Trash hauler resists recycling

Hayden company says demand doesn't warrant curbside service

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— The future of curbside recycling in Hayden may depend on what company gets the town's trash-hauling contract. The two primary trash collectors in Routt County disagree about whether mandating that recycling be a required service in future contracts is smart government.

Steamboat Springs has passed an ordinance requiring its contractor, Waste Management, to provide curbside recycling service. But the owner of Hayden's garbage collection company, High Country Roll Off, says that the cost of recycling may just put it out of business.

High Country Roll Off owner Jim Fuller said that he hasn't had enough people requesting curbside recycling to make the venture profitable for his company.

"I think about 10 percent of people in this valley recycle. It's not profitable for a company to pay for recycling when so few people are doing it," Fuller said. "People don't recycle because it's a hassle and it's too expensive."

Waste Management is working with the city of Steamboat to provide curbside recycling to all of its customers living in Steamboat, Steamboat II, Heritage Park and Tree Haus.

"We're offering a commingle program where customers can put newspapers, magazines and cardboard in one bin and glass, tin and aluminum and No. 1 and No. 2 plastics in another bin and we'll pick it up for free every other week with their regular trash pickup," Waste Management site manager Mike Stinson said. "This is all at no greater cost to the customer, except the customer has to purchase the recycle tubs, which are $10 a piece."

Stinson said he is interested in offering the curbside recycling program to Hayden residents if Waste Management is capable of winning back the town's trash-hauling contract when it comes up for renewal in October.

High Country won the Hayden contract from Waste Management two years ago, largely because it offered to collect trash for $2.50 less per home. In 1998, Waste Management bid trash-hauling at $15 per month for a single residence and $14 for senior citizens. Fuller's company bid $12.50 and $7.50, respectively.

In the fall of 1998, Waste Management had 50 customers in Hayden that were taking advantage of their curbside recycling program, that's 7 percent of the 700 customers using trash service in the community.

Fuller maintained that, in comparing the price of hauling trash, his company is less expensive than Waste Management and although Waste Management said that it is offering recycling at no cost, the company is charging more for its trash hauling service.

"They've factored the price of recycling into their regular monthly fee; we don't do that," Fuller said. "Those people that want to recycle are better off paying a lower monthly trash fee and then taking their recyclables to a satellite location free of charge, in this case, everybody wins."

Waste Management would like to bid recycling and regular trash hauling in one lump sum in October, where in the past they were required by the town to bid for services items individually.

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