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Grand County residents asked to be patient while leaders search for recycling solution

Stephanie Miller
Sky-Hi Daily News

As months go by without recycling service, the frustration among Fraser Valley residents is growing like a pile of empty plastic bottles.

Still, there doesn’t seem to be an easy solution for Grand County yet. A short-term solution, however, is in sight, as towns and the county hope to complete a request for proposals (RFP) by December or January. The RFP is a document that focuses on what the towns had in the past ” drop-off sites for recycling in each town. When it is complete, it will be sent out to potential solid waste haulers, who may then make a bid to provide recycling services.

“At that point, we can figure out how to pay for it and how to make it happen,” said Fraser Town Manager Jeff Durbin.

Liz McIntyre, a county resident with solid waste hauling experience, has been meeting with a group of concerned citizens to help find a solution. She has been working closely with the county and the towns to get the RFP drafted, and is often asked about recycling by her fellow constituents.

“I wish it was solved by now, but it’s sort of a slow process. At least we’re taking the time to get it done and get it right,” McIntyre said. “I know people are talking about it and they shouldn’t give up.”

Her advice?

“Hang tight. Use the site at the Granby landfill. Find a neighbor that goes to Granby and can take (recycleables),” she said.

Durbin said he’s optimistic that the county and towns will get a system set up.

“I know it’s frustrating, and it seems like it’s taking a long time because there was a system and now (there isn’t). But I’m optimistic that it’ll be fixed, and this bump in the road will hopefully prompt all of us in Grand County to deal with our waste in a more comprehensive way.”

Part of the challenge is understanding that what works for one town doesn’t work for another. In Kremmling, for example, The Trash Company provides mandatory curb-side trash pick up for residents, and part of the company’s contract with the town includes providing recycling bins and haul-off service at the landfill. The landfill is open twice a week. Residents pay $16 a month for the service.

That type of service may not work in Winter Park, however, where 80 percent of the population is second homeowners. Fraser has roughly 47 percent second homeowners, and that number is rising.

Waste Management currently provides curb-side trash pick-up for family homes in Fraser and Winter Park, but the service isn’t mandatory. Customers are charged $29.50 per month, plus a $10 to $15 charge for fuel and environmental costs (if customers provide their own garbage cans, the cost is less). There is also on call service for $27.50 per pick up.

Winter Park Town Manager David Torgler said there was some general discussion about setting up a curb-side recycling program in Fraser and Winter Park, but it hasn’t been explored because of the obstacles the towns would encounter with second homes. If homeowners aren’t in town when the trash haulers come through, bins could be left unattended, raising concerns about unwanted wildlife and scattered trash.

“The population in Kremmling is different,” Torgler said. “With 80 percent of homes owned by people not here on a regular basis, it raises challenges for us to overcome and establish a good curb-side pick-up.”

Right now, Torgler said, the towns don’t have an answer for a long-term, efficient curb-side recycling program, but are working to re-establish the system it had before.

Durbin encouraged citizens to stay involved, but understand that it will take time.

“Maintaining interest is important. One of our risks here is that we lose momentum in terms of interest and recycling,” he said. “I think people educating themselves on what the challenges are is very hopeful because it’s s a very complex critter.”

Grand County Commissioner James Newberry said he believes the right people are currently working on the recycling situation in Grand County, and the county is trying to get the RFP out as soon as possible.

The county is also working to relieve the problem with the overflowing bins at the landfill near Granby ” residents from other towns are complaining that the bins are full when they arrive.

“We have communication issues we need to work on. The recycling bins are not being emptied and we need a better way to let people know they’re full,” Newberry said.

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


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