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One man brings recycling to the Pine River Valley

TDL Recycling changes services for future expansion
Antwan Whitehead, TDL Recycling owner, drives his recycling rig while on a curbside pickup route in Bayfield on Dec. 16. TDL Recycling is the only operator in the Pine River Valley, and Whitehead is its sole employee.

BAYFIELD – One man has single-handedly provided recycling services for the Pine River Valley since 2018, and now he is looking for ways to expand his services.

Antwan Whitehead, owner of TDL Recycling in Bayfield, offers the primary curbside recycling service operating in the Pine River Valley for more than 2,100 commercial and residential customers. He drives routes and runs the business by himself. However, he has plans in the works for another employee, more pickup routes and even a potential recycling facility in Bayfield.

“It’s been different. It’s been challenging, and it’s been rewarding all at the same time,” Whitehead said.

TDL Recycling offers opt-in curbside recycling and glass pickup for residences and businesses in Bayfield, Ignacio, Oxford and some areas of unincorporated La Plata County. Waste Management also offers curbside recycling; however, very few residents in the area have accounts with the company, according to a customer service representative.

Without TDL Recycling, Bayfield and Ignacio community members would not have a recycling service because no other company offers curbside pickup in the valley.

“From the town’s perspective, it’s a win-win. People are able to opt-in, if they so choose, to get curbside recycling weekly,” said Chris La May, Bayfield town manager.

Whitehead recently spoke at Ignacio and Bayfield town board meetings about adding new cart size options and changing the pricing structure in preparation for future expansion. Ignacio approved the changes, $6 for a 35-gallon recycling bin, $8 for 64 gallons and $12 for 96 gallons, plus administrative fees. The Bayfield board will consider the contract amendments early in 2020.

So far in Bayfield, 254 of 990 households with garbage accounts also recycle with TDL. In Ignacio, 33 out of 450 household garbage accounts also recycle with TDL. That doesn’t include businesses, Oxford or unincorporated areas.

Whitehead said he works from “sun-up to sun-down” running routes, delivering recyclables to the facility in Durango, and managing the business.

“My mindset is just simply that there is no one else to do it,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me that much.”

The new business has experienced some growing pains. In Bayfield and Ignacio, some customers received large, 96-gallon recycling bins while others received small, 35-gallon bins, both for the same rate, La May said.

In Ignacio, setting up customer billing was a challenge that Whitehead worked to overcome, said Tuggy Dunton, Ignacio town clerk.

Overall, Whitehead has big plans for the future. He plans to fill service gaps, like the Vallecito area. He also would like to open a recycling facility in Bayfield that could process glass and bulk cardboard, as well as sort and bail recycled products.

He began recycling services to benefit the environment, and his focus has always been on the community.

“It starts here. We can’t take care of the world if we don’t start where we are,” he said.

smullane@durangoherald.conm

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