Lack of funds in Mt. Crested Butte may prevent new recycling effort

Council considers temporary recycling facility

Sometimes it takes green to be green. The Mt. Crested Butte Town Council is looking into expanding recycling facilities within town, but a lack of funds could keep the program grounded for the time being.




Representatives from Crested Butte Mountain Resort and Gothic Mountain Waste Solutions came before the council on Tuesday, May 5 to present some information on the resort’s expanded recycling program during 2008, and to encourage the town to step up its own efforts for 2009.

CBMR director of planning John Sale said the resort began working with Gothic Mountain Waste Solutions last year to improve recycling. He said CBMR spent a fair amount of money to add recycling facilities, including purchasing additional recycling containers, leasing a 40-foot recycling dumpster with compartments for different materials, and leasing a cardboard compactor.
Sale said many of the businesses around the base area also used the cardboard compactor. Between December 2008 and March 2009, the resort recycled more than 35 tons of cardboard. “It was unbelievable how much cardboard we actually recycle,” he said.
Sale said a Western State College class conducted a survey of resort guests and locals back in March to see how the resort’s new recycling program was being received.
Based on that survey and other guest comments, Sale said many people supported recycling and liked CBMR’s new on-mountain recycling bins. However, some comments indicated they felt there wasn’t much of a recycling presence around the base area. “We’ve made huge leaps and bounds, but where we can really improve is getting recycling bins out in Mountaineer Square,” Sale said.
He said CBMR would be purchasing more recycling bins for the base area this year and, “I think it would be great if town could put one over by the transit center,” since the town owns that facility. Sale said the recycling containers run about $1,000 each.
Councilman Bill Babbitt asked if CBMR could maintain a recycling bin at the transit center if the town purchased one. Sale said that was a possibility.
As an additional recycling opportunity, Gothic Mountain Waste Solutions owner Andrew Shoup suggested the town start a program where a temporary recycling facility is set up one or two days a month. Shoup said he could provide a 40-foot recycling container similar to the one CBMR is leasing, along with an attendant to make sure recyclables are property segregated and free of contaminates.
Shoup said in some cases, recyclables end up going to the dump because of poor sorting or contamination in the recyclable materials. “It’s our job to make sure we get as much as we can down to the recycling station untainted,” he said.
 The town could advertise when the temporary recycling center would be available, and when the day is done, Shoup said, the container would be taken away as if it were never there. “We will keep track of all the recyclables to see how it grows and if we need to do it more than once a month,” Shoup said.
He said the temporary recycling facility would cost the town $500 each time it is set up. “It’s an affordable alternative instead of a permanent recycling center,” he said.
One of the parking lots in town was initially suggested as a location to put the temporary recycling bin, but Babbitt asked, “Where can it go in the winter months when we’re busy and the parking lots are full?”
Shoup said that was a good question, and mayor William Buck asked if the town staff had any ideas. Community development administrative assistant Theresa Henry suggested the town’s maintenance lot next to the CBMR shops, or even at town hall.
Buck asked the rest of the council how they felt about the proposed recycling programs.
Babbitt said, “I support recycling and purchasing one receptacle for $1,000 [for the transit center] and doing a three-month trial period with Andrew’s program in July, August and September.”
Buck asked the staff, “Do we have the finances for that?”
Town manager Joe Fitzpatrick said finding the money would be tough. The council asked him to check the financial situation and report back during their May 19 meeting.
After the meeting, Fitzpatrick said expanded recycling is a great idea, but there really isn’t any money in the budget for it. Furthermore, Fitzpatrick said, the town’s contract with Waste Management might prohibit the town from hiring a third party to conduct recycling services. Still, Fitzpatrick said, the council might decide to adjust the budget during their May 19 meeting—otherwise, “we’ll just try to keep it moving forward.”

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