Carbondale’s trash talks progress to next level | AspenTimes.com

Carbondale’s trash talks progress to next level

Matthew Bennett
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Dionicio Clemente conducts trash collection for Waste Management in Carbondale's Thompson Corner neighborhood on Wednesday morning. The town is seeking proposals from area operators in a move toward a single-hauler system that could be implemented by next summer.

Carbondale's town council talked a significant amount of trash at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday evening, building on a conversation that's been going on for well over a year now.

The question at hand: the best approach for waste hauling in a town known for being particularly conscientious of its carbon footprint?

The discussion originally began roughly a year ago when the local community wanted to keep from endangering wildlife as it pertained to trash collection. However, the conversation has since evolved to one which involves a complete overhaul of Carbondale's current free market, waste-hauling system.

"We wanted to reduce the cost of waste disposal, increase waste diversion and reduce wildlife impact from waste," Carbondale Mayor Dan Richardson told the Post Independent on Wednesday.

"We took a year to deliberate and (Tuesday night) we gave staff direction to draft an RFP (request for proposal) for a public contract for waste hauling, which allows the town to essentially bring waste hauling under one contract that the town would manage," he said.

Under the plan, the town would then bill residents in accordance with the single-hauler system.

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Richardson described how thousands of municipalities throughout the country, including several in Garfield County, use volumetric pricing with the single-hauler system. "It's a 'the more you throw away, the more you pay' policy," he said.

"For residential, there would only be one hauler in town," Richardson explained.

The RFP staff has been tasked with drafting will request potential contractors to address how their services will execute the council's three main goals of wildlife protection, waste diversion and cutting costs.

"Under that contract, we would have other stipulations that would help us address those three goals. That was a pretty big step," the mayor said.

While the single-hauler system would include recycling, compost was left out, as organics were not a part of Tuesday night's conversation.

Currently, roughly five different haulers service Carbondale as part of its free-market system that allows individuals and homeowners groups to contract with whoever they want to pick up their refuse. That has caused inadvertent consequences, namely too many collection trucks driving up and down the town's streets on, practically, a daily basis.

"Typically, I would favor the free market," Carbondale Trustee Luis Yllanes said. "I think in this instance it's something that we have to, as a town, figure out how we can address the impacts that we've heard about, from carbon footprint to increasing waste diversion and reducing wildlife interaction."

"The economies of scale of one hauler doing an entire town, we feel pretty confident that costs are going to go down," Richardson said.

Regarding a time frame, the mayor and board of trustees hope to see staff's RFP in two months. Council will review all potential contractors that submit a proposal, sign off on one, and see implementation at the beginning of summer 2019.

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