New business fills Grand County’s recycling void
December 1, 2008
Some Fraser Valley residents not only value recycling, they’re willing to pay for it.
Jesse McWilliams’ Curbside Recycling is living proof.
The painting contractor by-trade equipped with a pick-up truck, topper and donated recycling bins, has collected 31 accounts ” and climbing ” since October.
The idea came to McWilliams when recycling ceased in the Fraser Valley, but he didn’t fully pursue it until glass was no longer accepted as a recyclable material in Grand County.
McWilliams promises his consumers recycling sort-free, including glass, with at least a once-a-month pick-up right at their homes or businesses.
McWilliams sorts the material himself upon pick-up and leaves what’s not accepted. Sooner or later, he said, customers get the idea on what can be recycled and what can’t.
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Starting out small, the recycler thought he’d see how the system succeeded before opening the business to restaurants and bars that produce large volumes of bottles.
McWilliams said his goal is to accept those accounts once he can afford a larger truck.
His residential service supplies an 18- or 30-gallon bin and empties it once or twice monthly, with rates starting at $25 per month.
There are those willing to pay that price, McWilliams said, while others see it as fringe.
He said he views it as a service like any other ” such as house painting or cleaning ” in which homeowners decide whether they’re willing to pay for someone else to do it or pay to do it themselves.
“It’s just like any service or product, there’s not one that’s a perfect answer for everyone,” he said.
With local recycling less convenient to Valley residents since its consolidation in Granby, McWilliams says he feels he provides a worthy service.
“It’s something that needs to happen up here,” he said, citing customers’ frustration with the area’s sporadic free recycling system.
“I’m doing something good for the county, and it puts a little money in my pocket,” he said.
His business plan factored in gasoline and maintenance on his vehicle, time spent recycling and the cost of bins. He takes some materials, such as certain plastics, corrugated cardboard, office paper, aluminum and steal to the recycling sorting facility “Valley Recycling” in Parshall.
Other materials, such as glass, paperboard (which includes cereal boxes and six-pack crates) and certain plastics, he takes to the Boulder County Recycling Center in Boulder.
McWilliams, the sole employee of this side business whose truck hauls just one ton, found out Monday that the center no longer pays the $20 per-ton for material because of rising costs at recycling processing plants.
However he expects that as long as they continue to accept materials, it will not affect customer pricing.
Upon trips to Denver, McWilliams said he makes a point to fill up his truck with bio-diesal to help offset carbon output.
By taking 30 residents’ recycling to Denver, the recycler reasons, “it uses less gas than all 30 people driving their stuff down there.”
In the Curbside Recycling brochure, McWilliams promises to donate 4 percent of profits to the Middle Park Land Trust, Advocates, Headwaters Trails Alliance and the Grand County Library Friends ” nonprofits with social and environmental relevance in the community, he said.
The nine-year Grand County resident ” who hailed from Oxford, Ohio ” also runs his business virtually paper-free, with electronic billing and scheduling.
Although citizens in Grand Lake and Kremmling have contacted McWilliams for the service, McWilliams said he plans to expand to those areas only when enough consumers show interest.
For now, the recycler seems satisfied with what he says was a calling he simply couldn’t ignore.
” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.