Easier recycling coming soon at Pitkin County recycling centers

Michael McLaughlin
The Aspen Times

Where does it go?

If you’re curious what happens to your recycling once it leaves Pitkin County, here’s a video highlighting some of the basics of recycling, and how single-stream recycling works in Denver:

For Pitkin County residents tired of having to separate recycling materials, an easier system could be in place by late February at all four county recycling centers.

A single-stream recycling program is close to being implemented that would allow Pitkin County residents to put all of their current recyclable materials in one container.

The single-stream recycling being proposed would only affect the residents who separate their recycling at home from their trash and bring it themselves to one of the four county recycling centers — the Aspen Rio Grande recycling area, the Pitkin County Solid Waste Center, the Basalt recycling center and the every two-week recycling center in Redstone.

“The folks that participate in this program will no longer have to separate their newspaper and cardboard from their recyclable plastics and metals,” said Jack Johnson, the public outreach and education coordinator at the Pitkin County Solid Waste Center. “They’ll also be able to add chipboard to their recycling. There will not be a charge for this recycling service.”

Chipboard is a type of paperboard used for most cereal boxes and 12-packs of beer.

Johnson said that in other communities, when single-stream recycling was introduced, recycling participation increased dramatically.

He also wanted to make it clear that the new system would only be available at the county recycling centers.

“I would encourage people that want to see single-steam recycling added to their curbside service to contact their haulers and request the service,” he said.

Besides streamlining the entire recycling process, the new program would incorporate Waste Management by having it pick up the county recycling and transport it to Denver.

By not requiring the county to employ their own people to recycle the materials, the single-stream process would save Pitkin County an estimated $180,000 per year, almost half of the annual $400,000 that the county pays to subsidize the recycling program.

Cathy Hall, the solid-waste manager at the landfill, said once the contract is finalized and signed by Waste Management, there should be a 30-day window before the program is implemented.

“Waste Management will need time to get the new recycling containers in place,” she said. “I’m really happy to see this program move forward. We’re expecting it to go smoothly, and if it does, we could have the single-stream recycling up and running at the recycling centers by the end of February.”


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