Recycling is an important step toward becoming a less wasteful and more productive society. Alicia Archibald from Bestway Disposal said reusing or recycling not only saves space in landfills but also creates jobs and revenue for the community. Falcon waste removal providers are offering more options to customers to get them on board the recycling train.
Single-stream recycling eliminates the hassle of separating recyclables and the "no time for that" excuses. Residents can dump all materials into one bin, with zero sorting required.
Darrell McClelland, Falcon resident and retired biology teacher, can’t understand why more people do not take advantage of this service. “What a great thing, and I look around and so few people seem to be recycling,” McClelland said. “I don’t know why.”
He said last week his family had no trash – it all went into the recycle bin.
Alicia Archibald, who is part of business development and recycling education for Bestway Disposal, said single-stream recycling started in the area in 2008. “The city of Colorado Springs, El Paso County and Colorado Springs Utility all put in a bid for trash service (for their public buildings), and they required single-stream recycling,” Archibald said. To remain competitive, she said that Bestway Disposal offered single-stream recycling but had to truck the material to Denver and Boulder to be processed.
Bestway Disposal eventually opened its own material recovery (processing) facility in Colorado Springs. “The MRF facility was opened by Bestway with no government money,” Archibald said. “It is our own investment.” Other waste companies such as Rocky Mountain Waste and Springs Waste Systems utilize the Bestway MRF at no cost.
Bestway processes all of the materials and then sorts and bails them according to material, which is then sold to a bidder. “We do not make much money on the recycling, but if we break even that’s something,” Archibald said. “It doesn’t end up in the landfill, and we eliminate the landfill fees.”
Some residents have resented paying for recycling when the materials are sold for a profit, she said. “You are paying to have the truck come to your house, not for the sorting,” Archibald said. At $5 a month (Bestway recycling cost), the customer pays $1.25 a week to have their recycling picked up at the doorstep.
Beth Smith from Rocky Mountain Disposal echoed the fact there is not much money in recycling. “It’s pennies,” Smith said. “It does not even pay to run the truck.” However, she said it’s the responsible thing to do, and customers want more recycling options. Currently, Rocky Mountain Disposal offers single-stream recycling, picked up every other week. She said that since they started in August about 150 Falcon residents participate.
In the first three weeks of Bestway’s single-stream recycling service, they had 1,500 customers throughout Colorado Springs signed up.
Some items are not recyclable, and it’s important to know what can and cannot go into the bin. Archibald said sorting is a big job, and the more the public helps out by putting proper recyclables in the bin, the more efficient the process.
Archibald said while some items do have a recycling number on the bottom of the item, there might not be a bidder for the product.
Some recyclables can damage the sorting machine.
She said plastic bags clog the machine and should be taken back to a store that offers recycling, such as a supermarket. Styrofoam and shredded paper is unacceptable for single-stream recycling. The latter just “flies everywhere,” Archibald said.
“Glass can be recycled endlessly; paper has about seven lives; cans can be recycled many, many times. If you recycle paper, you cut down fewer trees. If you recycle plastic, you don’t have to dig for as much oil.”
Acceptable materials for single-stream recycling:
- Newspaper, including inserts
- Corrugated cardboard
- Office paper
- Mixed paper
- Chipboard, cereal & tissue boxes
- Brown paper bags
- Plastic (#1 - #7)
- Steel or tin cans
- Empty aerosol cans
- Glass bottles and jars
- Aluminum foil
- Pie tins
- Detergent bottles (Tide)
- Plastic milk jugs
- Bulk or junk mail
- Yogurt containers
- Butter tubs
- Vitamin bottles