Easier recycling for town of Crested Butte

Mt. Crested Butte could get similar program if interested

The recycling program in Crested Butte will soon get a lot easier and more extensive. Thanks to the persistence of Crested Butte town manager Susan Parker and the cooperation of Waste Management, town residents can put a lot more out at the curb next month and expect it to be recycled.



For the last year not much was eligible to be picked up at the curb for recycling. Currently, Waste Management residential curbside recycling within Crested Butte collects aluminum and tin, brown glass, and newspaper, catalogs and magazines, according to Steve Fry, district operational manager for Waste Management.
But Waste Management has proposed a new “dual stream” curbside pick-up program. Such a program would require placing two containers curbside. One container would hold commingled aluminum, tin, brown glass and plastics #1 and #2. The second container would hold bundled newspapers, magazines and mixed office paper. Bound cardboard may also be put curbside, no wider than three feet and no higher than three inches. The items would be transported to the Waste Management Grand Junction Material Recovery Facility for sorting and distribution.
“I think this is a step in the right direction,” said Parker during the Town Council meeting held May 19. “It’s pretty much everything but clear and green glass. Plus, there will be no added cost to the town or its residents.”
While Waste Management will continue to pick up brown glass, clear and green glass remains off-limits since it doesn’t have an end source user.
Most green and clear glass is crushed and then put in the county landfill.
“I’m excited to expand the program,” said Fry. “I want everyone to be happy and we want to give people what they want. We need to get the bins up here and work out some minor details but we should be ready by the middle of June. It will produce less trash for the landfill and get more into recycling which is what it’s all about right now, isn’t it?”
Fry said Waste Management could start a similar program in Mt. Crested Butte if the Town Council expresses interest, but it probably wouldn’t work for the outlying subdivisions because of the lack of manpower.
“This is a huge advance from where we slipped back to,” said council member Skip Berkshire. “I’d like everything to be picked up and recycled but this is better than what we’ve had recently.”
Town Council member Reed Betz suggested the town expend some effort in educating the town residents about the improvements so “they know what they can put out, and where to take the rest of the stuff. We don’t want them giving up on it.”
Parker said the town is having some informational stickers made up and will be sending them out to town residents, along with a letter explaining the new program, which she hopes will get under way by mid-June.
Crested Butte resident Roman Kolodziej suggested providing some incentives to get green and clear glass recycled. He asked if the crushed glass could somehow be used by the town.
“The town can’t really use it, and trying to recycle green and clear is just cost-prohibitive at the moment,” explained Parker. “There is no end source. Coors Brewery uses a little but your carbon footprint would be on the plus side if you shipped it to Denver to get some of it done. But we shouldn’t give up on it. It took me 18 months to get to this point.”
Fry explained that green and clear glass goes to landfills pretty much everywhere in Colorado.
Kolodziej also suggested the town organize a recycling area for items used in construction, a place to bring useable items others might use.
Councilmember Billy Rankin said the Office of Resource Efficiency has organized a Recycling Task Force and is looking at the bigger picture. He suggested that Kolodziej contact the organization to give some input.
Crested Butte mayor Alan Bernholtz said the expanded program was great. “It’s about time,” he said. “The town staff did a good job.”

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