LAS CRUCES – In November, the South Central Solid Waste Authorityannounced major changes to the electronics recycling program that has served Las Cruces and Doña Ana County for the past seven years.
The changes were in response to collapsed e-waste and cathode ray tube (CRT) glass recycling markets and the closure of regional electronics processing facilities in Tucson and Albuquerque. Those closures left the SCSWA with 48 pallets of local unwanted electronics and nowhere to send them for deconstruction and harvesting of reusable metals.
The SCSWA still offers free recycling for a short list of certain electronic items that may be dropped off at the Recycling Center at the SCSWA 2855 W. Amador Ave.
“The big problem with electronics recycling is managing the leaded glass in most older computer monitors and televisions,” said Tarkeysha Burton, SCSWA recycling coordinator. “CRT leaded glass has a negative value. Recyclers have to pay to have it safely removed, transported and recycled. The circuit boards, cone and copper cables on TVs and monitors have a positive scrap value, but not enough to cover the cost incurred to handle the leaded glass.”
SCSWA is able to accept small numbers of CRT devices, which for now are being landfilled under household hazardous waste guidelines. Residents can bring in up to three televisions or computer monitors per day for landfilling for a fee of $5. More than three will not be accepted. The customer will pay the fee adn sign an e-waste log sheet at the scale house coming into the transfer station.
“We don’t want to discourage residents from managing electronics properly, and we certainly don’t want electronics dumped in the desert,” Burton said. “For now, the SCSWA is offering landfilling for CRT devices and encouraging residents to use local buyback programs and electronics recycling programs at Best Buy, Staples and Walmart. Fees can range $9 to $25 per unit for proper management.”
Meanwhile, the SCSWA is exploring options to manage the community’s electronics, including applying for a grant to fund a hard drive shredder, possibly working with a certified e-recycler in Juárez, and perhaps partnering with a nearby military installation in managing electronic waste.
Green Connections is submitted by the South Central Solid Waste Authority, managing recyclables, solid waste, and fighting illegal dumping for residents and businesses in the city of Las Cruces and Doña Ana County. You can reach the SCSWA at 575-528-3800 or visit www.SCSWA.net.