Eagle recycling explained
EAGLE, Colorado – When he watched his separated newspapers and plastic bottles get dumped into the back of a trash truck last week, Eagle resident Danny Johnson began to question if the new town of Eagle curbside recycling program is living up to its billing.
“All I know is what I saw. Why dump everything together if it has to be separated later? It seems like that would be a waste of time and money,” Johnson said.
But according to Matt Donovan, of Vail Honeywagon, Johnson’s worries that the recycling program is actually trashing collections are unfounded.
“In 30 years of operations we have never thrown recycling away in the landfill and we never will,” said Donovan.
Donovan noted that currently, Honeywagon collects enough recycled items for three or four semi-truckloads per week. Once the 110 cubic yard containers are filled, the company hauls the items to Denver. And yes, he noted, the once separated newspaper and co-mingled containers are shipped together.
At the large recycling center the company uses in Denver, there is a single-stream process that takes all co-mingled recycled materials. However, Eagle County is building its own recycling center at the landfill and plans a dual-stream process separating paper products from plastic, glass and metal. In preparation for the new facility, Donovan said Honeywagon distributed two separate recycling bins to customers so they could get used to separating their recyclables.
Donovan acknowledged that Johnson is not the first customer to question the system after seeing Honeywagon pick up recycling.
“It’s great the community is questioning us,” he said. “They are looking out their windows and watching us. That means they care.”
On April 1, the town of Eagle launched its curbside recycling program. Vail Honeywagon now provides all trash collection services in the town. Every other week, on the same day that trash is collected, residents can place their two recycling containers at the curbside for collection. The new agreement increased Eagle residents’ trash bills from $18 to $22.75 per month for the expanded service.
Donovan notes that Vail Honeywagon does use some rear-loading trash trucks to pick up recycling when its designated recycling trucks are down for repairs or when the company has a large volume of routes to service. But, he stressed, don’t judge the service by the truck.
Donovan added that people who see Honeywagon recycling trucks exit Interstate 70 at Wolcott get suspicious about where the load is headed. It’s not going to the landfill, he said, but rather to the Vail Honeywagon site located next to the facility. At the Wolcott site, the company stores recyclables until a full-semi load is ready to go to Denver.
Participants attached protest signs to ski poles and hockey sticks in Vail Saturday at the 2020 Women’s March.