Ask Eartha: The skinny on waste disposal |

Ask Eartha: The skinny on waste disposal

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Thomas, but the days of free trash are over (not that free trash has ever been a reality). While free-trash day was convenient for some, it was a nightmare for others. Many took advantage of this program, a program that encouraged wasting and provided the illusion that wasting is free. Did you know the average American disposes of 4.4 pounds of trash per day? Here in Summit County, we are among the fortunate few communities in America that have year-round collection programs for traditional and nontraditional recyclables. For a fee, residents can dispose of household hazardous waste (like paint, pesticides, and other toxic household materials), E-waste (toxic electronics, like computers, TVs and monitors), slash and wood waste, at the Summit County Resource Allocation Park. Take that, 4.4 pounds! If you haven’t had the chance to check out the Summit County Resource Allocation Park (SCRAP), located off Highway 6 near Keystone on Landfill Road, now’s your chance. From scrap metal and appliances to wood slash and computers, to the tiny pile of trash you have left after cleaning your garage, all of it can be disposed of here (for a fee)- year-round. As for your traditional recyclables like mixed metals and aluminum cans, #1 & #2 plastic bottles and jugs, mixed paper, cardboard, paperboard, brown and colored glass, those can all still be recycled for free at one of the three drop-off centers in Summit County. For guidelines and directions, visit Now that you have the skinny on how and where to dispose of your discards, here’s the scoop on Countywide Clean-Up Day. While free trash day is a thing of the past, Countywide Clean-up Day is a town tradition worth hanging on to. Countywide Clean-Up Day in Breckenridge, Dillon, Silverthorne, and Frisco begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Visit your town’s website for locations and more details. (See PAGE 5). This event is a great opportunity to give your community a beauty boost and meet and greet with neighbors and friends. Post clean up, each town is hosting a free zero-waste picnic for volunteers. In 2009, the zero-waste picnics averaged a 79 diversion rate, meaning that only 21 percent of all the waste generated at the picnics ended up at the landfill. In addition to tasty food and very little waste, all volunteers will receive a small bag of free wildflower seeds. Visit your town website for more details. Here in Summit County, we have so many options to responsibly dispose of or recycle those strange materials that accumulate in our homes or garages. And there’s no reason to wait until spring to clear out your clutter. For more information on any of the recycling programs listed above, please call the High Country Conservation Center at 668-5703, where our recycling geeks or divas can get you the info you need.And remember, after you’ve cleaned out your garage or yard, be sure to grab a bag and volunteer to clean up your community. There’s a lot of orphaned trash under that seemingly ever-present snow that needs some attention. Eartha Steward is written by Jennifer Santry and Erin Makowsky, consultants on all things eco and chic at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation in our mountain community. Eartha believes that you can walk gently on our planet, even if you’re wearing stylish shoes.Submit questions to Eartha at or to High Country Conservation Center, PO Box 4506, Frisco, CO 80443.

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