Letter: Shortsighted decision | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Shortsighted decision

Glenwood Springs’ recent decision to close its downtown recycling center, forcing residents to haul their recyclables 8 miles farther west to the South Canyon landfill, is unfortunate and shortsighted.

Besides discouraging recycling, it would add hundreds of additional vehicle trips through the soon-to-be-gridlocked West Glenwood highway interchange just as the city is struggling to reduce traffic to offset upcoming bridge closures.

Fortunately, the impending closure has prompted some interesting ideas from the community on ways to retain, or perhaps even expand, in-town recycling.
Suggestions include moving the facility to the former rodeo grounds, the snow-collection site by the high school, along Devereux Road or even somewhere near the confluence. Those city-owned sites have various shortcomings, but they demonstrate that in-town options do exist.
Greg Jeung’s letter proposed a land swap to acquire a larger in-town recycling site, perhaps next to Union Pacific’s rail line where recyclables could be shipped to market more economically.
Martha Cochran suggested the city take bids for a single-company trash collection and recycling franchise. The resulting economies of scale should lower costs, allowing the winning company to provide expanded curbside service to the entire city.

Longer-term, the best option may be a regional approach. Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle counties all face similar challenges in managing their waste and recycling streams.

RFTA’s success in getting millions of commuters out of their cars and onto buses shows that it is possible to address complex, multijurisdictional challenges by working together and pooling our resources.

Meantime, Glenwood’s City Council has shown impressive problem-solving ability in addressing the Grand Avenue bridge replacement, the Eighth Street extension and a new Roaring Fork River pedestrian bridge. Here’s hoping they can apply that same ingenuity to find an in-town location or other alternative for our much-loved recycling program.

Russ Arensman
Glenwood Springs

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