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Posted on: June 15, 2020

Cardboard Recycling No Longer Accepted at Rio Grande Recycle Center Starting July 1

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Cardboard Recycling No Longer Accepted at Rio Grande Recycle Center Starting July 1

The City of Aspen’s Rio Grande Recycle Center will no longer accept cardboard recycling starting July 1 due to budget cuts made in May.  The cuts were necessitated by revenue deficits in the City due to COVID-19.  

The change in policy however does not mean that individuals and businesses cannot recycle cardboard.  Residents with trash service are already paying for recycling services and cardboard can be recycled curbside.  Residents and businesses can bring cardboard and other recyclable materials to the Pitkin County Solid Waste Center free of charge.  Businesses can also add cardboard recycling services to their waste services.

The Council first discussed the elimination of this program on May 4 at a work session on the 2020 revised budget.  Every department in the City had difficult decisions to make regarding budget cuts and of a suite of cuts presented, this policy change was preferred because it had the least amount of impact for the community compared to other possible cuts since businesses and residents do have alternative options for recycling.

“Although the City recognizes this is a big change, our hope is that converting to curbside collection will be much more convenient than coming to the center to recycle cardboard. We encourage everyone to continue to reduce, reuse, and then recycle as part of our community’s environmental stewardship,” said Liz Chapman, Senior Waste Reduction and Environmental Health Specialist.

Signs will be posted at the Rio Grande Recycle Center beginning June 15 informing residents and businesses about the July 1 change.

Cardboard recycling drop-off at the Center was projected to cost as much as $150,000 in 2020, which represents 50-60% of the ongoing operations budget for the Center.

“Cardboard is an expensive commodity to recycle for several reasons including the distance it must travel to be recycled and the fuel costs to get it there.  Other commodities such as compost only travel a few miles to be processed at the landfill or are picked up at a much lower cost than cardboard due to their market value and proximity to markets,” said CJ Oliver, Environmental Health and Sustainability Director.  “Decisions like these are tough for everyone -staff, Council, and the community – but we are encouraged that there are several other options for the public to continue to recycle their cardboard.”

The City is asking businesses and residents who typically use the Rio Grande Recycle Center to begin to make other plans for their cardboard.  There are penalties and fees in the City of Aspen for dumping cardboard in private dumpsters or for dumping trash at the Center, which is monitored by security cameras.  

The Rio Grande Recycle Center will continue to recycle metal, glass, yard waste and batteries.  Textile recycling is temporarily on hold due to COVID-19 risks.

Waste hauler contacts for those needing to add cardboard or trash services are as follows:
Residential – www.cityofaspen.com/387/Waste-Haulers
Businesses – Mountain Waste and Recycling, 970-963-3435 or doug.goldsmith@mountainwaste.com or Waste Management, 970-531-8262 or dashinhurst@wm.com



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