Contamination results in laborious sorting
By Toni Todd
The old recycling center in Gunnison will soon close, and all recycling will be diverted to the county’s new recycling center, located in the Gold Basin Industrial Park.
The last day to drop recycling off at the old location, near the Gunnison Airport, is October 31. The new facility on Gold Basin Road will open for drop-off October 25.
Sorting out what the county calls “contamination” has become labor-intensive for facility workers and therefore costly for the county.
No waxed, non-corrugated cardboard is accepted at either the new or old recycling facilities. When toilet paper rolls and waxed boxes are dumped in with the cardboard, they must be sorted out and thrown away before the cardboard is bailed.
The same is true for blue bottles.
Most troublesome is plastic. There are seven different types of plastic, identified by number. The county accepts only #1 and #2 plastics. Yogurt containers are #5. Many take-out food containers, meat trays and red Solo cups are #6. Recycling Center staff must fish these all out of the mix by hand in order for the county to get the best price for the material.
The following “news flash” was posted this week on the county’s website:
“During the summer of 2016, the Gunnison County Recycling Center received a grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity fund to construct a new recycle processing center and buy a new baler. At that time, it was our intent to move the processing of all materials to the new Center, located in the Gold Basin Industrial Park on the lot next to the Public Works facility. We had hoped to keep a collection site at the current location on 10th Street, just west of the airport terminal.
“The past six months, the volume of material we are receiving has grown significantly. It is great to have a large volume of product, especially cardboard and glass. Unfortunately, the amount of contamination being left at the Center has also increased tremendously. Our products have to be hand sorted and the contamination removed to have material that can be sold at the best possible price. The time that we now spend sorting is time we had planned to spend transporting the product to the new Center for processing.
“We do not have the financial resources to hire additional staff. After giving it much consideration, we’ve decided to close the drop off location near the airport on October 31. We are currently accepting commercial and large loads of cardboard at the new Center. The new Center will be open to accept all products beginning October 25.
“We encourage you to use our new facility. It is clean, well lit, and organized much like the old Center to allow you to drop off 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We encourage you to continue to recycle corrugated cardboard, newspaper and magazines, office paper, brown/green/clear glass, aluminum beverage containers, #1 and #2 plastics and tin cans to our Center. Watch for our ads that provide information about what products are acceptable.
“If you have questions or would like more information, please call us at 641-0044.”