Time to kick your yogurt container to the curb?

Durango to accept more plastics under new program – with tradeoffs

Consumers could take their old yogurt containers to the curb by next spring.

The city of Durango plans to expand its recycling with a new single-stream program, which would accept seven different kinds of plastic. It currently accepts only Plastics 1 and 2 bottles and jugs.

Single-stream would also allow consumers to mix all of their recyclable materials together instead of having to sort materials, but the city would still expect residents to rinse them before pick-up.

The catch, however, is that city residents could be charged a new $3 monthly fee for the curbside pickup, but the city council on Tuesday did not make any decisions or recommendations, preferring more analysis of the anticipated costs.

Another downside is that Durango could no longer accept glass at the curb. So it would have to develop more drop-off spots for glass.

Mayor Doug Lyon wondered if there would be some labor savings because staff members would have to do less sorting.

Because single-stream is also supposed to make it easier for the city to commodify or sell its recycled materials, the city should also be able to reduce the load it takes to the landfill and ultimately pass the savings on to the consumer, said City Manager Ron LeBlanc in an interview.

Currently, it’s $13 dollars a month for a 60-gallon container.

But the city won’t be able to pass the savings on to the consumer for at least a year so the city can have time to evaluate the impact, LeBlanc said.

“We have to see how many people will participate and how dedicated they are to the single stream,” LeBlanc said.

The city manager prefers to make the program voluntary rather than impose the fee on everybody.

Lyon said it was ironic that the city would consider discouraging the use of paper grocery bags with a 10-cent fee because the single-stream program could accept paper bags at the curb.

He wondered how people transport their recycled materials from the kitchen to the container.

To promote the new recycling program, the city will put single-stream bins out this weekend during the USA Pro Cycling Challenge activities.

jhaug@durangoherald.com

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