Grand County: Progress comes slowly as residents work to create recycling progam | SkyHiNews.com

Grand County: Progress comes slowly as residents work to create recycling progam

Stephanie Miller
Sky-Hi Daily News

Recycling in Grand County lately brings to mind wet, muddy feet, a muddy car, and a long trek out to the Grand County Landfill (if you live on the east end of the County).

Some residents are becoming frustrated with the current temporary recycling site and wonder if there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Progress is being made, assures Liz McIntyre, who is volunteering her efforts to help develop a long-term recycling program in Grand County. One request for proposal (RFP) has been submitted to the county by The Trash Company, and a meeting to discuss the next step will take place next Monday. Town managers and county staff will meet to discuss options for the towns and county.

McIntyre believes an RFP is the first step in establishing a funded recycling program. Things may not be moving fast enough for most residents, but she counsels patience. The RFP will help establish a ballpark figure for how much a program is going to cost, she explained.

“Then (we can) figure out how to fund it,” she said.

There is also grant money available once a plan and a funding mechanism for an ongoing program is in place.

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Commercial recycling needs to be addressed as well, she added, because without a plan, the future drop-off sites will be overwhelmed. She hopes to discuss some of her thoughts and ideas at the March 3 meeting.

Landfill site making temporary improvements

In the meantime, the site at the landfill is seeing some temporary fixes in response to concerns from locals.

For instance, new containers ” 96-gallon toters ” for paper and plastics will be placed at the site for when the large Dumpsters are off-site. McIntyre explained that the recycling containers are driven to Parshall to be emptied, and are then returned to the landfill site. If the container is emptied late in the day, Valley Recycles’ drivers may not be back before the landfill gate is closed.

“While it would be nice to have large containers to swap, they cost $5,000 to $7,000 a piece,” she wrote in an e-mail. “Summit, Larimer and Pitkin Counties have purchased their own containers ” we have not.”

The current recycling site is temporary, McIntyre stressed, and she hopes the future sites will have better signage, paved roads, and a more consistent schedule for the recycling Dumpsters to be hauled. Those things are difficult to maintain at the landfill site, McIntyre explained, because the site is temporary.

“I think right now things are in a bit of a flux,” she added.

But despite some of the inconveniences, the fact that there’s still recycling in the county is positive, McIntyre said. She gave kudos to the county commissioners and the towns for supporting what little recycling residents have left, and for making some improvements at the site.

“To me, it was dicey that it would even happen, so I’m pleased we still have recycling. I know it doesn’t meet everybody’s wishes, but if it went away, it might go away permanently,” she said.

Still, residents should let their voices be heard. If locals want recycling services, they need to continue to ask for them, she said. She admitted the economics of recycling in Grand County are “extremely difficult,” due to high costs in transportation and processing. But McIntyre just returned from a Colorado Association For Recycling meeting, and learned that other West Slope counties such as Saguache County ” which has a population of 4,000 residents ” are making waste reduction and recycling programs work.

“There are cities and counties that have met their goal of diverting 50 percent of residential waste stream, and have now set their sights on capturing organics to reach 60 percent diversion,” she wrote in an e-mail.

” To reach Stephanie Miller, call (970) 887-3334, ext. 19601 or e-mail smiller@grandcountynews.com.

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