Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why can't I recycle or dispose of electronics curbside or at the Estes Park Transfer Station?
A: The Colorado Legislature passed State Bill 12-133 which banned electronic devices from landfills effective July 1, 2012. The purpose of the bill is to protect the environment (many electronics contain hazardous materials that should require special handling) and to encourage the recycling of electronics. Expect to pay a fee now for disposing of electronic waste or explore other options such as retailers who will accept certain products (e.g., Best Buy takes old TVs). See the Recycling Guide for recycling centers and businesses that accept electronic waste. Examples of items now banned from the landfill include TVs,most computers and Kindle-style readers, fax machines, VCR and DVD players, and any video display device with a cathode ray tube or flat panel screen greater than 4 inches. (CAFR)
Q: Do recyclables really get recycled?
A: Recyclables have value and once separated from trash and collected as recyclables, are very rarely thrown into landfills. Recyclables are sold to markets for a profit (revenues can vary depending on local and international economies). For example, in early 2011 the regional value for sorted and baled cardboard sold as a commodity had a value of $160-$170/ton, mixed plastic was $160-$180/ton, and aluminum was over $1,500/ton. It does not make business sense to separately collect recyclables and then pay to put something in a landfill that has value in the markets. It is worth noting that economics for recycling are more challenging in Colorado compared to coastal states, with Front Range landfill rates around $11-15/ton and our distance to some markets. (CAFR)
Q: Why doesn't Estes Park have a comprehensive recycling program like the Front Range cities or like I had when I lived in __________ (fill-in-the-blank)?
A: The short answer is because we don't pay taxes or fees for a comprehensive recycling program. Most communities collect taxes or fees to underwrite the costs of recycling. For example, Loveland charges residents monthly. Other communities raise funds for recycling by adding fees to the cost of disposal at landfills. The Larimer County Solid Waste Department is funded by landfill fees alone, and does not receive any tax dollars. Collecting and hauling recyclable materials by civic or commercial entities is expensive, requiring equipment, manpower, fuel, insurance and other business operating expenses. The value of recyclable materials fluctuates with the world economy and markets, and in 2015, these values have decreased.