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Trash talkin’ at the Gilpin Transfer Station

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Let’s all support this valuable service by paying our fair share and stop abuse – increase in fees starts January 6th

By Randy Beaudette

The Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners participated in an online workshop to discuss new fees to be implemented at the Gilpin County Solid Waste Transfer Station, aka “The Dump.” Commissioners Gail Watson, Ron Engels and Linda Isenhart attended along with County Manager Abel Montoya, County Attorney Brad Benning, Public Works Deputy Director Dave Rich, and Public Works Employee Nancy Larson.

Starting January 6, 2021, the new fees will be implemented to offset the County’s costs of providing a solid waste service to the residents. At that date and going forward, it will cost $3.00 for a bag of household trash, and $2.00 for household recycles up to a maximum of two 64-gallon containers each or equivalent. Larger batches of recyclables will be charged by the yard). The fee will be $2.00 for flattened cardboard 3 feet x 3 feet x 1 inch, boxes per stack. For anything more than that, cardboard will be charged by the yard. Attendants at the Transfer Station are currently being trained to use the most efficient method of calculating the amount of recyclables a resident may want to drop off.

The cost of disposing your recyclables has skyrocketed in recent years. In January 2018 the cost was $5.00 a ton, compared to the current price which is now $73 per ton. This is nearly a 1500% cost increase to the County which does not include transportation and personnel costs for the three-hour trip to the recycling center down the hill to Denver and back. According to County Manager Montoya, the free residential recycling program has cost the County around $20,000 so far this year.

Another concern according to Mr. Montoya, is the volume of waste that the Dump receives along with the method in which residents report their waste. 20% of the resident’s visits are just trash, 40% are trash with recyclables, 20% just recyclables, and the final group of 20% are the irresponsible ones that mix their trash with recyclables, call it all “recyclables,” and dispose of their waste for free. This creates a time-consuming task for the staff of having to separate the trash from the recyclables.

Another irresponsible group that is taking advantage of the free recycling program is the commercial operators. These groups pick-up commercial and residential recyclables for a fee, then dump those under the recycle program for free. According to staff, the same trucks show up week after week with a full-size truck load of recyclables and unload. In a separate interview with an unnamed source, it was mentioned, “There is no way these people are using the amount of products in a week to generate this amount waste. They are either a commercial business or they’re collecting waste from several households. Either way this is not the intended use of County’s Recycle Program.”

Public Works Deputy Director Dave Rich explained that the 64-gallon container is what many neighboring municipalities base their recycling program on. It is calculated that a family of four generates about 64-gallons of recyclables every two weeks. Commissioner Watson said she has received comments that the 64-gallon container will not fit in a normal car. As explained by Mr. Rich, this can be broken down to two 32-gallon trash bags which is the equivalent of the larger container. The cost will be the same. If one 32-gallon bag is brought in, the fee is $2.00. If two 32-gallon bags are brought in equaling a 64-gallon container, the fee will be $2.00. The fee structure is such that it is $2.00 for up to a 64-gallon container.

It’s obviously a better deal if residents store their recyclables and make fewer trips to the dump than to go every week with a trash bag full of recyclables. Punch cards may be used to cover the new fees to make for a sweeter deal. If a resident utilizes the most economical method of two 32-gallon bags every two weeks using a punch card, it comes out in reality of 62.5 cents a week. As the term goes, “Less than a price of a cup of coffee,” though not nearly as tasty, but still satisfying to rid oneself of trash. Punch cards are available at any public works facility $20 for 25 punches that may be used for trash, oil or antifreeze disposal, and the soon to be new recycling fees.

The price of disposing waste and to recycle in Gilpin County is going up whether we like it or not. Expenditures to the County has increased enormously and the County can no longer afford to cover the cost. Abuse of the Transfer Station is another driving factor for these increases. Most other municipalities utilize outside contractors to perform this service which costs even more. Gilpin County’s Solid Waste Transfer Station is one of the better deals around. Ask your family and friends what they pay for waste disposal in their area, and you’ll be surprised at the answers. Let’s all support this valuable service by paying our fair share and report any abuse you see at the Dump.

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