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Plastic, aluminum awaiting pickup

Curbside recycling to begin Monday in city

Aluminum pie tins, toilet paper rolls and all kinds of plastic packaging have been accumulating for weeks at the homes of obsessive recyclers, but relief is in sight.

Durango’s new single-stream recycling system is set to begin Monday with curbside pickup.

Anticipation has been building since the city started delivering the new 60- and 90-gallon containers in mid-January.

“By the time collection begins, (some residents) will have had their containers for two weeks,” said Mary Beth Miles, the city’s sustainability coordinator. “They will likely have lots of items stacked up in there.

“We’ve had a lot of residents say, ‘Wow, we didn’t know we would be able to recycle this much,’” she said.

City Councilor Sweetie Marbury said she has so many recyclables that she can’t squeeze them all into her 60-gallon container. She will have to wait for the following week to put the rest out.

“The city has made it so easy to recycle,” Marbury said. “I’m in heaven.”

With single stream, the city will be able to take more kinds of cardboard as well as plastic types 1-7, which includes yogurt and pet-food containers and the clear plastic packaging for a wall charger. Glass, however, can’t be included because it could shatter and contaminate the other recyclables.

In anticipation of single stream, Marbury has gotten in the habit of looking at the bottom of plastic to see what number it is. On Thursday, she brought home her plastic cup for iced tea from a Kiwanis Club meeting so she could recycle it.

The community’s response to the single-stream program has been “fabulous,” Miles said.

Residents have requested all of the 2,000 containers the city initially ordered. As of Thursday, 12 people were on a waiting list for the next batch of containers, which the city expects to deliver in March.

Of the initial 2,000, the city still had 400 containers to distribute as of Thursday. All containers are expected to be delivered by Saturday.

Whether they have a container or not, all city households will be charged a $3 monthly fee for the single-stream service beginning in March, but residents won’t be charged until April because bills are for the previous month’s service.

County residents and people who take their recyclables to the Durango Recycling Center on Tech Drive will be charged a $1 fee once improvements to the facility are completed later this spring.

The current drop-off sites in town – north City Market, Wagon Wheel Liquors and the Fort Lewis College physical plant – will stay in place until May or June, or whenever the improvements are completed at the Recycling Center.

During the transition, the city will put out single-stream containers at the drop-off sites so residents won’t have to sort their materials except for glass. Eventually, however, these drop-off sites will accept only glass to encourage people to use curbside recycling or to take their material to the Recycling Center.

jhaug@durangoherald.com

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