SRP taking first steps toward building recycling facility
SUMMIT COUNTY – Ron Koback is frustrated. A contractor who works in both Summit and Eagle counties, Koback says he was startled to learn he couldn’t recycle construction lumber at the Summit County Landfill as he does in Eagle County.But if Summit Recycling Project (SRP) employees have their way, Koback’s frustrations will soon be a thing of the past. They plan to build a materials recycling facility at the Summit County landfill, which is operated by the county.”Environmental impact means a lot to people that live in this community,” said Koback, of the Avon-based RA Nelson & Associates. “Construction has an impact on the environment, and our company is dedicated to coming up with innovative ways to lessen that impact. Anything you can recycle and reuse – that’s the name of the game.”Koback wants to “get the ball rolling” in Summit County as it is in Eagle, creating a recycling program to cut down on construction waste.So does Kevin Berg. Berg, operations manager for the SRP, recently gained support from the county commissioners to build the $1.7 million facility. Plans call for it to be built at the Summit County Landfill.The building would house a baler, which the SRP doesn’t currently have, and that would save the SRP time and money, Berg said. That savings in time could allow the SRP to concentrate on other endeavors, such as curbside recycling.Currently, SRP must pay someone else to bale recyclable materials. Having the facility, Berg said, would remove that middle man and make Summit’s recycling process far more efficient. It also would allow the SRP to collect more material than it does now; limited space at the existing recycling centers puts a cap on how many recyclable items the group can collect.The $1.7 million figure sounds steep, but Berg said it’s a logical next move.”It’s a lot of money, but it’s what the county needs if they’re going to take a serious step toward diversion, especially with the amount of construction we have,” Berg said. “Or we can ignore it and just fill up our landfill sooner than we want to.”Among other things, the facility could enable the SRP to recycle some construction lumber, which could cut down on the amount of material going into the landfill.”Conservatively, 20 percent of what’s going in our landfill is wood, and that could be up to 50 percent,” Berg said. “It’s not compactible. Municipal trash -the stuff you and I throw away every day – they can squash. Wood, concrete, metal, they can’t do that.”As a result, construction waste takes up far more space than household trash.The SRP is a long way from getting its facility, however. While the county commissioners have endorsed the idea, they don’t have the money to build the facility. Neither does the SRP.”We have to come up with a capital campaign strategy,” Berg said. “But when you go for a grant, you need a letter of support from somebody to get the grant (in this case, the county commissioners). We need to try to get a feel for what grants are out there.”Meanwhile, the SRP plans to start chipping slash at the landfill.”We’re ready to do some scrap lumber recycling, “Berg said. “We want to start tackling that immediately. We just need a place to chip wood. All the wood waste is probably going to end up at Climax mine, where they’re reclaiming scarred land.”Landfill workers are already setting aside slash to be chipped and reused, according to Summit County public works director Jack Benson.Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at email@example.com
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