PW group offers electronic recycling
Disabled workers benefit from disassembly work
Don’t heave that old computer or printer or television into the dumpster. Colorado state law doesn’t allow it anymore and a Pueblo West partnership wants you to know it’s ready to take that electronic trash off your hands.
Out at Jordan Residential & Vocational Services, 91 N. Silicon Drive, a crew of a half-dozen developmentally disabled adults were busy last Thursday dismantling computers and other electronics — putting valuable metals, wiring, plastics and components into separate recycling bins.
Jordan is working in partnership with Southern Colorado Services & Recycling, plus the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. It’s a project that gives minimum-wage jobs to people with disabilities who need help finding work and being independent.
People interested in legally disposing of their old electronics can call 542-6910 or 289-8831. Information is also at www.southerncoloradorecycling.com
“With the new state law that prohibits electronics from being dumped in landfills, we’re hoping to see this operation grow,” said Rhonda Berry, the vocational director for Jordan. “The more work that comes in the door, the more people we can employ.”
Jack Pendleton of Southern Colorado Services does the work of hauling the recyclables to Blue Star Recycling in Colorado Springs. The local partnership is part of the Vocational Electronics Recycling Network established by the Colorado Department of Health and Public Environment.
The network has the purpose of keeping toxic metals out of the state landfills and giving work to the disabled.
“The fact is, 98 percent of the components in a computer are recyclable,” Pendleton explained. “What you don’t want are the lead and cadmium components and other toxic materials sitting in a landfill where water will wash them into the environment.”
Here’s some of what you can get rid of through the Jordan partnership — computers, printers, cell phones, televisions, microwaves, fluorescent lights, new mercury light bulbs, and monitors. They take computer towers and small electronic items for free.
There is a fee to take other items, such as 30 cents a pound for televisions or computer monitors, and 20 cents a pound for printers.
Subario Chavez, 31, has been a team leader at the sorting plant for the past year.
“We can take one of these apart in just minutes,” he explained as a worker quickly reduced a computer tower to wiring, circuit boards, sheet metal, copper and aluminum components and plastics.
Berry noted that while her workers have some disabilities, they are well-suited to the focused, concentrated work of dismantling complicated electronics.
“It gives them a chance to be more independent and that’s very important,” said Berry.