Routt County green lights new recycling facility at Milner Landfill


— Twin Enviro Services President David Epstein confirmed Tuesday to the Routt County Board of Commissioners that his company is interested in providing the community with recycling Dumpsters, which it in turn would haul to a new recycling baler it intends to install in a new building at the Milner Landfill.

Epstein, who has been a strong advocate of recycling everything from construction materials to food waste that is turned into compost at the landfill, told the commissioners he envisioned that no more than a handful of people would deliver single-stream recycling items like plastics and cardboard to the landfill.

“We do currently have drop-off recycling during hours of operation, but we don’t see much coming our way,” he said.

The change being contemplated is that Twin Enviro may begin collecting recyclables from community containers. In the process, Epstein’s company tentatively plans to remove glass from the single-stream recycling and reuse it productively at the landfill.

The intent is to save the expense associated with hauling the heavy glass to a materials recovery facility in a distant city where it has no cash value, Epstein said.

He also is considering removing cardboard from the single-stream recyclables to make it easier to bale. Cardboard is the most cost-effective material to recycle, he said.

“There’s no value in glass, but there is good value in cardboard,” Epstein said. “Potentially, we’ll be putting containers around town just for glass and may have one right next to it for cardboard. That’s ideally how we’re looking at changing the system.”

Twin Enviro would charge a fee for drop-off recycling.

Epstein stopped short of providing more details about how the service would work or how it might mesh with the recycling Dumpster maintained by Waste Management in the Safeway grocery parking lot known as the Green Monster. However, he did confirm to Steamboat Today last week that he has been in consultation with the dominant trash hauler in the area about his recycling plans.

Steamboat Today reported in January that the Green Monster, already overflowing on a typical weekend, was seeing more pressure in the wake of the announcement that it would charge recyclers who aren’t already customers a $5 fee to drop off recyclables in its yard on the city’s far west side.

Routt County Environmental Health Director Mike Zopf, who actively engages the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council and Yampa Valley Recycles, praised Twin Enviro for its recycling efforts.

“David has really worked with YVR and YVSC to improve this issue,” Zopf said. “We really appreciate his company’s willingness to step up.”

Zopf noted that according to the state Health Department, Routt County recycles about 10 percent of its waste stream. He added that Epstein’s plan to crush recycled glass and use it as a cover and a drainage layer is recognized by the Colorado Health Department as an acceptable use.

The county commissioners voted unanimously to approve a permit to allow Twin Enviro to build the new recycling facility at the landfill headquarters.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1


Cresean Sterne 3 years ago

This is great effort but is still behind the times and now may cause more waste into our landfills. The recycling at safeway is full the day it is put out. It's quite obvious that many business's are taking large quantities there especially cardboard and it is filling up within hours. Now that waste management is charging for drop off recycling this will only cause more of a mess at the green machines and more waste in the landfills. I understand charging for a pick up service like our trash but charging the community to drop off recycling in now 2014 is going backwards and will only create more waste. I had the chance this yr to use the recycling at the ski area and just dont understand why Stmbt has some of the worst recycling guidelines around. Most of the recycling I saw was already in plastic trash bags and then tossed into the recycling bin. From what I have known for years is that plastic bags (gocery bags, garbage bags, etc.) are not to be put into the recycling yet people keep doing it. The ski area is by far the worst I have seen. The recycling bin under gondola square is full of them. Plastic bags can be taken to most grocery stores for recycling. Recycling material must be loose when put into recycling containers and not in a garbage bag and then thrown in. That is not recycling, that is now trash.


Scott Wedel 3 years ago

I do not understand the existence of local dumpsters for cardboard recycling. Those dumpsters are heavy, relatively small and expensive to move. It would be far more efficient to convert long 5th wheel trailers into a cardboard recycling containers.

I also do not understand the local insistence upon local single stream recycling. Bringing cardboard to a Green Machine is already sorted by the very nature trying to physically handle cardboard. Seems to me that anyone able to sort recycling material from outright trash is able to sort out cardboard. Thus, it should be obvious to have a plastics/glass recycling container and a cardboard/paper container at Safeway.

And Cresean, yes it is true that plastic bags technically contaminate the recycling stream, but according to the manager at the Eagle County MRF (materials recovery facility), it is easy enough to pull out the plastic bags holding stuff. Loose plastic bags are more of an issue because they are not as exposed and visible as a bag full of materials.


Cresean Sterne 3 years ago

Scott. That manager is a hard working good man to weed out all those plastic bags. From what I have seen and have always been told is that every recycling bin and facility have posted info and sometimes pictures of what is to be recycled. Plastic bags of any sort are not allowed and can cause the entire recycling bin to be tossed into the landfill. We are sopposed to dump out the recycling and then dispose of the plastic bag seperately either recycled at a store or unfortunately in the land fill (I guess one could also drop them off at dog poop bag stands on the core trail or other areas).

The cardboard issue I believe came from cardboard being thrown into the multi recycle bins that strictly say no cardboard. Some would just leave it laying out on the ground like trash so seperate bins were brought in. You are right that they are to small and heavy for just cardboard. A fifth wheel is not a bad idea as long as there is some sort of closure on top.

The recycling bin at gondola square has 100's of trash bags with recycling material in them. Unless there is some new sorting machine that can catch and pull out plastic bags, it just makes no sense.

In order to weed out all those bags would be a very tough task and not cost effective. It would make more sense for every bin and faciity to have a seperate cotainer for plastic bags like there is for corrugated cardboard.

I also have a problem with facilities charging unless that facility picks it up for you. Especialy if one has to drive out to the Milner landfill. The days of getting cash for tin cans and glass bottles have slowly dissapeared but charging someone to recycle, I think will backfire and cause more people to just toss it in with the rest of the trash.

Americans are all about fast and convenient. Recycling facilities have come a long way by offering more convenient ways for the public to recycle by allowing people to combine most everything into one bin. Charging a fee now to do this IMO is not convenient and moving backwards.


Cresean Sterne 3 years ago

It is good to see Twin Enviro takeing recycling to the community. It will be nice to have more recycling options which should eleviate some of the Safeway issues. I only hope there good effort is better then what Ive seen at Safeway. There is simply not enough bins for the recycling being dropped off there and the maintenace after removal looks to be nonexistent (left over trash and such) right next to Fish Creek and within seconds of the Yampa. The one at Safeway should be moved to the otherside of the parking lot by Conoco.


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