Carbondale may hitch onto Pitkin County waste ordinance | AspenTimes.com

Carbondale may hitch onto Pitkin County waste ordinance

Ryan Summerlin
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Carbondale trustees are considering hitching up with a potential new Pitkin County waste-hauling ordinance that could bring the town closer to its trash goals.

The Pitkin County proposal is still only a draft that's being hammered out internally. But Pitkin County staff has been advertising it around to other nearby governments, hoping to attract others to join in for a waste-hauling policy that could be consistent across the region.

At a meeting at the Pitkin County Landfill, Carbondale Trustee Ben Bohmfalk joined staffers from Pitkin County, Aspen, Basalt and Snowmass Village. Bohmfalk said that he's also heard interest from at least one Glenwood Springs council member. Pitkin County is considering the draft ordinance, and the county is pushing for municipalities to implement it for their own needs. Hopefully that mass buy-in would create some consistency, as the ordinance would focus on managing haulers.

This ordinance proposal hits on three main concepts that could help the town toward a more sustainable waste stream, Bohmfalk said. First it would require volumetric pricing, so the more waste an individual produces, the more he or she would have to pay.

Bohmfalk said that Carbondale's rules for waste haulers already includes volumetric pricing except that the default container is so large that there is no incentive for an individual to go smaller.

Second, the price of recycling would be included in the base fee so people won't have to pay more for that service. And finally, there would be new reporting requirements for haulers, giving the town access to waste stream data that could be used to drive future waste diversion and reduction campaigns.

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This ordinance also would not implement a "single-hauler" system, though the town trustees have been discussing such a move for years. The River Valley Ranch neighborhood has already implemented a single-hauler system, which many residents have declared a big success. But the rest of Carbondale has four waste-hauling companies operating in town. And trustees have an eye toward reducing the number of waste trucks on Carbondale's roadways. The town government also has been working to get those companies to start collecting on the same day.

"At this stage (the ordinance) doesn't look like it's going to regulate organics or compost," said Bohmfalk, who has been attending meetings on the regional effort. But it still could be a good step in the right direction, and Carbondale could later focus on implementing its own priority policies, like regulating organic waste and compost.

The Carbondale board's decision is whether it wants to join in on that regional effort. Or, rather, if it wants to focus on getting a single-hauler system, or one that would focus on reducing the number of garbage trucks on the roads.

"Then we should probably start on our own process," Bohmfalk said. "I have heard a lot of feedback that it sounds like a reasonable step to take, and the really hard step to take would be the single-hauler."

Having a consistent policy across these communities would be beneficial because it would give the haulers the same rules to abide by.

Trustee Frosty Merriott also didn't want the board to forget about improving the town's bear-proofing requirements.

"We had so many goals: bear proofing, going to a single-hauler, waste reduction, composting. And if we want to go for pie in the sky and go for everything, then that may take a while and may be a lot more contentious," Trustee Marty Silverstein said. "If our goal is waste reduction and we have a blueprint to follow and there is consistency, and maybe even some economic advantage to people to pay attention to how much waste they create, I think that may be at least a good first step."

The tentative goal is for the Pitkin County policy to go into effect at the beginning of 2019, Bohmfalk said.

In 2015, the Carbondale Board of Trustees took up a waste ordinance that included similar elements, such as volumetric pricing. But the ordinance ended up getting bogged down and didn't pass, Town Manger Jay Harrington said. At the time, one of the big concerns was that these new trash-hauling requirements would end up being too costly to residents.

Carbondale trustees will take up the issues during a regular meeting in January, when they're expected to decide whether to join the regional effort of forge ahead with their own waste diversion reform.