David Steiner, Chief Executive Officer
1001 Fannin Street, Suite 4000
Houston, Texas 77002
Bill Bestreich, VP/General Manager
Mary Kay Runyon, Western Slope director of operations
Waste Management Colorado
5500 South Quebec Street, Suite 230
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Patrick DeReuda, president, WM Recycle America
Charles Schmidt, Market Area West VP, WM Recycle
2400 W. Union Avenue
Englewood, CO 80110
Dear Sirs and Madam:
Greetings from Crested Butte, Colorado. I hope this letter finds you well and enjoying your holiday season.
I am writing today to ask for your immediate assistance. As you may or may not know, much of Gunnison County has been besieged with problems with our local recycling program for the past year. Waste Management serves most of the East River Valley, including Crested Butte, Mt. Crested Butte and Crested Butte South.
Last year, Waste Management announced it would no longer provide clear and green glass and cardboard recycling pick-up for residential customers. Despite the reduced service, Waste Management did not cut its fees.
At the same time, the area’s second recycling provider, Gunnison County, announced it would suspend clear and green glass recycling as well. (The county maintains a recycling drop-off center located 30 miles from Crested Butte.) Gunnison County has since reinstated its green and clear recycling program but Waste Management has not.
Our local Waste Management team has explained that there is a limited market for recycled green and clear glass material in Colorado. In addition, the office says they have limited resources to provide recycling, with too few trucks and a shortage of manpower. Unfortunately, the result of Waste Management’s action is likely a reduction in overall recycling in Gunnison County and more trash being taken to the landfill.
Our local governments have been doing their best to address the situation but the problem has proven to be too much. Last month, the Town of Crested Butte closed its temporary recycling drop-off center because of burgeoning costs. This puts citizens in a tough spot. While residents do have an alternative of toting their own recycling to Gunnison County’s recycling center, it’s inconvenient and confusing.
The best solution would be for Waste Management to reinstate accepting residential green and clear glass and cardboard for curbside pickup. It would also be of great benefit for Waste Management to consider restarting “one-stream” recycling that allowed residents to co-mingle their recyclables.
While there are clearly obstacles to having a viable program, I believe they are surmountable. As I read on your website, Waste Management is North America’s largest recycler, having processed 5.5 million tons of residential recyclables in your facilities in 2006. According to your website, that saved more than 41 million trees and enough energy to power about 848,000 households.
Please help Gunnison County to be a part of those astounding figures. I hope you will do whatever is in your power to revive the local recycling program in full in the near future.
Crested Butte News