Photo by Matt Stensland
Waste Management employee Thomas Johnson looks for styrofoam as the Green Machine mobile recycling center is emptied Thursday at Waste Management. The Recycle America program, run by Waste Management, has expanded its recycling program.
Steamboat Springs Yampa Valley Recycles now recycles even more.
Starting this month, the Recycle America program in Steamboat Springs will accept nearly all types of plastics at the Downhill Drive site, in curbside recycling bins and in the Green Machine mobile recycling center.
Barb Parnell, administrator of the nonprofit Yampa Valley Recycles organization, said the Recycle America program, run by Waste Management, now accepts detergent bottles, yogurt containers and margarine containers, along with materials already accepted.
Recyclable plastic containers have numbers printed on the bottom, from one to seven. Before the upgrade, only containers marked with a one or two were accepted. Now all seven grades of plastic can be pitched into recycle bins.
"We're really excited because people have been asking for that," Parnell said.
Customers are asked to rinse out any food containers to avoid bears digging through the recyclables.
Plastic bags are still not acceptable in the recycling program, and caps must be removed from all bottles.
Alicia Pena, a representative from Waste Management, said customers often find they can recycle more than they expected.
"We find that about 90 to 95 percent of what they throw away, they could recycle," she said.
Curbside recycling pickup is free for Waste Management customers within Steamboat Springs city limits. All other donations must be dropped off at Waste Management's Downhill Drive location or at the Green Machine portable recycling container.
All recyclable materials - paper products, metal cans, glass and more - can be mixed together in the recycling bins. The mix makes it easier to package the recyclables into bales, Parnell said, which are then mechanically separated after they are transported to Denver.
The recycling hub in Denver processed 26,000 tons of materials in 2007.
Yampa Valley Recycles also is increasing several of its recycling programs across town. The group now is recycling all of the plastic cups used at the Free Summer Concert Series . They collected 20 bags at the most recent concert.
Parnell said the group also is selling green, reusable shopping bags again in the coming months after selling out of their first shipment of 5,000 bags in March. A new order of 7,500 reuseable shopping bags will be sold around town and through the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. The bags, sold for $1, hold the same amount as three or four standard plastic shopping bags.
The Green Machine is behind Alpine Bank the first full week of each month, from Monday to Monday. It is then hauled to Yampa, the Safeway parking lot, and Oak Creek for one week in each location.
- To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org