Janet Day: ‘Drive it to the landfill’ is not a recycling program
May 12, 2008
Recycling Revisited. As the snow finally, slowly melts, exposing all the trash hidden underneath for months, my frustrations about recycling return Grand County and its towns seem to be the only resort communities in Colorado without a comprehensive recycling program. “Drive it to the landfill” is not a program; it’s an embarrassment. Recycling isn’t a special interest or passing fad, it’s an integral part of what should be top-priority efforts to reduce the solid waste stream and keep as much as we can out of the landfill.
Summit County, home to our main resort competitors of Copper Mountain, Keystone and Breckenridge, has county-wide drop-off centers, accepting about 20 types of recyclable materials. Eagle County (Vail, Beaver Creek) provides six recycling collection sites for that county’s businesses, residents and visitors.
In Routt County (Steamboat Springs), Yampa Valley Recycles offers curbside pickup in the towns and drop-off centers for rural residents. Pitkin County (Aspen) has a centrally located drop-off center as well as recycling pickup at schools and county offices. The town of Telluride offers curbside recycling pickup for homes and businesses, as does Crested Butte.
Those communities have the same issues we do – small towns, large rural areas, long driving distances, rapid development, a tourist-dependent economy, many new residents, many more second-home owners, seasonal workers and a fractured sense of community. But all those other counties have found ways to make recycling work.
According to Colorado Ski Country, all 26 of the state’s resorts have on-site recycling programs. Winter Park Resort beefed up its recycling program this year and opened it to employee household recycling. But that doesn’t address the recyclable waste from homes and rental properties, not to mention construction waste.
Tourists notice. Their vacations end with piles of empty beer, wine, juice or soda bottles and cans, old newspapers and plastic milk jugs. If they’re in the Fraser Valley, there’s nothing to do but toss it in the trash.
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Green issues are becoming a big factor in people’s decision-making, including decisions about where to vacation. Our reputation as an area with anti-green or apathetic governments and residents ” warranted or not ” is growing. Short-sighted decisions could end up having long-term impacts on our viability as a tourist-dependent resort community.
Dog Days. Have you noticed the beautiful animals in the newspaper’s pets-for-adoption page recently? A purebred Golden Retriever showed up. Another purebred Golden was at the Granby shelter several weeks ago. These are animals that obviously were once family pets. More and more, those kinds of animals are turning up at shelters or just being dumped.
Shelter operators around the state, local and national humane societies and rescue groups point to the foreclosure crisis as a factor, forcing more and more families to get rid of dogs and cats when they have to move, often to rental properties that don’t allow pets. Shelters call the phenomena “real estate-related surrenders.”
The issue is compounded this time of year when seasonal residents dump the pets they had for a few months. Some seasonal workers seems to want a big dog as part of a mountain lifestyle in November, but when April rolls around, they don’t want to or can’t take the animal to their next home. The worker leaves; the animal is left behind.
If you have to part with a pet, don’t just abandon it. Call an animal shelter or rescue group. I know everyone can’t help out by adopting pets, but there are other ways to help. Cash is always good. Other donations are needed as well ” simple things like cleaning supplies, pet food, collars, blankets and toys. Go to the Grand County Pet Pals Web site http://www.gcpetpals.org, to look at its wish list.
Keep in Touch: What’s got your attention around the area? Let me know. I’ll try to find the answer or spread the news. Send it all to JDayQuilts@msn.com.