Steve Johnson, of Waste Management in Steamboat Springs, talks about recycling Monday evening to a group of middle school students from Hayden. The group was part of the Partners program and included, from left, mentor Jessica Schnittka and students Nicole Rauch, (Waste Management Territory Manager Zuff Zuffelato in back) Faith Carson and Laura Johnson.

Photo by John F. Russell

Steve Johnson, of Waste Management in Steamboat Springs, talks about recycling Monday evening to a group of middle school students from Hayden. The group was part of the Partners program and included, from left, mentor Jessica Schnittka and students Nicole Rauch, (Waste Management Territory Manager Zuff Zuffelato in back) Faith Carson and Laura Johnson.

Green Team tours recycling process

Hayden students visit Waste Management

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— Being a member of the Green Team at Hayden Middle School isn't always a pretty job, but somebody's got to do it.

Sixth-grader Faith Carson found that whenever trash is put in the recycling container, there's a person at Waste Management's Downhill Drive location who has to pick it out.

After a tour of the Steamboat Springs facility Monday, Carson said she is going to spread the word to her classmates that half-full milk cartons and pieces of gum don't belong in the recycling the Green Team picks up at the school twice a week.

"We need a little cooperation," said Zuff Zuffelato, territory manager for Waste Management. "You have to go out of your way, and bubble gum is not recyclable."

The recycled material can be no more than 5 percent trash or the recycling centers will reject the entire bale, Zuffelato said. Green Team members at the school can help by ensuring that only acceptable materials get sent to the recycling center.

Students in the Green Team, led by school-based mentors from Partners in Routt County, are working on awareness campaigns at the school to encourage students to recycle more, mentor Jessica Schnittka said.

Monday's tour of the recycling facility showed the students how the recycling is sorted and baled before being sent to processing plants.

"It's pretty ugly what we do with our best friend, Mother Earth. Pretty ugly," Zuffelato said.

The Routt County recycling center shipped out 381 tons of recyclable material in January and 281 tons in February, Zuffelato said.

The material from Steamboat is sent to Denver, Oklahoma, Arizona and Craig, based on the type of recyclable material.

- To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com

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