Managing the valley’s trash will be focus at conference | AspenTimes.com

Managing the valley’s trash will be focus at conference

Jeremy Heiman

A regional waste management organization will meet Thursday to discuss options for confronting the increasing amount of solid waste produced by a growing valley population.

Valley Resource Management is a partnership of local governments set up to coordinate regional solid-waste and hazardous-waste management, and recycling. Topics of discussion will include waste disposal, recycling and composting, as well as the possible impacts of a trash train on local landfills and recycling efforts.

The meeting, which is VRM’s fall conference, will be Thursday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Carbondale Town Hall.

“This valley is at a pivotal point for solid waste management,” said Trsi Houpt, executive director of VRM. The local governments and residents of the valley need to create partnerships, both among governments and between governments and the private sector, to arrive at trash and recycling solutions, she said.

“We need to see how to meet the needs of a growing region,” Houpt said. “But it’s only when there’s a crisis that people sit down and try to figure out how to make things work,” she continued.

A plan by a Utah subsidiary of a national corporation to haul trash out of the Roaring Fork Valley by train recently surfaced in Roaring Fork Railroad Holding Authority negotiations with a freight hauling company. VRM is concerned about the possible implications of such a scheme, though the RFRHA board has indefinitely delayed any action on the request. Houpt said that issue will be an important part of the discussion, because it could force local landfills to close, and it could cripple local recycling efforts. Local landfills haven’t accumulated adequate funding to pay for closing and covering their landfill areas.

“So there will be a lot of questions that need to be answered,” Houpt said.

The conference will include presentations and round-table discussions. Presentation subjects will include options for waste disposal and waste collection. Some of those options might be private services, franchising and the creation of special districts.

“We need to start working on some long-range strategies for collaborative efforts,” Houpt said.

VRM board members are officials of valley governments, with the exception of two at-large members. Garfield County is not a member of the organization. The public is invited to attend the fall conference.


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