Recycling day a hit in Steamboat |

Recycling day a hit in Steamboat

Luke Graham
Len Cichon
Matt Stensland

— The cars seemingly never stopped Saturday during the annual Community Recycling Drop-Off Day.

There were trucks, cars packed floor to ceiling and moms in minivans fresh off morning soccer, and at one point, cars wrapped down Howelsen Parkway to Fifth and Yampa streets.

“It came out of a need here to recycle more efficiently,” said Sarah Jones, executive director of the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council. “Really anything that’s hard to recycle. Appliances, paint, oil, yard waste, skis, corks, bike tubes, lights, electronics — just about everything.”

Yampa Valley Recycles works with the Sustainability Council and more than a dozen sponsors to put on the event.

In its four years, it typically has seen more than 400 cars come through in the three-hour period.

In 2012, 425 cars dropped off recyclable materials, including more than 3,100 pounds of household hazardous waste.

“Years ago, we had a Yampa Valley Recycles meeting, and the idea was to create a one-day event where people could drop stuff off to recycle them,” said Emilie Rogers, an administrator with Yampa Valley Recycles. “It’s been consistent every year.”

Saturday showed just how valuable the event really is. In every sector of the parking lot at Howelsen Hill, there was a place for residents to get rid of hazardous and recyclable materials. It was a one-stop place for that fall cleaning out of a garage.

In one corner, there were places to drop off recyclables and skis. Next was a place for yard waste, and then one for hazardous liquids like paint and oil.

From there, people could recycle bike tubes, lights and electronics.

“Recycling has been in my core belief system since I was a really young person,” said Nancy Schwanke, owner of Light Works of Steamboat.

Light Works brought its bulb recycling machine, which takes old light bulbs and chews them up. It separates the glass and metal and stores the mercury.

“The biggest thing is we want to keep this stuff out of the landfill, said Schwanke’s son Dave.

Saturday’s event proved to be just as successful as in years past. In addition to more than 30 volunteers, Saturday’s numbers were impressive.

There were 461 cars that dropped off more than 3,800 pounds of household hazardous waste, 205 skis, 45 bikes, 30 yards of organic material, 30 yards of metal, 25 yards of Home Resource reusable items, 350 gallons of Styrofoam peanuts, 45 car batteries, 300 light tubes and 20 yards of cardboard.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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