Letter to the editor: I am not supportive of proposed pay-as-you-throw program | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: I am not supportive of proposed pay-as-you-throw program

Richard Mason

I am in full support of the High Country Conservation Center’s efforts around home-energy efficiency and building science. Its work in those areas is truly innovative, and it’s making a real difference for Summit County.

With that said, I believe the pay-as-you-throw program that is being proposed contains unworkable requirements and has not been completely thought through. Additionally, the program is being pushed by a Front Range consulting company using very unrealistic cost estimates and success criteria.

I attended the conservation center’s informational call in January, and my impressions are outlined below after doing my own research:

  • All trash service providers will be mandated to provide recycling pickups for all of their customers. Do you really want to manage even more cans?
  • My current provider, locally owned and operated Summit VIP, would be driven out of business. It tried offering recycling in the past but couldn’t make it work financially. Using only a single, small compacting truck (it’s cute and efficient), there is no way it could segregate material.
  • The number of routes and trash pickups would double, leaving more black-smoke belching diesel trucks on the road.
  • Trash service costs would double. I found examples in Pitkin County where rates increased 108%.
  • What about the bears? I’ve invested $800 in bear-proof trash cans, but I’ve never seen a bear-proof recycling cans.
  • Summit County’s recycling contamination rate of over 30% would skyrocket. Vacationing guests either don’t know how or they don’t care about recycling. Shouldn’t we focus on education instead?
  • The much-loved recycling centers that the county currently operates would close. Pitkin County faced this very issue as the costs involved in operating its centers could not be justified due to curbside recycling pickup.

Because of these issues, I would not be in favor of the pay-as-you-throw program.

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