Recycling initiative tweaked | AspenTimes.com

Recycling initiative tweaked

Janet Urquhart

Aspen businesses that haul cardboard to the recycling center may continue to do so under a revised recycling ordinance that is back before the City Council today.The exemption acknowledges the potential cost to businesses that previously faced the prospect of paying for the pickup of cardboard and other recyclable materials as part of their garbage service. The pickup of most recyclables will still be folded into the base rate for trash service under the new ordinance, but businesses can opt out when it comes to cardboard under the revised ordinance.Businesses that produce a lot of cardboard were likely facing a substantial fee to have it picked up and taken away multiple times each week. Instead, they can haul it to the citys recycling center themselves and deposit it for free.This ordinance is not [meant] to put a burden on those who are recycling already, said Jannette Murison, senior environmental health specialist.The cardboard exemption is a step in the right direction, said Bill Dinsmoor, owner of the Main Street Bakery and Cafe, and chairman of the Commercial Core and Lodging Commission. He has been a vocal critic of aspects of the recycling initiative, though he stressed that he supports recycling.His restaurants employees haul cardboard and plastics the two biggies the cafe generates to the recycling center, he said.Dinsmoor used to pay to have the materials picked up, but it cost more than $2,000 a year, and prices have probably risen since then, Dinsmoor said.I said, Gosh, for that price, I can haul it myself.Sandys Office Supply, which recycles plenty of cardboard on its own, may have been looking at up to $3,000 a year to have it picked up six days a week. It, too, is lauding the exemption as a sensitive move, said Justin Barrow, general manager.To increase costs like that doesnt seem reasonable when were already taking care of that ourselves, he said. Personally, Im not sure it should be limited to cardboard, but that helps me out.As another new component of the ordinance, the Environmental Health Department will issue an annual report detailing how much Aspen recycles and assessing other impacts of the recycling initiative, such as increased traffic in the alleyways.Currently, Aspenites recycle an average of about 150 pounds of materials per person, per year, compared to the 1997 national average of 453 pounds per person, per year, according to Murisons latest memo to the council.The citys new initiative is aimed at boosting recycling. The ordinance, if the council approves it, goes into effect in late November, but wont actually affect businesses and residents until their existing contracts for garbage pickup expire.Janet Urquharts e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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