GOSHEN COUNTY – It’s that time of year, with the autumn days shortening and bringing cooler temperatures, to dig into those stores of old chemicals, batteries, small appliances and more.
The Goshen County Weed and Pest Department and North Platte Valley, Lingle-Ft. Laramie and South Goshen Conservation Districts in Torrington can help dispose of those and more during their annual Hazardous Waste College Day, set this year for 9 a.m. to noon, Oct. 13. Goshen County residents are invited to bring their items to the Weed and Pest Dept. parking lot, 4322 U.S. Hwy. 26/85 in Torrington to help ensure water quality throughout the region.
“The best thing about this, because we have so many private landowners and our wells, gathering our water for drinking from surface and groundwater sites, this helps eliminate any potential contamination,” said Denise Lucero, administrator for the Conservation Districts. “You can’t remake water, you can’t create it. If we’ve poisoned it, we have to spend a fortune trying to uncontaminated it.”
Items which will be accepted on the recycling day include pesticides, fertilizers and household chemicals, lead- or oil-based paint and used motor oil. There will also be an e-recycling component to the day again this year, with collection of old computers, televisions, cell phones, select small and large appliances, air conditioners and all types of batteries, Lucero said.
Most of the items will be accepted free, with charges ranging from $15 to $75 for old-style “tube” televisions, depending on size, at a $10 charge for refrigerators. Items will be accepted on a first come, first served basis, due to reductions in funding for the annual event this year, Lucero said.
The recycle day costs between $10,000 and $12,000 annually, to pay companies from Colorado and Wheatland to haul away and safely process and dispose of collected materials, she said. This year, financing is falling short.
“This year, we lost a really big chunk of our financing,” Lucero said. “We’ve been calling people around town to get donations.
“We’ve only collected about $7,150 so far this year,” she said. “When we hit that monetary cap, we have to start turning people away.”
Lucero has already approached businesses that sell paint, yard chemicals and oil, for example, for donations. She’s hoping some additional donations might come in before the recycling day kicks off to help pay for more people to bring in their items.
Unused or out-of-date medicine will also be accepted. The recycling day is for “things we don’t want dissolving into our water system,” Lucero said. “Anybody that’s helping to create this material, we ask them for small donations.”
The cost comes from bringing in a large recycling company – Violia EF Technical Solutions from Henderson, Colo. – to haul away and dispose of the chemicals, paints and other potential contaminants safely. A second vendor – Metal Solutions from Wheatland – will also be on hand to take away the used electronics and appliances.
Lucero stressed this particular recycling day is for private individuals only. Used antifreeze and any commercial or business waste will not be accepted on Oct. 13, she said. Also, the hazardous waste disposal day is not for normal recyclables, such as paper, cardboard, glass or plastics, which can be placed in the regular recycling bins located around the community, she said.
“This is not a business collection day,” she said. “We hope to eventually get together a business recycling day, but there’s no money currently in state coffers for that, and they don’t want it in there.
“This is for the stuff that has the potential of contaminating surface and ground water, the stuff we’re trying to eliminate,” Lucero said. “We want to be sure the stuff that eases our daily lives stays out of the water by disposing of it properly.”