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Durango gets set for single-stream recycling

Glass will be collected at 7 sites around city

Durango got a show-and-tell Wednesday as Councilor Sweetie Marbury held up a Cheerio’s cereal box and various kinds of plastic, such as take-out salad and produce containers, that can go into the city’s new single-stream recycling plan, set to begin the week of Feb. 4 with curbside pickup.

Councilor Christina Rinderle said Marbury should have brought old toilet paper rolls to demonstrate the comprehensiveness of the single-stream program, which is expected to fill residents’ 60 and 90 gallon containers on a weekly basis.

The public is urged to register at Durangorecycles.com or call 375-5004 for a new container. A new monthly recycling fee of $3 would go into effect in March pending the result of upcoming public hearings. The same fee covers either the 60- or 90-gallon container.

At an initial hearing Wednesday, the city got some skepticism about how much recyclables residents would actually produce and questions about whether the city would give a refund for the old recycle bins.

City Manager Ron LeBlanc said the city would not refund the old bins, but said they were recyclable as part of the new program.

Councilor Dick White said he would use his old bin to collect beer bottles because glass cannot put in the new single-stream containers with the rest of the recyclables. Crushed glass would contaminate the rest of the recyclables, which are compacted by a baler to be disassembled later at a receiving plant and sold on the market.

Residents will be asked to take their glass to seven collection sites across the city. The city has not yet designated all the glass-collection sites, but they are expected to be located at the city’s current drop-off sites for recyclables, such as north City Market, Wagon Wheel Liquors and the Recycle Center on Tech Drive. The city also expects to select additional sites near major retailers such as Walmart and Star Liquor.

To minimize conflicts with bears looking for food, the city of Durango recommends regular trash containers and recycling containers be placed out for collection no earlier than 6 a.m. the day of collection and removed from the right of way no later than 8 p.m. the same day.

In an interview, Joe Lewandowski, a public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, liked that the city was being proactive.

“We’re always asking people to take care of their trash, and it’s going to be a never-ending quest,” he said. The revised ordinance is “certainly a step in the right direction.”

Lewandowski also emailed the council Wednesday asking the city to take action to reduce food waste at construction sites because construction workers’ old pizza boxes and burger wrappers also have been attracting bears.

jhaug@durangoherald.com