The Drop, Fraser’s new pay-as-you-throw facility, to open July 7
Fraser took another step towards sustainability Wednesday with the debut of its pay-as-you-throw garbage and recycling facility, named The Drop, which officially opens to the public July 7.
The new $250,000 facility, made possible in part because of a $200,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, has been in the works for years, according to Fraser Town Manager Jeff Durbin. Town officials were determined to establish such a facility especially after an initial waste diversion study in 2013 identified the need for such a location.
But Fraser Mayor Philip Vandernail says the road leading to Wednesday’s ribbon cutting at the facility wasn’t easy.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Vandernail told Sky-Hi News. “But we were told it couldn’t be done.”
Vandernail said some balked at the notion of creating a pay-as-you-throw site in Fraser, claiming it wouldn’t be economically feasible.
Vandernail and his town board believed otherwise, as did various other local and state entities that supported the project.
Along with addressing a major town need, the project is also meant to help Fraser become more environmentally sustainable.
“Studies have shown that based on current pay-as-you-throw programs across the United States that this could result in a 10 to 20 percent reduction in waste going into a landfill,” said Michael Brack, assistant town manager. “Then you take that along with the 25 percent of people who aren’t recycling right now and that’s a lot of waste that’s not going to a landfill.”
Waste Management will be in charge of managing drivers and hauling from the facility through a partnership with the town of Fraser, according to Danny Ashinhurst, site manager for Waste Management in Hot Sulphur Springs. With 30 yards of available dumpster space currently at the facility, Ashinhurst said the belief is that they’ll eventually need to expand to include more dumpsters, depending on its use.
The facility puts Waste Management in a unique position as, according to Durbin, it’s cheaper on average to use the pay-as-you-throw facility than to use Waste Management’s personal dumpster service, which many people already do in the Fraser Valley. So, in essence, they’re competing with themselves.
Other pay-as-you-throw facilities exist around the county, but have their drawbacks. At Grand Lake’s location, which charges $5 per bag, there is no recycling available. And Granby’s pay-as-you-throw facility, located to the west of Ace Hardware, has limited hours of operation. Fraser prides itself on developing a functional, large-scale facility to serve customers from around Grand County, for both refuse and recycling, open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
To use the facility is simple. A person will purchase 40-gallon bags — sold exclusively at Safeway in Fraser for the time being — at $8.50 each, load them up with refuse and transport them to the facility, located on County Road 72 just south of the railroad bridge behind the Fraser Valley Shopping Center. For large items such as furniture, Durbin said the goal is to have a dedicated space inside the facility where people can drop those, perhaps during something like a community clean-up period.
The Drop is lighted during its hours of operation and uses security cameras equipped with night vision to ensure nobody is using the facility outside of normal operation or leaving items outside the facility’s entrance, which is illegal. Tall fences around the facility help ensure no wildlife gains access.
While the recycling component at The Drop is free, the town is banking on customers to use the pay-as-you-throw dumpsters that will contribute to revenues for the facility. Durbin said it will cost around $100,000 per year to maintain the facility and have on-site personnel.
The facility is such an important asset to the town and in helping meet its sustainability goals that officials are attempting to reroute the portion of County Road 72 that passes in front of the facility because of its steep grade. The hope, if the $320,000 in construction costs can be obtained, is to route the road around to the east side of the facility. If the funds are available, Durbin said he expects the road work to be completed in the fall.
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