Summit Daily letters: Readers react to Summit County recycling cuts
November 19, 2016
I am deeply concerned by hearing the recent news about the possible loss of our recycling options here in Summit County. Instead of progressing forward with greener initiatives, instead of working towards more recycling options, we may soon be forced to move backwards and start throwing everything away. Instead of the focus being on doing what's right and good for our community, it's all coming down to money. The company that currently hauls our waste has decided to consolidate their operations and haul our waste to Silver Plume, instead of locally to the facility in Keystone, causing our center to lose out on all of those funds it was previously bringing in. The lack of incoming funds will cause closures of our recycling centers and loss of job opportunities. Those funds should remain in our community, not be sent off to another town like yesterday's trash. We can't let a private company's profit margins jeopardize our access to recycling, jobs and growth in our own community.
Recycling shouldn't be a privilege — it should be our right. It is bad enough that some people are too lazy or just don't care enough to recycle, but for those of us who genuinely care about the environment and the future of our shared planet, we should have the opportunity to recycle as much as we desire. In a world where many things feel like they are out of our power, like we are helpless to make a difference, recycling is one thing that I personally take pride in and it allows me feel like I am at least doing my part and making a small, but impactful difference.
Why don't we all take a look at San Francisco, one of the most progressive recycling and waste-conscious cities in the world? Every home is required to have three 'waste' containers; a co-mingle recycling bin, trash bin and compost bin. The trash bin is the smallest, the recycling bin takes anything bearing the recycling arrows and most other things can go into the compost. There is very little actual waste. The city's goal is to be completely zero waste by 2020, imagine that! Here in Summit County, we are already very limited as to what we can recycle, with most facilities only accepting 1 and 2 plastics. Now we might have to give up the limited options we do have?
I am asking my fellow citizens to take a stand and not let our right to recycle slip away. The landfill will soon start piling up twice as fast and our consciences will become weighed down by our heavy carbon footprints.
I urge you to write to your commissioners and local town councils to find a way to prevent the closings of our recycling centers — encourage a local hearing where our voices can be heard. Call your current waste and recycling haulers to find out where your trash is going and immediately switch to local providers who keep the funds here in the community instead of taking it somewhere else. Make a donation to the High Country Conservation Center if you can so they can continue to spread the word about this issue and other recycling efforts. Maybe it's time we allot additional tax dollars to work towards becoming a more earth-friendly county. How about we ask our local ski resorts to help us with the cause?
Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reusing items rather than harvesting virgin materials and producing new ones. It also cuts down on methane emissions that are given off at the landfills. By hauling waste further than it needs to go, we are also wasting fuel and producing even more pollution and greenhouse gases during its transportation. We need to keep our waste and recycling local! Waste is considered a utility and the fees collected from this utility support local infrastructure and other community related programs, it creates jobs!
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We live in a particularly sensitive environment here in Summit County, where our outdoor playgrounds and backyards are also our livelihoods. Don't we owe it to ourselves to do everything we can to keep it pristine and clean for many more years to come, for our kids and grandkids to enjoy the same way we do? Climate change is real — average temperatures continue to rise each year and that is directly correlated to greenhouse gas emissions. Save our snow! Let's move forward and become an example, like San Francisco. Who says we can't be the model community?
Let your voice be heard and please take action on this very important issue before it's too late. Remember, recycling is our right!
The potential end to recycling in Summit would sadly end the enviable position this county holds. As a resort community, we have the chance to continue to lead by example and continue our robust and hard-fought efforts to divert much waste from the landfill. That is a tough order to fill in a county that attracts so many visitors.
I agree wholeheartedly with the High Country Conservation Center that we as a community need to take control of our waste as it affects private citizens, businesses and the stated goals that Summit County has to reduce GHG emissions.
Now is the chance to galvanize the citizens to take action and most notably to let Timberline know how much we appreciate the job they do and that we would like that to continue by taking the waste they profit on to SCRAP. Allow the county to continue its tremendous drop-off site and education initiatives.
They have a great opportunity to step back and realize the many stakeholders that are affected by the waste they profit on, leaving the county. Let us professionally, but very persuasively, let them know that corporate America is moving toward more responsible corporate stakeholder governance and they could be a leader in this community.
Thank you for your consideration and to the extent that I can be involved in any way to get this issue resolved, please let me know.
We can all agree we live in one of the most precious and pristine places on earth. The scenery, clean water, fresh air, access to wilderness and amazing night sky are priceless here! Please join me in asking our town representatives, the county commissioners and the waste providers to adopt an ordinance for flow control to keep our state-of-the-art landfill and recycling programs in full swing. Our landfill is a benefit to our quality of life, as well as our pocketbooks.
Let's be the community that other communities in Colorado and beyond look to for smart, inspired, forward thinking approaches and successful tactics to keep America and especially our backyard beautiful. For more information, please go to High Country Conservation Center's website. Thank you so much for your support.
Alpine Earth Gardens
High Country Conservation Center Board Member
Resident of beautiful Silverthorne for 35 years
We always hear "support your local businesses." Well, man- and woman-up locals by telling Timberline to pound sand and go with a hauler that uses the Summit County landfill. The revenues with this change will stay in the county and should avoid closing the recycle drop-off centers and keep the landfill running efficiently.
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