An eye on trash |

An eye on trash

by Jane Stebbins

BRECKENRIDGE – The town of Breckenridge soon will have an eye on store and restaurant employees who fail to properly dispose of garbage and recyclables.

According to town public works director Terry Perkins, nine cameras will be installed inside town-owned Dumpster enclosures to deter restaurant and shop workers from not segregating trash and recyclables or, in other cases, from leaving bags of trash outside the trash compactors.

It’s not the first challenge town officials have had with Dumpster users. Before 1992, scores of Dumpsters lined the alleys behind stores throughout town, making it difficult for people to park. Many believed the Dumpsters were an eyesore, Perkins said. Another concern was trash blowing around, particularly on windy days or after busy weekends when Dumpsters were overfilled.

“Other communities have the same concern,” Perkins said. “Everything has been built on zero-lot lines (right up to the property line) and the Dumpsters were just so darn ugly.”

Town public works employees decided to eliminate all those Dumpsters, but in turn built central facilities for users. The first such facility was built near the Icehouse parking lot, in the alley behind Downstairs at Eric’s, the Horseshoe II, St. Bernard and other high trash-generating businesses.

In the alley between Main and Ridge streets where 20 Dumpsters served the various businesses, there now is one facility to serve all. In the alley behind the 200 block of South Main , there used to be 14; now there is one. Likewise, there is one in the 300 block behind the U.S. Post Office and Food Kingdom where once there were 16.

With the new facilities, a store or restaurant owner obtains a key and authorized employees are permitted to use it to dump the business’ trash. The key opens a garage door and the employee has three minutes in which to place trash in the compactor and recyclables in their correct bin before the door closes. Having the trash and recyclables contained in a building also eliminated blowing trash and has cut down on the number of citizens illegally using the Dumpsters.

While that solved concerns about aesthetics, freed up parking for employees and customers and saved time for Waste Management employees, the problems aren’t completely resolved, Perkins said.

“There are continued problems where people cannot seem to sort their garbage into the garbage receptacles and recyclables into recyclables,” he said.

Hence, the cameras.

The cameras, which range in price from $99 to $169, will catch on tape those who mix their trash with recyclables or merely place bags of trash next to the compactor. Perkins hopes to have them installed by Aug. 1.

“We have a town ordinance that says people are responsible for putting trash in the proper container,” Perkins said. “We’re merely monitoring the use. If you’re causing the impact, you should pay the fee to clean it up.”

Even if the camera fails to catch a violator on tape, there are ways town officials can tell where the trash originated, including receipts and cardboard boxes affixed with labels identifying stores and restaurants.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or

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