Single-stream recycling is coming to Durango on Feb. 1, the citys sustainability coordinator told a Green Business Roundtable lunch crowd of 60 on Wednesday.
Its not fancy, but it allows us to combine the majority of recyclable items in one bin, Mary Beth Miles said. It reduces waste going to landfills and saves energy.
Instead of separate bins for separate products, almost everything can be dropped into a 60- or 90-gallon bin. The ease of disposal will require a new bin to allow automated instead of manual manipulation of containers.
Customers must request a new bin, Miles said. They also will see a rate increase of $3 per month.
Among items accepted in single-stream recycling are newspapers, magazines and catalogs; mixed paper, paperboard and paper bags; corrugated cardboard and carton; telephone and paperback books; aluminum and steel cans; foil, plastic bottle caps, canning lids and pie plates.
The acceptance of plastic items, numbers 1 through 7, is a big advance. The city now collects only numbers 1 and 2, and Durango Natural Foods accepts No. 5 to resell.
Unacceptable in single stream are glass bottles and jars, kitchen garbage, plastic bags and film, and styrofoam. Glass disposal is the responsibility of the discarder.
Additionally, disposable utensils and plates, Pyrex, ceramics, yard waste, garden hoses, light bulbs, electronics and used clothing cant enter single-stream collection.
Baled waste will be sold to the highest bidder, Miles said. Potential buyers have been identified in Denver, Phoenix and California.
Adherence to disposal guidelines is important, Miles said, because companies that buy baled waste wont accept more than 4 percent contamination.
Glass can be dropped at numerous locations such as the markets and liquor stores where Dumpsters are located now, or at the recycling center, Miles said.
Recycling glass to make new glass is the highest and best use of the resource, Miles said.
When glass is collected along with other waste, 30 percent ends up as new glass, Miles said. When glass is collected separately, 98 percent becomes new glass.
Its estimated that single-stream recycling will increase the amount of material recycled by 30 percent, Miles said. This is the equivalent of what 5,500 average Americans or 7,300 Durango residents throw away in a year.
Greenhouse-gas emissions will be reduced by an amount equal to the emissions of 2,229 passenger vehicles, Miles said.
Commercial customers will have three bins instead of five under the new recycling program.
Miles said a program for compostable items is in the future.
The city wants to expand the size of the recycling center to 11,000 square feet from 7,420. The makeover will cost an estimated $1.6 million. When this will happen is uncertain.