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Recycling Computers Saves Room In Landfill

Tools

By Jay Michaels

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Electronic waste. With all the computerized devices we use, we're not always sure what to do with the old ones.

Computers and cell phones tend to wear out pretty quickly. And while many of us just throw them away and buy new ones, many computer components like these can be recycled because they have elements that don't need to be in the landfill.

Eric Higbee of Southern Idaho Solid Waste says, "Motherboards contain very little gold, some brass, and microchips, little things that in small quantities are not worth very much. But when recycled in bulk really does help generate commodities."

Higbee explains computer power supplies have electric motors with copper wires that can be recycled. Computer towers are made of aluminum and some tin, while processors on the motherboard are usually a high grade commodity.

After the computer components are put into e-waste bins at the transfer stations, they're taken out to the Hub Butte site, where they're sorted and then sent away to be recycled.

Seven transfer stations in Southern Idaho accept e-waste for recycling. Those include Shoshone, Gooding, Minidoka,
Jerome, Ohio Gulch in the Wood River Valley, Twin Falls, and the Milner Butte Landfill near Burley.

Higbee says, "For 2013 we were able to divert 37,000 pounds out of the landfill, which really helps the landfill last longer and keeps the cost down for the public when we do landfill expansions."

Higbee points out while they can recycle any computer related materials, they're not set up to receive televisions, VCRs, and traditional telephones, although they can recycle cell phones.

January 1, 2014.


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