1976 by residents who felt strongly about preserving natural resources. According to the Eco-Cycle Web site, they are now one of the largest recycling non-profits in the nation. Their mission is to take society’s “throw-away ethic” and encourage individuals and communities to adopt a more environmentally-friendly attitude about what to do with the things they no longer use.
|>> PRICES FOR RECYCLING AT CHaRM|
|Monitors & TVs 19″ or smaller: $10
Monitors & TVs 20″ to 34″: $15
Consoles and Big Screen TVs 35″ or bigger: $30
Computer Towers/ CPUs: $8
Computer Printers (under 40 lbs): $8
Scanners, fax machines, etc.: $8 each
Universal Power Supply (UPS): $8
Keyboards, Mice, Cables, etc: NO CHARGE
Large miscellaneous computer equipment: 30 cents per pound
VCRs and satellite receivers: $8
Desktop Copiers: $8
Large Copiers (over 40 lbs): 30 cents per pound
Home stereo components (receiver, boombox, etc.) (NO speakers): $8
Cellular Phones: NO CHARGE
Land-line telephones and car stereos: $4
Video game systems: $4-$8 (depending on size)
Video and digital cameras: $2-$8 (depending on size)
PDAs, Gameboys, Walkmans: $2
Ink Jet and Laser Jet Printer Cartridges: NO CHARGE
Plastic Bags with a #2 or #4–clean, dry, and empty only (e.g. plastic dry cleaner bags, grocery bags, and newspaper bags): NO CHARGE
Books & Manuals: NO CHARGE
Athletic Shoes (no sandals, boots, other types of shoes; no shoes with metal, zippers, cleats, spikes, or mud): NO CHARGE
Textiles (clothing, bedding, fabrics, towels, and paired shoes; may be ripped or torn but must be clean; no socks, no underwear): NO CHARGE
– Amanda Pehrson
Started in November 2001, the Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials (CHaRM) partnered with Eco-Cycle. The organization handles recyclable goods that are not as easy to recycle as cans, bottles, or plastic. This includes items like cell phones, books, electronic equipment, old ink cartridges, and athletic shoes.
“We started because Eco-Cycle’s mission is to divert the waste stream from landfill (waste streams). CHaRM is intended to go after the remainder (non-traditional recyclable items). The idea is to one category at a time, come up with recyclable markets for these materials,” Dan Matsch, Manager of CHaRM said.
Many students with lots of other roommates have multiple electronic devices by the end of their CU schooling that may be well-worn or useless that can be valued and converted into useful product with the help of IT Asset Management Services (ITAM) by Greenbox. Graduating or moving CU students may find CHaRM useful when they have extra lawn chairs or appliances.
Currently, 40 to 50 percent of the waste stream is compostable, but this does not include most electronic equipment. According to CHaRM’s Web site, each TV and computer contains about three to eight pounds of lead that contain toxic substances that if traditionally land-filled, can contaminate groundwater.
“We have being working in this one material at a time; it has been very successful. It can be challenging because in others we are trying to encourage finding someone who is willing to work with us on where to put these materials,” Matsch said.
There are fees associated with the cost of collection and storage. The cost may compel people, especially college students to dispose of their old electronics in cost-free ways. But Charm hopes to eliminate the charge on consumers with the help of American companies.
In many countries, the cost of recycling these hard-to-recycle items falls on the companies who manufacture them and is referred to as a “take-back” policy. In order for recycling to be free, U.S. companies would have to partake in take-back.
CHaRM’s Web site states that, “Eco-Cycle is part of a coalition working to create similar “take-back” programs in the U.S. If U.S. companies participate in Take-Back programs abroad, why not here? Until businesses begin to design products for recycling and disassembly and offer free “take-back” programs, recyclers like you, local governments like the City of Boulder, and nonprofits like Eco-Cycle will continue to bear the cost of doing the right thing.”
Eco-Cycle offers jobs, internships or volunteer opportunities. CHaRM is open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and can be reached at 303-444-6634
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Amanda Pehrson at email@example.com