June 18, 2021
For Immediate Release
Contact: Cathy Hall, Pitkin County Solid Waste Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 970-309-7207
Pitkin County Awarded Outstanding Government Recycling/Diversion Program
Pitkin County, Colo.- The Recycle Colorado Association awarded Pitkin County with the Outstanding Government Recycling/Diversion Program award at their annual conference on June 16, 2021. Pitkin County was nominated by Eco Cycle in Boulder. A committee of Recycle Colorado members then reviewed the nominations and selected Pitkin County as the top candidate.
“We are super proud of what we have been able to accomplish,” said Cathy Hall, Solid Waste Director. “To be recognized by the leading association on recycling in Colorado is a big deal.”
With a diversion rate of 38% in 2019 (the most recent year for which data is available), Pitkin County has the highest diversion rate of any Colorado county. Waste diversion is material that is recycled or finds a reuse before it goes into the trash. This leading diversion rate is due in large part to the county’s efforts to limit organic materials from being buried in the landfill. The Pitkin County Solid Waste Center is host to the second largest composting facility in the state, which diverts 13,000 tons of organics from the landfill annually. Pitkin County is also one of only six counties in Colorado that tracks annual waste diversion.
In addition to its successful organics diversion program, in 2020, Pitkin County passed Ordinance No. 015-2020 to increase the recycling of materials such as scrap metal, concrete and cardboard from construction and demolition (C&D) projects. C&D diversion has added to the existing recycling program, which is located at the Pitkin County Solid Waste Center.
Though the landfill does not have a formal C&D processing facility, the new ordinance creates a tiered pricing structure and a waste deposit system that is leading to higher rates of recycling. This new system drives people to use existing diversion programs at the landfill and separate their materials, including:
- Collecting cardboard for single stream recycling
- Collecting scrap metal for metal recycling
- Crushing concrete into a usable aggregate
- Milling asphalt into a reusable product
- Separating and grinding untreated wood into a mulch product
- Processing rock into a usable aggregate
- Processing dirt to be used in the county’s soils program
Unfortunately, not all materials can be recycled on site and being located on the Western Slope presents significant challenges for getting materials to recycling centers. Many of the recycled items such as mattresses, paints, books, batteries, single stream recycling and textiles have to go to the Front Range for processing, an average 190-mile trip. Reducing use of and reusing these materials where possible is one way to cut down on their impact.
“With a rapidly filling landfill, diversion is our number one goal here at the County’s Solid Waste Center. A diversion rate of 38% is a good start, but there is more to be done. We will continue to look for more and more diversion opportunities,” said Hall.
For more information on the Pitkin County Solid Waste Center visit www.LandfillRules.com or call 970-429-2880.