Local park’s ‘private’ trash can is anything but

A new sign on an Animas City Park trash can makes a dubious claim of private trash in a public place. Enlarge photo

Courtesy of Julie Cooley

A new sign on an Animas City Park trash can makes a dubious claim of private trash in a public place.

I noticed this sign has been added to the trash can at my neighborhood park on Bennett Street. Really, don’t we want the public to deposit trash? Animas High students are in the park weekdays. I think we need to give them clearer direction. – Julie Cooley

At first glace, this looks like an ominous instance of the city “privatizing” a public facility.

Which is nothing new. A couple years ago, Action Line took note of a sign on the southwest corner of the Durango School District 9-R Administration Building that said “private property – no trespassing.”

So we have spurious declarations on taxpayer-owned offices, and now private trash in a public park. What could be next on this slippery slope?

The city could condemn the Durango Community Recreation Center and convert it into an exclusive members-only health retreat.

Or we could pay off the Florida Road reconstruction bond by selling the street to investors who would install toll booths.

But that’s not going to happen.

The city attached the sign after numerous problems of folks dumping household trash.

It’s La Plata County’s worst-kept secret that many people dwelling outside the city try to save money by canceling their trash pickup. They then haul their garbage into town, dumping it in any available receptacle.

The only thing is that the people in the city pay for it. One person’s thrift is another person’s theft.

“It’s a big problem,” said one city worker who asked not to be named but who knows a lot about the situation.

The Animas City Park receptacle was always overflowing, so the city attached the sign, albeit a confusing one fraught with a dubious claim.

“We want the trash can to be for people in the park” and not a public Dumpster, the city worker said.

Perhaps the city sign shop could come up with something better, such as “Trash can is for park users only. No household trash.”

But if unscrupulous residents choose illegal dumping as their waste-management strategy, a new sign isn’t going to change things.

Bad behavior at the garbage pail will still be beyond the pale.

durango colorado

So now that the city has single-stream recycling, which is great, what are we supposed to do with the rectangular blue containers? Can the bins be recycled? – Curious

How ironic that Mrs. Action Line was wondering this very thing just a couple weeks ago.

And speaking of ironic, you’ll never believe this.

The old blue recycling bins? They are not recyclable!

There’s no triangle-number symbol on the bottom of the containers, a sign of nonrecyclability. A quick call to the city’s Garbage Collection and Recycling Services division confirmed it.

But that doesn’t mean you should be seeing red and singing the blues because recycling bins aren’t very green.

Quite to the contrary. The bins can serve as a handy, dandy container for glass, which the city no longer collects curbside.

Bin handles make it easy to tote your bottles to recycling stations, at north City Market, Wagon Wheel Liquor, the Fort Lewis College Physical Plant building and the Durango Tech Center recycling facility.

In June, more glass-recycling stations will be added.

If glass recycling is not your thing, you could always repurpose your bin into a garden planter.

After all, people use old toilets and worn-out tires as planters. Why not a raised bed of blue plastic?

The bins have predrilled drainage holes, and the “Durango Recycles” logo on the front will show your civic pride.

A planted blue bin would look wonderful flanked by garden gnomes, a ceramic donkey, some pink flamingos and one of those plywood statues of a woman bending over showing polka dot bloomers.

Consider this your Action Line horticultural hortative. Today, April 1, would be the ideal time to begin such a tasteful garden project.

Email questions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you take the sugar out of the salt shaker and remove the rubber band from the kitchen sink sprayer.