Curbside recycling concept gets reborn

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— Steamboat Springs City Council enthusiastically passed on first reading Tuesday night an ordinance that would require all trash removal companies operating in the city to include curbside recycling in their basic fee for weekly service.

Two companies, Waste Management and High Country Roll-Off, currently offer trash removal locally.

Mike Stinson, site manager for Waste Management in Steamboat told City Council his company is already planning to comply with the new ordinance. He added that Waste Management plans to make curbside recycling easier for its customers by allowing commingling of two categories of recyclables in the curbside bins.

Under the new program, tin (steel), aluminum, glass and Nos. 1 and 2 plastics could be combined in a single bin. Similarly, newspapers, magazines and corrugated cardboard could also be combined in one bin.

Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord presented the ordinance to City Council and pointed out that presently, curbside recycling customers of Waste Management pay a fee in addition to their regular trash pickup fee. That would no longer be the case under the new ordinance.

Councilman Bud Romberg asked if anything could prevent the trash removal companies from raising their basic rates to cover the expenses associated with curbside recycling. DuBord responded that the city has no jurisdiction over the company's rates.

However, Stinson said his firm has no plans to raise the rates due to the new curbside program.

"Our intent is not to raise the price. It's not to offer recycling and then turn around and raise the rate," Stinson said. Waste Management would consider a rate increase in cases of increased rates at landfills, or skyrocketing fuel prices, he added.

Sue Oakley of Yampa Valley Recycles praised the new ordinance.

"The city is setting a proactive example for other communities to follow," Oakley said. "And Waste Management is taking a bold step with their new curbside program."

Stinson said he would provide further details about the new curbside recycling program for consumers. He said the program is set to begin on April 24, the first Monday following Earth Day on April 22.

Residents of Steamboat and Routt County have the option of visiting Waste Management's yard on Downhill Drive to drop off their recyclables. A recent decision by major beer brewers Anheuser-Busch, Miller and Coors to discontinue their returnable bottle products has already resulted in an increase in the amount of glass recycled locally, Stinson said. The Waste Management recycling center took in 63,000 pounds of glass in March, he said.

In other business, City Council:
n Heard an update on the effort to find funding for new Howelsen Hill ski jump improvements required by the International Ski Federation.

n Unanimously approved development permits for several projects. They included the historic renovation of the Routt National Bank Building at Eighth and Lincoln.


-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210, or e-mail tomross@amigo.net

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