For city of Durango residents committed to recycling their glass, plastic, cardboard, aluminum and paper, doing so requires a bit of work. In order to be eligible for pickup, these materials must be separated according to type and set out in bins uncontaminated with members of another recycling class. Plastics are limited to types 1 and 2, noncorrugated cardboard is unwelcome and mixing cans with paper is a no-no.
All that is about to change for a better and broader recycling program.
The citys investment in a single-stream system will transition curbside pickup from a siloed approach to that of a melting pot, and in the process expand the list of materials accepted. This includes five more types of plastic, as well as more varieties of cardboard.
All of these materials will be able to mingle in the same receptacle, making sorting a thing of the past, and collecting recyclables easier for city workers. That should encourage those who currently cannot be bothered with the chore of sorting to take up recycling. In doing so, residents can lighten their burden on the landfill with relatively little pain. It is a wise investment on the citys part.
Recycling in Durango for many years has been more limited and more contentious than is ideal. The regions remote location makes selling and transporting recyclables to locations where they can be reincarnated to new containers or materials cost-prohibitive for many items. As such, the program must be limited to those categories that are readily marketable a universe that has been relatively small.
Given those tight markets, residents have been held to a rigorous sorting standard that can be a deterrent to the recycling skeptics among us.
By investing in a system that bundles together recyclables for their trip to larger markets, the city makes the effort required of residents far lower than its current level. While glass no longer will be picked up curbside, the expanded list of accepted items outweighs that inconvenience.
The citys recycling program has outgrown its capacity to process the materials, and with the single-stream system as well as other renovations at the recycling center which, taken together, total $1.6 million that capacity problem is addressed and improved. That approach speaks well of the citys handling of problems and responsiveness to community concerns.
The bottom line on the single-stream recycling system is a positive one: Residents are encouraged to recycle, thereby easing pressure on the landfill and generally lightening their environmental footprint all with less hassle.
The city is investing a relatively small sum for a significant return, both in terms of dollars and political capital. Countless containers and cardboard products that previously were denied a second chance at life now will extend their value and therefore lessen the communitys unnecessary consumption. We look forward to the change.