Kevin Male completes his recycling chores at the Green Machine bin in the Alpine Bank parking lot Tuesday.

Photo by Tom Ross

Kevin Male completes his recycling chores at the Green Machine bin in the Alpine Bank parking lot Tuesday.

Green Machine hours cut

Lower landfill revenues, increased waste fees force changes

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On the 'Net

Visit Yampa Valley Recycles on the Web at www.yampavalleyrecycles.org. Call the group's hot line at 870-7575.

New Green Machine hours

Waste Management, 2701 Downhill Drive*

- 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday

Safeway, 37500 E. U.S. Highway 40, and Alpine Bank, 1901 Pine Grove Road

- Available 24/7 on weekends beginning at 4 p.m. on Fridays

Oak Creek, alley behind The Colorado Bar & Grill, 100 East Main St.

- Available 24/7 the fourth full week of every month

Yampa, Ladies Aid Hall, 83 East First St.

- Available 24/7 the second full week of every month

* The Green Machine at Waste Management is the only one that can accept corrugated cardboard

Source: Routt County, Yampa Valley Recycles

— Routt County and Yampa Valley Recycles' popular Green Machine mobile recycling bins soon will be available less often because of a decline in revenues that support the program and a fee increase for emptying the bins.

The most noticeable reduction will be to the nighttime availability of a recycling drop-off point in Steamboat Springs, Monday through Friday. Two green machines previously available around the clock all month at Alpine Bank, and the first and second full weeks of the month at Safeway, now will be available only on weekends. Waste Management will continue to operate its drop-off recycling center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. A Green Machine still will be available around the clock in Yampa and Oak Creek during the second and fourth full weeks of the month, respectively.

Routt County Environmental Health Director Mike Zopf said Waste Management has increased the amount it charges to pick up and empty the Green Machine when it is in the South Routt communities. Although the rate will stay the same in Steamboat, at $95, it has increased to $295 in Oak Creek and Yampa.

Coupled with that increase is a decrease in the revenues the county receives from the landfill in Milner to support recycling. The county receives a "tipping fee" on each cubic yard of waste. County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush said a decline in construction activity - and therefore construction waste - has reduced tipping fees received by the county substantially.

"The issue is that recycling isn't free," Zopf said.

Yampa Valley Recycles - a nonprofit organization funded by the city and county that works to expand and support regional comprehensive recycling programs - is especially eager to spread the word about changes to the Green Machine program because it recently published 1,500 copies of this year's "Recycling Guidelines for the Yampa Valley" brochure with the now outdated and incorrect hours.

"This was kind of a sudden concern that came up," said Yampa Valley Recycles Administrator Emilie Rogers, who said producing the brochures cost about $4,300.

County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said she also is worried that people will go to the recycling sites at now unavailable hours and leave their recyclables anyway. Zopf said that's already happening when the machines are full. He urged people not to do it and to take their materials to the Waste Management site whenever possible.

"It's become so popular that we just can't keep up with it," said Zopf, who said he is especially worried about the private businesses that host the Green Machine. "We can't create a nuisance for Alpine Bank or Safeway."

Zopf also noted that the Green Machine is intended for household recyclables only.

"We don't have the capacity to handle commercial recycling," he said. "They have to go to Waste Management or arrange for curbside pickup."

According to Yampa Valley Recycles' 2008 annual report, Waste Management reported that more than 7 million pounds of waste was recycled locally last year.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210 or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

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