Bins for recyclable materials are sparse in downtown Steamboat Springs, so several groups are working together on a trial run of 12 to 14 recycling bins next to trash cans between Sixth and Ninth streets on Lincoln Avenue.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Bins for recyclable materials are sparse in downtown Steamboat Springs, so several groups are working together on a trial run of 12 to 14 recycling bins next to trash cans between Sixth and Ninth streets on Lincoln Avenue.

Group aiming for a cleaner, greener downtown Steamboat

Recycling trial to run through September

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— The idea came about in the quintessential “Steamboat way,” said Catherine Carson, treasurer of Yampa Valley Recycles.

A group of people with a common goal came together to get something done. In this case, it was taking the next step in adding recyclable material receptacles next to trash cans in downtown Steamboat Springs.

If the proposed project makes it through the upcoming trials and is deemed financially feasible, Carson said she thinks it could reduce the amount of trash crews have to pick up.

“We’re sort of hoping it will keep downtown cleaner,” she said. “It’s a typical Steamboat idea. The thing is, for recycling to be the most efficient, you need to have the recycling container next to the trash. That’s the ideal situation for it.”

In the recycle container project’s next step, the city of Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., Yampa Valley Recycles and Mainstreet Steamboat Springs will work together on a trial run of 12 to 14 recycling bins next to trash cans between Sixth and Ninth streets on Lincoln Avenue.

Ski Corp. donated the bins, which are being repainted using new recycling logos adopted by the Zero Waste Initiative, a program of the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.

There is no timeline on placing the trial bins. City officials are working it into their budget to assess the possible costs associated with the program, Carson said.

Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said she hoped to expand the program across downtown, despite the unknown cost to the city.

“We eventually want them everywhere, but we don’t know how much time or labor it will take to actually pick up this stuff,” she said.

Barnett said that the reaction from downtown merchants generally has been positive and that people in the community are receptive to green changes.

“There was an issue a few years ago when merchants didn’t want any more clutter on the streets,” Barnett said. “But I think the climate has changed. I think people are more into recycling. I think people are looking for more opportunities. People are more environmentally aware and looking to save landfills. And I think to the general public it’s something Steamboat Springs would be expected to have, as they do everywhere else.”

Currently, recycling is available downtown in Public Recy­cling Units attached to newspaper dispensers.

Sustainability Council Vice-Chairwoman Liz Wahl said adding recycling receptacles downtown, to supplement the features that already are there, is a positive step for the city.

“There’s so many people here that are environmentalists,” Wahl said. “You have to love nature and the environment if you live in Steamboat, and you have to do the right thing. We don’t need to be throwing recyclables away. I think the community spirit will be uplifted that we’re doing it.”

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