The Green Machine, intended for residential use where recycling is not available, was inaugurated in 2007 as part of a partnership with Waste Management and Yampa Valley Recycles. Funding to service the machines comes from Routt County Environmental Health and fees charged for dumping trash at the landfill.

Courtesy photo

The Green Machine, intended for residential use where recycling is not available, was inaugurated in 2007 as part of a partnership with Waste Management and Yampa Valley Recycles. Funding to service the machines comes from Routt County Environmental Health and fees charged for dumping trash at the landfill.

Andy Kennedy and Emilie Rogers: Demystifying the Green Machine

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At a glance

What can be recycled:

■ Aluminum, tin and steel cans, plastics Nos. 1 through 7, newspapers, office paper, junk mail, magazines, phone books, paperboard, wax-lined milk and juice containers, empty aerosol containers and glass

What cannot be recycled:

■ Motor and pesticide containers, plastic bags, plastic wrap and Styrofoam

Find a Green Machine (for residential use only):

■ 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday at Safeway in Steamboat Springs

■ Through Aug. 15 at Howelsen Hill

■ Second full week of the month at Ladies Aid Hall, 83 E. First St. in Yampa

■ Fourth full week of the month at Decker Park in Oak Creek

— Named for its color and size, the Green Machine was inaugurated in 2007 as part of a partnership with Waste Management and Yampa Valley Recycles. The original purpose of these 30-yard-long recycling units was to provide recycling opportunities to residents who did not have access to curbside recycling options. In the past several years, we have seen the use of these recycling units increase dramatically.

To better understand the increase in use and to learn how to improve recycling opportunities in Steamboat, a Yampa Valley Recycles focus group conducted a three-week survey of users of the Green Machines in the Safeway parking lot.

Those surveyed primarily were single-home owners who lived within city limits, and many of them did not know that recycling is offered as part of curbside trash service. Many also were unaware that customers of Waste Management could trade out their square 10-gallon green bins for the new green and yellow 96-gallon roller toters at no charge. Most users said they have twice as much recycling as they have trash, and many of those surveyed were dropping off recycling materials on the week when recycling services don’t pick up (trash pickup is weekly, recycling pickup is biweekly).

Some residents use the Green Machine serviced by Waste Management because there was a larger range of items accepted and no sorting required. Others were not aware that Waste Management offers free recycling drop-off from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays at its Downhill Drive location.

Funding to service the Green Machines is provided by Routt County Environmental Health and the fees charged for dumping trash at the landfill. The need for these machines is growing, but their longevity and the sustainability of the program always is at risk. When construction is down, fees generated from the landfill drop, as well.

The Green Machines were intended for residential use where recycling was not available, and Yampa Valley Recycles recommends that businesses as well as townhome and condominium owners contact their trash haulers for on-site service.

A major problem with the Green Machine is that people are littering by leaving items on the ground when the Green Machines are full. Please be respectful and do not dump your recycling if the Green Machines are full. During the summer, there will be a third Green Machine at Howelsen Hill.

To learn more about the history and details of local recycling, download the 2013 recycling guide and visit www.yvsc.org/programs/yvr. Donations help support Yampa Valley Recycles and the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council continue their efforts of recycling in the Yampa Valley.

Andy Kennedy is the program director for the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, and Emilie Rogers is an administrator for Yampa Valley Recycles.

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