Free, drop-off recycling program meets demise in Steamboat

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— After Saturday, recycling for some Steamboat Springs area residents will require a little more effort and possibly money.

The era of free, drop-off recycling that was started in 2007 no longer will continue at the Safeway parking lot.

"Due to financial restraints, we had to terminate the service," said Emilie Rogers, with the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.

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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.

Options still exist for people who do not have access to curbside recycling, and Rogers said her group is working with the city of Steamboat Springs, Routt County and a Denver consultant to come up with a long-term solution.

For years, large roll-away dumpsters were available for residents to drop off recycling, but they were almost too popular. They overflowed, and people dropped off their recycling next to the dumpster. Routt County had been paying for the service, Rogers said. It was relied on by people who did not have curbside pick-up, such as those who lived in complexes that did not offer recycling.

In May, Twin Enviro Services took over managing the free, drop-off recycling. They staffed the site, and it was available on Saturdays only. The Sustainability Council gave notice this was only a temporary solution until October.

"It ended early because we ran out of money," Rogers said.

City zoning codes also did not allow for the recycling site.

The Sustainability Council has created a flyer to hand out to people Saturday on the last day of drop-off recycling.

It lets people know that if they currently have curbside trash service, recycling is included for an additional charge.

People also can drop off recycling at Waste Management, though there is a $5 fee for those who are not customers. To accommodate those who work during the day, Waste Management will be open until 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

Twin Enviro Services in Milner will accept recycling from 9 a.m to 3 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and there is a fee ranging from $1 to $5, depending on the size of the load. During winter months on Saturdays, Twin Enviro Services will accept recycling from 9 a.m. to noon.

"We're looking for a location in town for a drop-off site," said Dave Epstein, with Twin Enviro Services.

Those efforts are part of larger efforts by Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, Routt County and the city of Steamboat Springs to develop a long-term recycling plan.

A $5,000 grant from Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. is being used to pay for a feasibility study.

"We need to collect data," Rogers said. "We need to determine what's best for our community and our recycling needs."

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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