Growing GarCo wants to increase recycling

A growing Garfield County is seeing an accompanying increase in the production of garbage, and the county has begun exploring ways to keep more of it from being thrown away.

The county has contracted to pay $27,000 for LBA Associates of Denver to explore ways to recycle more trash that otherwise ends up in landfills, the county’s and others.

County manager Ed Green said use of the landfill is accelerating because of a growing population, increasing construction and the continuing boom in natural gas development.

“I think this just reflects the explosive growth of the county. We’re growing, what, 5 percent a year? The landfill has to react to that growth as well as other entities,” Green said.

Janey Dyke, a county landfill technician, said the landfill took in 44,000 tons of garbage last year. However, some of that was recycled, such as appliances and certain metals.

Green said the county also separates wood but then usually just burns it.

“We’re thinking about some sort of composting operation that would use ground-up materials from that,” he said.

Doug Oliver, superintendent of Glenwood Springs’ South Canyon landfill, said he appreciates that county officials are looking at increased recycling.

“With our proximity so close to their landfill, anything that helps them probably will help us as well,” Oliver said.

Four years ago, the city had projected seven years of capacity for its facility, Oliver said. But it’s almost full now, in large part because construction and demolition garbage that is dumped there. The landfill is planning an expansion that may give it about 20 more years of capacity.

The city already offers a composting operation and lets its customers dump wood waste there for a quarter of what they pay if they just put it in the landfill.

Consultant Laurie Batchelder Adams of LBA Associates already has hosted a meeting involving the county and municipalities and is planning more.

Dyke said the county probably will explore a range of options, from curbside recycling to transfer stations to recycling operations at the landfill. She said the county needs to find out whether it can recover the costs of collecting and shipping recycled items.

Green said the county’s landfill doesn’t face a space crisis because it has some options to buy adjacent U.S. Bureau of Land Management land.


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