ADA COUNTY -- It's the time of the year when many people get the newest electronics for gifts. But, what should you do with your old stuff? Throwing it out can create a safety hazard for the entire community. But Ada County is expanding the recycling program to help clean up your outdated electronics.
It might look like some sort of old television graveyard, and in a way, it is. But it's also the drop off point for the electronics recycling program at the Ada County Landfill.
Ted Hutchinson, the Deputy Solid Waste Director for Ada County said, "If you can't donate them to charitable organizations, or you just don't know what to do with them, getting the new ones for Christmas, bring us the old ones, we'll see that they're recycled and not disposed of in the landfill."
Proper disposal is important, because some electronics have hazardous materials in them, like the lead in old TVs and monitors. "That lead becomes susceptible to being transported by water, which might be inside the landfill. It tends to travel downward, which is where our drinking water is," said Hutchinson.
The County has accepted old TVs for years, but in just the past few months, the program was expanded to take all electronics including cell phones, computers and microwaves.
Hutchinson says the expansion is taking some of the pressure off their household haz-mat collection program. "Ada County has been spending upwards of a million dollars a year on managing household hazardous waste."
But, the county is actually saving money, thanks to the company it sends its recyclable materials to. With the expansion, they're now reimbursing the county for every pound they get, and also all of the transportation and disposal costs on their end.
Since the expanded program started on October 1st, they've shipped off 13 truckloads of recyclable electronics, weighing over 30-thousand pounds each.
There are other electronics recycling sites around town and if you drop your stuff there, it will still end up in the county's recycling program. But they want to encourage people to come to the landfill saying if all you're doing is bringing electronics to recycle, there is no charge.