Carbondale steps up recycling |

Carbondale steps up recycling

Jeremy Heiman
Carbondale correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Trina Ortega/Valley-JournalTony Coia, Carbondale's public landscape manager, checks out the recycling bins at the the Public Works recycling site behind Grand Junction Pipe and Dos Gringos. Residents can now recycle cardboard, newspaper, magazines, office paper and phone books at the site from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

CARBONDALE ” Continuing to take baby steps toward a full-on recycling program, the town of Carbondale has created an opportunity for residents to recycle cardboard and all kinds of paper.

Larry Ballenger, Carbondale’s director of public works, said the town will take any paper product that isn’t coated with plastic. Anyone who wants to recycle paper products may drop them in a specially marked Dumpster in the town’s public works yard. To get there, take the unnamed street on the south side of La Fontana Plaza (next to Dos Gringos Burritos) to the end of the street. The yard is behind Grand Junction Pipe. Paper goes in the first Dumpster on the right.

The drop-off site is only open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. ” the hours that public works personnel are on hand, to prevent people from dumping materials other than paper products.

The container is for corrugated cardboard, thin cardboard, newspapers, magazines, office paper and phone books.

Strictly speaking, the paper products will be downcycled, not recycled. That is, they will be made into compost, rather than being remanufactured into paper products. But it’s better than dumping the paper and cardboard in a landfill.

The paper and cardboard is taken to Caca Loco Compost, a business that composts paper and wood products to make soil and soil additives, located near the city of Glenwood Springs landfill in South Canyon.

The town of Carbondale is shouldering the cost of hauling the paper products to South Canyon.

Ballenger apologized for the location of the drop-off site.

“It’s an industrial area,” he said, “But I don’t have anywhere else.”

Carbondale’s street maintenance equipment is stored there, along with lengths of pipe and various vehicles and odds and ends. There may be a better place in the future, though, Ballenger said.

“We may experiment with putting a recycling Dumpster in a public place that’s open at all times,” Ballenger said. “But if it starts getting contaminated, it goes to the dump. We can’t use it.”

Currently, the town is collecting autumn leaves in a Dumpster in the vacant lot across the street to the east of Town Hall. After leaf composting season is over, Ballenger said, he may try collecting cardboard there, with the site open around the clock.

Ballenger’s hopes aren’t too high, because another Carbondale recycling project isn’t going very well. The recycling stations furnished by Patagonia, placed around town during the summer, haven’t been a complete success.

“People are trashing them,” Ballenger said. The individual containers are clearly marked, but users are contaminating the recyclable materials with trash on a regular basis.

A public works employee has to spend up to three hours each day sorting the materials that people have carelessly placed in the wrong barrels, Ballenger said.

“Now that we’ve got recycling stations around town, people are not using them properly,” he said.

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