Recycling 'Wranglers' start work today

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— Yampa Valley Recycles kicks off its Recycling Wranglers program today, the first of a three-phase effort to improve recycling in Routt county

Today, the first set of Saturday volunteers will be at the Waste Management building on Downhill Drive to aid and educate people turning in their waste at the recycling center.

The volunteers are part of the Recycling Wranglers program.

"Hopefully we'll be able to generate some more interest in recycling," Yampa Valley Recycles President Sue Oakley said. "That's one of our goals for the program."

Each Saturday, volunteers will be at the recycling center from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help people with their cans, bottles and other reusable materials while educating them on how to use the site.

In addition to the Saturday shifts, the Wranglers also will go to private residences to pick up recyclables from those who can't get curbside service from local trash haulers and aren't able to bring them to the Waste Management site. The house visits will focus on helping seniors and those without transportation, Oakley said.

"That's probably our biggest need," Wranglers coordinator Ginny Winn said.

The second phase of the program is to designate one volunteer in each neighborhood to be in charge of handing out information about local recycling programs.

Phase three is a similar program for businesses. It would designate one business in a commercial sector to be in charge of handing out information.

"Our mission is to educate the public and promote recycling in Yampa Valley," Oakley said.

She said Waste Management's new recycling program, beginning Monday, makes curbside recycling cheaper and more convenient, and will help transform the way people dispose of waste.

"It's a big (and) small step. It's a small step in a journey to seeing better services for our citizens," she said.

The programs are a large step in increasing public awareness about waste management, Oakley added.

"What we're trying to do is change behavior," she said.

There's no way of making everyone in Routt County concerned about recycling, but there is a way of changing habits of disposing waste, Oakley said.

"I think it's the right direction for the county to go in," County Commissioner Dan Ellison said of convenient recycling.

Serious recycling should become a new habit, he said. "We need to continue to work on it."

Waste Management employees will be at the recycling center to sign up residents for the new curbside recycling program. Everyone who wants to be included needs to sign up and buy two new recycling bins, even if they already have curbside recycling. The new bins are larger and allow for commingling of paper and cardboard products in one bin, and glass, aluminum and steel cans, and plastics in the second.


-- To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or e-mail dcrowl@amigo.net

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