Yampa Valley Recycles campaign concludes

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— Residents in Routt County gave a second thought last week to tossing their newspapers, glass bottles and soda cans in the garbage can.

They recycled.

Yampa Valley Recycles organized a weeklong campaign to increase recycling in the community.

The campaign concluded Friday with America Recycles Day.

The volunteer organization sought to show residents recycling isn't rocket science.

Michelle Diehl of Yampa Valley Recycles said she and the other volunteers wanted to make recycling easier.

Residents who do not have curbside recycling must drop off their recyclables at Waste Management in Steamboat Springs or the Hayden Mercantile in Hayden.

The city of Steamboat Springs, Routt County and Waste Management teamed up with Yampa Valley Recycles to place additional recycling collection sites at the Stockbridge Center, 10th Street parking lot, Haymaker Golf Course, the gondola parking lot, the town of Oak Creek, Clark General Store and Milner Landfill.

The extra collection sites were available for one week only.

But people took advantage of the satellite sites, Diehl said.

More than 14 1/2 yards of newspapers, 15 yards of commingled materials and half a yard of office paper were dropped off at various satellite sites.

A half a yard of recycled material is equivalent to 96 gallons.

Diehl expects those figures to grow when the final numbers come in.

"This is quite a bit, which tells us that people did like having access to satellite recycling sites," she said.

Oak Creek and Clark residents particularly responded to the satellite recycling sites.

Diehl said she has heard people who do not live in Steamboat or Hayden say they would appreciate a closer drop-off site so they didn't have to take their recyclables to another town.

When people realize how easy recycling is, they are more inclined to make it a habit, she said.

Routt County residents are gradually making it a habit. The national average recycling rate is 30 percent. Routt County is at 5.2 percent.

"Although we're making strides, we're far behind what we need to be nationally," Diehl said.

She thanked special-needs students at Steamboat Springs High School who helped distribute brochures and posters about recycling last week.

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