Glenwood Springs accepts bid for pay-as-you-throw trash collection

A Mountain Waste and Recycling employee picks up recycling bins in the Cardiff Glen neighborhood in south Glenwood.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

This article misstated some of the estimated pricing on overflow trash and cart delivery pricing

Mountain Waste and Recycling won the bid for Glenwood Springs’ new single-hauler, pay-as-you-throw trash collection program.

The city is now entering negotiations with the local waste company to include trash, recycling and maybe even yard waste pick-up.

Both Mountain Waste and Recycling and Waste Management turned in requests for proposals to be the city’s main trash hauling company for residents in housing of seven or fewer units. The selection was made at the March 2 City Council meeting

Housing units of eight or more are not legally allowed by the state to be on the contract because they are considered commercial properties, but will eventually be subject to a recycling statute by the city of Glenwood Springs, and eventually the state, too. 

“The extended producer responsibility statute did get passed in the state of Colorado, which basically means that in the next several years most communities or haulers are going to have to go to some form of recycling anyhow,” Glenwood Springs Public Works Director Matt Langhorst said.

The main idea around pay-as-you-throw is to allow the city to charge more per larger bin size while offering curbside recycling pickup to encourage people to recycle more, while also saving space in the city’s South Canyon Landfill. 

“One of the main reasons why the current system isn’t working for us from a landfill perspective, is that we’ve done audits of our trash and we know that 80% of what’s going into the landfill right now could be recycled,” South Canyon Landfill Manager Liz Mauro said. 

Mauro explained that at the rate the landfill is growing currently, they will need to expand within the next three to four years. Mauro said the landfill and the city have already been in the process of requesting the expansion.

“The total cost of the expansion will be about $2 million,” Mauro said. “That won’t occur all at once. It will be spread over a few years, but it absolutely does cost a lot of money to expand the landfill because we have to pay for new leachate collection systems.”

It will also bump the landfill up to a new category of larger landfills, incurring more stringent air pollution control measures, she said. The operation will be required to do methane testing, which is a part of the high cost of the expansion. 

Once the landfill undergoes the expansion, it will take an additional 30 years before it would be full again at the current rate residents are trashing recyclable material. It could take as long as possibly 60 years if residents reduce their landfill waste and increase recycling.

In addition, going down to one company means fewer trucks on the road, which means less carbon emissions and less wear and tear on the streets, Mauro said. 

Proposal from Mountain Waste

Councilor Shelley Kaup motioned at the March 2 meeting to start negotiations with Mountain Waste, along with a 20% administrative fee. This includes a weekly yard waste pickup location by the rodeo grounds in south Glenwood.

Councilor Paula Stepp seconded, and the council voted 5 to 1 with Councilor Tony Hershey voting no. 

Langhorst said the city is open to negotiating curbside yard waste pick-up if enough residents show interest in the next year.

Trash bin options will be 32, 64 or 96 gallons, along with a recycling bin. Trash will be collected weekly and recycling will be collected every other week. 

Mountain Waste and Recycling fees with the 20% administration fee were estimated to cost about:

  • $10.80 a month with a 32-gallon bin and a recycling bin, both every other week
  • $12.75 a month with a 32-gallon bin and a recycling bin, trash weekly and recycling every other week
  • $25.44 a month with a 64-gallon bin and recycling bin, trash weekly and recycling every other week
  • $38.16 a month with a 96-gallon bin and recycling bin, trash weekly and recycling every other week
  • Wildlife-resistant carts, extra carts and replacement carts will cost additional fees
  • Overflow trash will cost $10.60
  • Cart delivery will cost $25 after the 30 days

Langhorst said that for the first 60 days of the city launching the program, residents will be able to switch their carts for the most preferred size without additional costs. Current bins can possibly be salvaged if they are in the listed size ranges and if they are compatible with the trash truck lifts.

Recycling every other week is more cost effective, Langhorst said. 

“If recycling increases significantly over the contract, frequency can be changed,” Langhorst said.

Administrative fees will be evaluated after the first year, and Mountain Waste and Recycling accepted a 6% cap on annual cost increases.

Post Independent reporter Cassandra Ballard can be reached at or 970-384-9131.

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