County plans boost to recycling programs

Mesa County plans to expand recycling services next year, as administrators try to reduce the amount of waste tossed into the landfill.

For the first time, county officials will recycle electronics, cardboard and scrap metal at the Hazardous Waste Collection Facility, next to the landfill at 3071 U.S. Highway 50.

The electronics recycling program, which will start Jan. 1, will allow residents to dispose of items such as computers, monitors, televisions and cell phones for a 42-cent-a-pound charge.
County Solid Waste Director Bob Edmiston said there are no regulations that require residential electronic waste to be placed anywhere other than the landfill.

“We realize that isn’t in the landfill’s best interest,” he said. “This is providing another outlet for the collection of this material.”

Edmiston said the county will ship the electronics to Denver, where a contractor will break them down into their various components for reuse. The fee charged by the county will pay for the contractor.

The county also will begin taking cardboard and scrap metal. Residents can drop off the cardboard for free but will pay to recycle scrap metal, Edmiston said. That program will start in May or June to give the county time to order the necessary equipment.

The trade-off for expanding its recycling program is the county will limit the hours during which it will accept items. Currently, people can drop off items to be recycled at the landfill at any time outside the Hazardous Waste Collection Facility.

“For the most part it’s unattended, and it’s being fairly trashed out by the public,” Edmiston said.

County officials will move the drop-off recycling location inside the Hazardous Waste Collection Facility. As with hazardous materials, residents will be able to drop off recyclables from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Businesses must call to make an appointment.

The expanded recycling options will not apply to the county’s transfer stations in Fruita, De Beque, Gateway and Molina.

Meanwhile, officials are proposing to increase landfill fees 10 percent beginning July 1. Prices to dump trash will increase from $20 a ton and a $5 minimum charge to $22 a ton and a $5.50 minimum charge. The increase is expected to generate an additional $200,000 in revenue to offset fuel, labor and equipment costs.

All changes are dependent upon county commissioners approving the county’s 2009 budget Monday.


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