GSI Customers Already Participate in Successful Recycling Programs
The Larimer County Waste Shed Policy Continues: How Will Proposed Recycling Programs Affect You and Your Pocketbook? Part 2
As communities continually strive to reduce their environmental impact on the globe, recycling remains a staple that is an accessible and an affordable way to move the needle forward in Caring for the Earth. Here in Northern Colorado, when it comes to our customers’ recycling, we are proud to announce that we have a 93% recycle participation rate*. It is also notable that these communities do not include Fort Collins, rather they are the communities of Berthoud, Timnath, Wellington and Windsor. For our rural Larimer County customers and those with hard to access areas, we are holding strong at nearly 90%! GSI has been able to successfully engage these communities in recycling, while also keeping their overall waste management costs low.
This high rate of recycle participation from residential customers outside of Fort Collins, is significant because the Larimer County Waste Shed Committee is looking at implementing county wide Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) legislation. PAYT mandates that everyone in the community be offered recycling using a “prescriptive formula” that charges homes based off of the size of their trash cart. With the traditional PAYT model that the City of Fort Collins mandates, some would say that the rates for trash and recycling have become cost-prohibitive for families who need a trash bin larger than 35 gallons. What we have done here at GSI, is proven Northern Colorado can have both trash service and high participation in curbside recycling programs, all at at an affordable price, and all without legislation.
The City of Fort Collins
The current City of Fort Collins Pay-As-You-Throw model has a 99% participation in recycling at homes that also have trash service, a 6% increase over the other Northern Colorado communities we serve. However, the rate for services are far more. To follow the ordinance, the cost between the 35-gallon, 65–gallon and 95–gallon have to be a 100% increase per service level. For example, a 35–gallon trash with recycling is $15.00, the 65-gallon is $30.00, and the 95–gallon is $45.00 per month. Because of this pricing structure, over half of our customers in Fort Collins are at a 35-gallon trash cart size. The goal is to incentivize recycling over landfilling, which it does to an extreme level. It is so much so that we see people stuffing their 35–gallon trash cart so full, it is difficult to empty. Additionally, over the past few years, our community’s recycle contamination rates have increased, which increases tipping fees at the Larimer County Recycle Center, a cost we must all endure to recycle.
Surrounding Northern Colorado Towns
With the recycling programs’ model we are using outside of Fort Collins, it is similar to PAYT, but with less of an increase per service level. The result is high recycle participation rates, adequate trash can size for families, a possible reduction in contamination, and affordable waste services. What we do is incentivize recycling right through keeping trash affordable. In these communities, rate structures are far fairer. A rate structure may look closer to $15 for the 35–gallon, $22 for the 65–gallon and $30 for the 95– gallon, just as an example. This reflects true costs for waste disposal and allows for a sustainable service and a fair pricing model.
Larimer County’s Plans
With Larimer County looking at changing the pricing structure to incentivize recycling in Northern Colorado, we ask that our customers be diligent in asking questions on they WHY behind their legislation efforts, as well as address the success Gallegos Sanitation has had with our recycle rates, recycle customer participation and keeping rates low for our the families and customers we serve.
Do you have more questions regarding Pay-As-You-Throw and your community’s recycling programs? Let us know! Email Sustainability Specialist, Becca Walkinshaw, at GreenQueen@GSIwaste.com.