Summit County preps for new Silverthorne recycling center; Dillon considers moratorium |

Summit County preps for new Silverthorne recycling center; Dillon considers moratorium

The new recycling containers provided by Summit County outside of Dillon Town Hall. The town will consider temporarily or permanently closing the site once the county opens its new recycling facility in Silverthorne.
Sawyer D’Argonne /

DILLON — Dillon has made progress in handling some of the town’s recycling woes since this summer, though other solutions are in the works that potentially could change the way community members recycle in the north end of the county.

Dillon Town Hall offers one of just a few sites in the county for residents and visitors to drop of their recycling, though the site became a major issue this spring and summer with people dumping garbage in the parking lot and contaminating the bins with items that are not recyclable.

In September, the town of Dillon asked Summit County for help dealing with the problem.

“We reached out to the county, and basically we were being overwhelmed with our resources,” Dillon Marketing and Communications Manager Kerstin Anderson said. “They’ve been great and supportive in recognizing we had a need here.”

Before the county stepped in, Dillon was operating a 2-yard container used to recycle plastics, tin, aluminum and glass all in the same receptacle, along with a small, separate container for cardboard.

With the county’s help, the site has been upgraded to a 4-yard, single-stream container for recycling No. 1 and No. 2 plastics, tin, paper, magazines and more, along with another 4-yard container for cardboard, paperboard and brown bags. There is also a separate container for glass jars and bottles on-site.

While the additional resources certainly have made a difference, Anderson noted that the site is still dealing with contamination and people dumping.

“Overall, we’re really pleased,” Anderson said. “We’re definitely not seeing people unable to put stuff in the container, and just leaving it on the ground. What is still somewhat frustrating as someone passionate about recycling right is the contamination with people putting their recycling in a plastic bag or contaminating the bins with things that are plainly not able to be recycled.

“And you know it has to be hauled away at some point. So if those roll-offs aren’t there, people need to hold onto their recycling until they’re returned and not just leave their stuff, which causes litter and trash, and isn’t good for people driving through the parking lot or for our wildlife.”

Piles of garbage dumped outside Dillon’s recycling bin earlier this year.
Courtesy Kelly Russo / town of Dillon

But as Dillon continues with efforts to educate community members and visitors on proper recycling, other solutions are already in the works to improve operations on the north side of the county.

Summit County is planning on opening a new recycling facility in Silverthorne. Assistant County Manager Bentley Henderson said the tentative location is about a half-acre site owned by Denver Water to the northwest of the softball fields and south of the outlets. There is no timeline for opening the facility, though some details of the project have been announced.

Henderson said the county anticipates 13 separate containers in the new facility to source recyclables, including individual containers for glass, batteries and compostable materials. The facility is expected to run a 24/7 operation with staff from the county’s landfill providing monitoring.

“We’re trying to offer a convenient location for recycling on the northern end of the county,” Henderson said. “This is a Strong Future initiative, and we want to make sure everybody knows we’re trying to utilize the revenues we’re realizing from the 1A fund — that we’re taking full advantage of that and trying to facilitate an expansion of the recycling program.”

The arrival of the new site could mean major changes to recycling operations in the county, including a temporary moratorium or the permanent closure of Dillon’s Town Hall facility.

At a Dillon Town Council meeting earlier this month, council members discussed the possibility of temporarily or permanently closing their facility in order to try and adjust resident behavior and push people to the new Silverthorne facility once it’s open.

“We did have a preliminary discussion with council on if we leave it open, close it over a period of time to let people adjust to the new site and get in the habit of bringing their stuff there, or discontinue it altogether,” Anderson said. “The town has funded recycling for Dillon resident and businesses, and without another location on this side of town we are seeing use from surrounding areas who find it more convenient to come here than other locations. With a new site funded through 1A, and that has far greater capacity, we’d like for people to go there primarily for their recycling needs.”

Anderson noted that the town hasn’t come to any decisions yet, and is waiting for more solid information on the new Silverthorne facility. For now, operations at Dillon’s facility are business as usual.

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