Colorado Faces Tide of Old and Costly CRTs

With an e-scrap landfill ban in place, Colorado is having trouble redirecting old computers and televisions downstream.

Part of the challenge lies in the state's unique law. Instead of passing extended producer responsibility legislation, Colorado moved to simply ban the practice of bringing old and unwanted electronics to the dump. That has left consumers, not device makers or local communities, responsible for finding recycling outlets.

And when it comes to old cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions and computers, consumers are also being asked to shell out as much as a dollar per diagonal inch just to convince recycling firms to take on the material.

"We joke around here that they're the hot potato," Rob Ashcraft of Precision Metals Recovery told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent last week. "At the end of its life, they have to be recycled."

Colorado does not have any CRT final processing operations to rely on in-state, meaning recycling firms send material out of state for final processing. Many thrift stores have started to turn back consumers hoping to drop off CRT computers and televisions and some recycling firms have decided to cut their losses and do the same, according to the Post Independent article.

If televisions and computers are found to be illegally dumped, residents face a maximum potential fine of $1,000 and up to a year in jail.

While no immediate solution appears to be on the horizon, a provision in the disposal ban permits communities "in limited situations" to opt out of the ban, the state website reads.

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