Would Eagle County residents pay for more recycling?
Eagle County, CO Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – In theory, Chip Bartsch would like to have more recycling options.
Recycling pick-up at his West Vail condo complex sounds appealing. He’d also approve of adding a recycling drop-off center in West Vail.
Ask Bartsch how much he’d be willing to pay for those services, though, and he doesn’t have a concrete answer. Maybe $10 a month for recycling pickup.
“It’s a question I would probably have to think about,” the 44-year-old beer buyer at West Vail Liquor Mart said.
Many people in the Vail area say recycling is a value they hold dear. In a recent survey, 70 percent of Eagle County residents said recycling is very important to them, said Kristen Bertuglia, the town of Vail’s environmental sustainability coordinator.
Although some residents are interested in improving recycling in the Vail area, the added cost can be a turnoff.
“In this day and age, who wants to pay more for anything?” Gypsum resident Roberta Foster said.
Foster said she’s content to drive her recyclables over to Gypsum’s drop-off center by Columbine Market. The town’s municipal trash hauling service doesn’t offer curbside recycling pickup – and that’s OK with Foster. Curbside pickup could cramp her style.
“I know I would need to have more containers,” the retired nurse said. “Mine is large enough and difficult enough to find room for in my garage, so to have more would be a pain in the neck.”
In Gypsum, town officials have discussed adding curbside recycling pickup to the municipal service, Mayor Pro Tem Richard Mayne said.
“We were trying to figure out what it was going to cost the town before we could offer it to residents,” he said. “There is a demand for curbside but not a big demand from the residents.”
Mayne’s wife, Luanne Mayne, is a fan of the recycling pick-up idea. However, she sees the cost as a major factor in whether it would be feasible.
“It probably depends on how much it would be,” she said. “It would sure be more convenient and I think more people would [recycle] if it was more convenient, too.”
Aside from the “hows” of recycling, some people are concerned with what they can recycle. Vail resident Gwen Scalpello wants to see the town recycle more plastics at its drop-off center.
“I would love to see us be able to recycle Nos. 3 to 7, which Vail Resorts is already doing,” she said.
To get that option, she suspects she would be willing to pay about 10 percent more for recycling. Without hard figures, though, she said it’s hard to say how much more she would spend.
Cereal boxes and drink cartons are things West Vail resident Vanessa Hansen, 28, would like the town to recycle. She would be willing to spend up to $7 more per month for that, plus curbside recycling at her duplex.
Of course, paying more doesn’t have to be a bad thing in the world of recycling. It could be an incentive. Matt Scherr, executive director of the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability, thinks more communities should embrace volume-based trash systems. Under those plans, residents who throw out more trash would pay more for trash pick-up. Vail officials have discussed requiring the town’s trash haulers to implement a “pay as you throw” system.
“It just make sense,” Scherr said. “The bigger your container, the more bags you put out, you have to pay more, so that’s a financial incentive to contribute less to garbage and more to recycling.”
Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.