E-waste recycling; Landfill cell gets 4 more years

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Everything from car batteries to old tires can be taken to the Lincoln County landfills for recycling or separate disposal so they don't end up in the landfill. (Ben Kibbey/The Western News)

The Lincoln County Landfill is once again accepting e-waste for recycling, and will be through mid-August.

Lincoln County Health Department Director Kathi Hooper told the Lincoln County Commissioners at their May 8 meeting that Yellowstone E-Waste Solutions will pick up the items in August, but that items are already being accepted at the Libby and Eureka collection sites.

See the end of this article for a list of prohibited items for e-waste recycling. A list of items will also be posted at the Libby and Eureka landfills.

In discussing recycling, Hooper made clear the benefit recycling and other waste reduction has had for the landfill.

Hooper said that a survey of the landfill outside Libby in October 2018 showed an increase in the life expectancy for the current cell.

The last survey was conducted in October 2017.

Hooper said that they had previously estimated about 55,000 cubic yards were being filled every year. At that rate, it was estimated that it would take about seven years to fill the remaining space in the existing cell.

Hooper told the City-County Board of Health at a meeting that evening that they are currently at about 32,000 cubic yards per year, despite an increase in traffic to the landfill.

According to the Health Department’s Annual Report, 189 tons of material were recycled in Lincoln County last year. The recycling program was started in 2011 to help reduce the amount of material going into the landfill.

“So, we now have 11.3 years of life remaining in that cell,” Hooper said.

This is despite the halt to plastic recycling at the end of 2017.

The annual report also notes that the landfill stopped accepting mixed paper in 2018 due to contamination issues.

Countries such as China and India, which have taken in much of the world’s recycling, have over the past few years implemented increasingly stringent standards on what they will accept, and bales of material being “contaminated” with unrelated material has been frequently cited as one of the reasons.

However, according to the annual report, Lincoln County was able to continue recycling paper products by sorting the paper products.

The landfill is required to be covered daily in order to discourage scavengers or otherwise allow waste to escape from the cell.

Hooper said that changing from a dirt cover to a tarp that is placed and removed every day has helped as well.

The dirt cover was not removed before more waste was added.

Hooper told the board of health, “When we were covering with soil every day, about 30 percent of what we were burying was actually dirt.”

Commissioner Mark Peck noted that the county could build up capital improvement funds through the savings from extending the life of the current landfill cell.

Hooper told the board of health that the health department is working on long-term planning for the landfill with Mike Fraser of Fraser Management and Consulting as well.

Not accepted e-waste recycling

CRT monitors

Air conditioners

Alarm clocks/clock radios

Appliances

Batteries (Alkaline Non-Rechargeable)

Big screen TV’s (Projection)

Console TV’s

Fluorescent tubes/light bulbs

Household batteries (non-rechargeable)

Kitchen appliances

Light bulbs

Smoke Detectors

TV (CRT tube-type)

Vacuum Cleaners

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