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ALERT: What’s happening to the Green Machines at Safeway

As published from the Yampa Valley Voice (May 2014)
For nearly ten years, the Safeway Green Machines, two 20-yard free recycling containers coordinated by Yampa Valley Recycling (YVR), funded by Routt County, and serviced by Waste Management, have been a viable solution for those who had no other way to recycle.

However in the last year, this once-tidy drop-off location has been growing into an eye sore – with increasing yards and yards of recycling overflow sitting next to the containers every Sunday.  Through a survey done by the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s YVR committee in early 2013, our results showed that no longer were these containers being used by people without recycling options (as originally intended)– other options include visiting the Waste Management site on Downhill Drive during the week prior to 4pm, signing up for residential curbside recycling service, or multi-unit housing dumpster service. The Green Machines were set up for those without residential curbside service, whose condos didn’t have recycling dumpsters, or who worked between the hours of 8 am and 4 pm when Waste Management was open.  The surveyed revealed that a majority of people frequenting the Green Machines were using them for convenience or because they didn’t want to pay for curbside trash and recycling services.

Then, in January of 2014, Waste Management starting charging a nominal $5 fee for dropping off recycling at their Downhill Drive location (for up to 96 gallons, and even slightly more).  Subsequently the already increasing problem at Safeway was exacerbated. YVR contracted for another dumpster for cardboard only to be supplied by Waste Management.  Immediately this dumpster also proved not enough.

Since early 2013 YVSC, Routt County Environmental Health, and the City of Steamboat have been fielding an ever-increasing number of complaints and suggestions on how to deal with this problem.  The YVR Committee, with representatives from both the City and County, has been discussing this issue, evaluating these suggestions and trying to determine the best plan of action for the Safeway Green Machines.

To this end, the current Green Machines are being removed from the Safeway parking lot starting May 10th and an alternative option is being provided in their place by Twin Enviro Services, on Saturdays only.  Starting May 10th, Twin Enviro will provide single-stream recycling for paper and paperboard, 1-7 plastics, and aluminum.  Additional dumpsters will be provided for the collection of glass and cardboard, separately.  The recycling drop-off will be attended by a Twin-Enviro staff member who can help answer questions and direct people to the correct dumpster for recycling.  The times of this service have yet to be determined at press time, but the YVR Committee will provide more information through multiple media streams as well as on the YVSC website prior to this deadline.  (www.yvsc.org)

In addition, this solution is temporary. Due to recent changes in the City of Steamboat’s Planning Department definitions for a Recycling Center, the Safeway location will no longer be viable as of October, 2014.  Therefore the YVR Committee is working overtime to find a permanent solution because the ultimate goal, and the mission of YVR, is to have recycling provided for everyone who wants and needs it, and to divert as much as possible from the landfill.

In the meantime, for those of you who use the Green Machines, if you are in Oak Creek or Yampa, those services will continue.  If you currently use the Safeway location on Fridays, please take your recycling to Waste Management or sign up for curbside recycling.  If you use the Safeway location on Saturdays, you will still be able to do so, free of charge (for now). If your only option is to use the Safeway location on Sundays, you will have to modify your recycling to do one of the above.

Unfortunately, we must add that this is a probationary situation.  If any waste is left on Fridays or Sundays – when there is no administered dumpster present, this temporary option is at risk of termination. Please do not litter on this private property; Safeway has been generous to Steamboat residents by providing this location, free of charge, for many years, and we thank them for that.

Waste Management has been a partner with YVR for over 15 years.  Without their support and dedication to recycling in our community, we would not be where we are today.

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