Timberline Disposal again faces complaints, this time about trashing recyclables | SummitDaily.com

Timberline Disposal again faces complaints, this time about trashing recyclables

A Timberline Disposal truck picks up a trash bin along its route. Timberline Disposal is once again being hammered by complaints, with residents and businesses claiming the company has been dumping recyclables with trash.
Hugh Carey / hcarey@summitdaily.com

FRISCO — Another month, another round of customer complaints against Timberline Disposal, one of Summit County’s two major waste haulers. This time, customers are alleging that Timberline haulers have been dumping recyclables with their trash, defeating the effort to sort recyclables and making them wonder why they pay for Timberline’s recycling service.

High Country Conservation Center Director Jennifer Schenk said she was notified by several residents and businesses including Doug Pierce, the owner of Arapahoe Cafe in Dillon, that they had observed Timberline waste trucks picking up their recyclables and throwing them in the truck with regular trash. Schenk said the reports came from Breckenridge, Frisco and Dillon.

In two instances, customers were said to have asked the Timberline truck drivers why they were throwing recyclables away with trash, and the answer they got was that the company was short staffed and unable to run the regular recycling route. Schenk said the Conservation Center and the town of Breckenridge sent inquiries to Timberline demanding answers on why recyclables were being dumped.

“From (High Country Conservation Center’s) standpoint, we feel like when people see their recycling dumped into a trash truck, it undermines everything we’re trying to do in our community when it comes to the zero waste initiatives,” Schenk said. “It makes it seem like Timberline is working against us and the voters who passed the Stronger Future ballot initiative to fund recycling efforts. People lose confidence that recycling is actually getting recycled.”

As part of the Strong Future ballot initiative in 2018, Summit County voted to allocate $1.7 million in taxpayer funds annually for a decade toward improving the county’s recycling and diversion programs.

Rob Gillis, operations manager for Timberline, reached out to the Summit Daily News after hearing about the complaints. He said Timberline takes responsibility for the dumping of recyclables and has taken steps to rectify the problem. One of those steps was to dismiss the employee who had told customers that the recycling was being dumped because of staffing issues.

“We’re going to retrain our staff to make it clear that this is never acceptable to take trash and recycling on the same truck,” Gillis said, adding that the company does have a dual compartment truck that accepts recyclables and trash, but it did not appear to be the truck involved in the latest incidents. 

Gillis also said he was aware of the somewhat notorious reputation Timberline had acquired in Summit County over the past year, but the company was earnestly trying to rebuild customer trust.

“We’ve had issues at Timberline in the past because of what we used to do, but we are done messing around with employees who won’t cooperate with the culture change we’ve initiated,” Gillis said.

He added that Timberline will be running a recycling ad campaign to inform customers about how to properly recycle and to assure them that they are taking steps to rectify the problems they have had thus far.

“What we’re trying to emphasize is that even if we are shorthanded, it is never OK to give substandard service,” Gillis said. “The emphasis is that Timberline is owning the service issues and that we are doing our best and will fix them.”

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