Our view: Responsible recycling is societal obligation | SteamboatToday.com

Our view: Responsible recycling is societal obligation

If there was any doubt that Routt County residents are increasingly committed to recycling, it was erased last week by the record 624 households whose members waited patiently in their cars on a rainy September day to take advantage of Yampa Valley Sustainability Council's annual one-stop drop-off for various hard-to-recycle items.

The effort relied upon 97 volunteers who gave up a weekend day to pull it off. And we were stunned at the news that 40,000 pounds of electronics and 5,075 pounds of paint and wood stain were among the recyclables collected.

Did you know that you can unload your old skis (we know you're sentimentally attached to them) at the recycling drop-off? This year, 103 pairs were kept out of the landfill.

We think it says something about the fabric of our community that not just households, but increasingly, businesses here are engaging in recycling through the drop-off day. The number of households participating was up 10 percent over 2016, and for the first time this autumn, YVSC held a special recycling drop-off just for businesses and 22 took part.

We are aware that some of our readers are somewhat cynical about the efficacy of recycling. In part, because it's difficult to find a profit motive for certain recyclables, and because there is a carbon footprint tied to hauling recyclables to a sorting facility.

However, in some neighboring counties, where landfills are approaching capacity, there is more of a direct incentive to keep recyclables out of the stream of trash. The fact that the local landfill still has room to expand doesn't mean recycling isn't worthwhile here.

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And it's significant that Twin Enviro Services, based at the landfill outside Milner, operates its own materials recovery facility to sort recyclables.

We believe that consistent recycling of materials, from paper to aluminum, has become a societal obligation as global population growth puts more and more pressure on planet earth's natural resources.

In a similar vein, Steamboat Today reported Sept. 27 on a multi-county effort, funded by a grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, to learn more about what kinds of recyclables are being thrown out with the trash in Northwest Colorado comprising Routt, Eagle, Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.

The study literally involves digging through random bags of trash collected by local trash collection company Aces High and sorting out the various types of recyclables, from food waste, paper, cans bottles and plastic, for example, to determine what strategies are needed to reduce the solid waste going into landfills. The collected recyclables found in the trash represents data that will help local governments and nonprofits like YVSC target their efforts.

This effort, combined with record participation in the latest community recycling drop-off, indicates to us that we're getting better at recycling all the time.

At issue:  Routt County residents increase their commitment to conserving natural resources through recycling.

Our view: We value local efforts, including those of the nonprofit Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, that are being made to help our community to mitigate its impacts on the natural world.

Editorial Board
• Suzanne Schlicht, COO and publisher
• Lisa Schlichtman, editor
• Tom Ross, reporter
• Beth Melton, community representative
• Bob Weiss, community representative
Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com.