Walking Mountains tours help public understand proper recycling practices (video) | VailDaily.com

Walking Mountains tours help public understand proper recycling practices (video)

Ever wonder what happens to all those cans, bottles and newspapers after they leave your curb? They take an amazing journey to the Eagle County Solid Waste and Recycling Department. Once you see where this trash goes, you may be inspired to do a better job of preparing your trash and recyclables each week.

High above Wolcott, CO, the Eagle County Solid Waste and Recycling Department is bustling with activity. Open six days a week, this facility provides waste disposal services to the public in the most cost effective and environmentally sound manner.

Several times a year, Walking Mountains teams up with the county to offer tours of the facility to educate residents about how their trash is disposed of in the proper way. Groups are brought to the Household Hazardous Waste facility first, where they learn the most common disposal or treatment methods for household chemicals and materials.

One method is incineration. Did you know that a full can of flammable paint will enter one end of the incinerator and it is removed as ash and metal when the process is complete? The ash and metal can then be safely disposed of in a landfill.

The Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facility asks that you not only bring in your paint cans, but also things like vehicle batteries, ammunition and even something like moth balls. In 2013, Colorado passed a law that prohibits landfills from accepting electronic waste, meaning that all electronic devices must now be recycled at the HHW facility.

We also toured the Materials Recovery Facility where recyclables are separated from each other in a highly technical manner. With the use of staff, optic, and magnetic mechanisms items are sorted into the correct bins. A "puff" of air blasts out plastics and a series of magnets pulls out the different metals. The goal is to have less than 10% contamination present in the final sorted and prepped product.

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But even if the public is trying their best to recycle, contaminants can still hinder the process. Some of the biggest culprits are film plastics, plastic bags, coffee cups and Styrofoam. Despite having a number, Styrofoam is not recyclable in our community.
Contaminants lead to increased costs, safety risk for workers, and often times recyclables being thrown away as trash.

Trash can actually be quite fascinating and getting the word out is key, The more people know about the process it goes through to get to the right place, the more people will do to take the time and care to recycle properly. Learn more about the Walking Mountains tours of the Eagle County Solid Waste and Recycling Department by going to http://www.walkingmountains.org.