Community Agriculture Alliance: A new Routt County resource conservation tradition
Ranchers and farmers are the original zero wasters. They have known the value of saving old to make new since long before the three Rs became trendy in the 1970s. Reducing, reusing and recycling have been a ranching tradition for generations. Today, resourceful local ranchers commonly reuse, repurpose and recycle lumber, motor oil, baling wire, feed tubs, tires, tire rims, hub caps, pipes, railroad ties, horseshoes and so much more.
A new local tradition that is rooted in our community’s values and cultural heritage is Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s Recycling Drop-Off. Since 2010, the drop-off has become a ritual for residents to clean out the garage of electronics, appliances, bikes and more to make room for the current season’s gear — and conserve resources.
With 624 residents and 22 businesses taking advantage of YVSC’s one-stop drop last fall, it was clear that our community needed a second opportunity to do the right thing with hard-to-recycle materials. New this year, thanks to a Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity grant from the state of Colorado, YVSC is offering a spring recycling event May 12, in addition to our fall event.
Also new this year, YVSC will be utilizing the Meadows and Knoll parking lots to improve traffic flow and shorten wait times. Electronics will be collected in the Meadows Lot and all other items will be collected in the Knoll Lot, including yard waste, mattresses, batteries, lightbulbs, skis, bikes, books, appliances with and without Freon, clothing, shoes and more. No paint or household hazardous waste will be accepted Saturday at the spring event. However, residents can recycle paint year-round at Ace Hardware and Sherwin-Williams. Residents are encouraged to save their household hazardous waste for the fall drop-off.
The spring residential recycling drop-off hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Signs around both lots will direct recyclers where they need to go, but participants are highly-encouraged to visit yvsc.org/recyclingdropoff for complete event details including the full list of items collected, fees, payment methods accepted, a map of both lots and more. The maps are helpful in packing the car. If dropping off electronics last, load them in the car first.
YVSC will again be offering a commercial recycling drop-off immediately following the residential recycling event on May 12. Businesses must make an appointment for this service. Any business that arrives without an appointment will be turned away. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule.
Although the grant from the state helped YVSC launch the spring recycling drop-off with new infrastructure and signage, this community event takes significant time and resources to coordinate. Community financial support is even more important now to continue making recycling convenient and accessible for all of Routt County and fight climate change locally. Consider dropping some cash in the YVSC green boot as you leave the drop-off site Saturday to help ensure the continuation of this resource conservation and waste reduction tradition.
Cameron Hawkins is the waste diversion director for Yampa Valley Sustainability Council and Anne Mudgett is the communications and development director for the council.
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