Recycling upgrades spur greater participation in New Castle
New Castle residents are now recycling more following changes to the town waste hauling contract this past spring.
Herman Aardsma, operations manager with Mountain Roll-offs Inc (MRI) in Silt that handles the town waste contract, said his company is tracking increases in both recycling participation and volumes of collection. He said monitoring from early April through early July showed an average recycling participation rate of 77.6 percent of all households, which represents strong participation for non-mandatory recycling programs in the U.S. “The amount of recycling that town residents are doing is more now than it ever has been,” said Aardsma, who has worked in recycling locally for 10 years.
New Castle recyclers currently are diverting approximately 7,550 pounds of recyclable and compostable materials from the garbage at South Canyon Landfill each week.
New Castle Town Administrator Andy Barton said he “couldn’t be more pleased by New Castle’s high level of participation.”
“Earlier in my career, I was a recycling coordinator for a municipality in the Pacific Northwest, and we felt fortunate to have 55 percent of our residents participate,” Barton said. “So 77 percent local participation is a remarkable achievement.”
Aardsma attributes the increases to weekly recycling pickups – the previous waste hauler picked up recycling every other week – as well as an expansion of the types of recyclable materials collected. The curbside recycling program now accepts flattened corrugated cardboard, magazines and paperboard. New Castle is one of a limited number of communities in Colorado with curbside recycling of cardboard, Aardsma noted. Another factor in the higher recycling participation is that MRI provided a recycling bin to every household paying for waste services without residents needing to sign up. In 2009, the town’s previous waste hauler recorded total recycling collection of 104 tons, or 208,000 pounds. With the current rate of recycling, residents are on track to almost double the annual diversion rate.
In order to maintain affordable and timely waste services, Aardsma encourages all New Castle customers to review the curbside recycling guidelines. He said newspaper, cardboard, paperboard and magazines should be placed at the side of the recycling bin, or better yet, placed in a second bin of the customers’ choosing for free pickup. When commingled recyclables and paper items are mixed haphazardly together in the same recycling bin that adds a tremendous amount of labor and time for sorting on the recycling routes.
“The jumbled recycling really slows down the services,” Aardsma said.
He asks customers to break down cardboard boxes into 3-foot flattened pieces and to remove lids from commingled containers. Metal lids that are removed can be recycled, but plastic lids, which are made of different densities of plastic, should go in the trash. Items such as plastic bags, motor oil or paint containers, office paper and Styrofoam should not be placed in curbside recycling bins.
In general, Americans recycle 33 percent of their overall waste, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Still, statistics show that the U.S. is the number one trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. Experts say that translates to 5 percent of the world’s people generating 40 percent of the world’s waste.
Aardsma reminds New Castle customers that any trash not placed in the rolling trash carts will be charged an excess trash fee. That provides another strong reason to recycle everything possible so that waste pickup is not subject to an additional charge, he said.
More information about recycling guidelines in New Castle is available at http://www.newcastlecolorado.org.
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