Westside loses last free recycling bins for paper, plastic and glass, but if you want to drive...If you want to recycle paper products, the Colorado Springs Westside is not the best place to be.
The last free, do-it-yourself drop-off site for paper or cardboard in our part of town - eight bins at the parking lots in Red Rock Canyon Open Space - were removed several months ago.
Their departure additionally means no more Westside locations - outside of a paid service with a trash hauler - to recycle glass bottles and jars or plastic bottles.
The Red Rock Canyon bins had been among 150 installed five years ago through a city partnership with an environmental company (Greener Corners). The
Instead, according to Ryan Trujillo, the city's Sustainability & Support Services manager, the program has been hampered by a “ton of dumping” (trash) in or around many of the bins, as well as “homeless people breaking in,” he said.
Red Rock is not alone in this. The bins have been removed from most city parks “due to vandalism and dumping issues” - the exceptions being Acacia Park, Leon Young Sports Complex and Skyview Sports Complex, Trujillo elaborated.
Similar types of problems had been reported with free Westside recycling outlets in the past - for example, in 2008, after Bestway Disposal shut down its multi- item drop-off site at the Red Rock Center; and in 2014, after Waste Management took out its paper recycling bins at Uintah Gardens.
There are still 115 Greener Corner bins around the city, chiefly in less remote locations. They take glass, paper (including newspapers and magazines), cardboard, styrofoam, metal items (including aluminum cans), plastic bags and plastic bottles.
Meanwhile, a city-coordinated “focus group” is studying other options, and Greener Corners is looking to develop a more secure locking mechanism to discourage looters, Trujillo said.
In addition to Uintah Gardens, other Westside parking-lot recycling drop-offs to go away since 2014 were at Coronado High School and the Red Rock Center. Both had been accepting second-hand goods for a Denver-based company called Recycle That.
Recycling for various types of items - some located on the Westside - still exist in the city as a whole, according to to the Reycling Directory provided online by the El Paso County Community Services Department's Environmental Division.
Most of these options are provided by the private sector, although the Household Hazardous Waste Facility, offered by the County Environmental Division, covers the broadest spectrum. It's located on the east side at 3255 Akers Drive (off Constitution Avenue, near Marksheffel Road). The hours are Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and the second Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call for details about what's accepted at 520-7878.
Also, each of the past two years, the Environmental Division has held a household recycling event near the county office building off Garden of the Gods Road, to which people could drive in with their drop-offs.
Information about the following Westside recycling locations was extracted from the Reycling Directory. There is typically no charge for a drop-off (or it may be accepted as part of purchase), and in some cases businesses will pay for items.
AUTOMOTIVE (A - Antifreeze, B - Batteries, F - Freon recovery, O - Motor oil, T - Transmission fluid): O'Reilly Auto
BATTERIES (AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt & button type): Staples, 4520 Centennial Blvd., (rechargeable only)
COMPRESSED GAS CYLINDERS: Old Town Propane Company (propane only) 2725 W Colorado Ave.
BUILDING MATERIALS: Use Again Building Materials, 506 W. Cucharras St.
CLOTHING, FURNITURE, HOUSEHOLD ITEMS, ETC.: ARC, 265-1905; DAV (Disabled American Vets), 636-2537; Goodwill Industries 633-8794; Salvation Army, 572-7901.
DATA MEDIA: Independent Records & Video 3040 W Colorado Ave. (vinyl, cd, dvd - possible cash or store credit).
FLUORESCENT LAMPS/BALLASTS (intact lamps and ballasts with PCBs): Ace Hardware, 1830 W. Uintah St.; Ace Hardware, 4201 Centennial Blvd. - both CFL only.
INK & TONER CARTRIDGES: Office Depot/Office Max, 835 S Eighth St.; and Staples, 4520 Centennial Blvd.
LINENS (blankets, towels, sheets, fleece throws, rugs, bath mats, etc. for animal care and bedding): Happy Cats Haven, 1412 S. 21st St.; Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, 610 Abbott Lane; Wild Forever Foundation, 911 S. Eighth St.
METALS: Koscove Metal, 431 W. Colorado Ave.
NURSERY POTS: Good Earth Garden Center, 1330 N. Walnut St. (1-gallon, 5-gallon or larger clean black plastic pots).
PLASTIC BAGS: Albertson's 4405 Centennial Blvd.; King Soopers,
PHOTO CHEMICALS: X-Ray Service & Supply, 910 W. Moreno Ave.
STYROFOAM & PACKAGING MATERIAL (B - bubble wrap, M - molded Styrofoam, F - flat sheets, P - packing “peanuts”): Sonoco, 1100 W. Garden of the Gods Road (M).
OTHERS ON THE WESTSIDE (not included in the Recycling Directory):
- Humane Society (on Abbott Street, across from Wal-Mart) - a bin for aluminum cans.
- Goodwill dock, in the alley behind 2307 W. Colorado Ave. - an attended center that takes second-hand materials.
- Wal-Mart parking lot, off South Eighth Street - Goodwill takes old computer equipment and some second-hand materials at an attended trailer.
- Safeway, 3275 W. Colorado Ave. - plastic bags.
- Colorado City Paint, 3141 W. Colorado Ave., used paint cans (as long as they have a manufacturer's label and some paint inside).
Here are facts, courtesy of the Recycling Directory, about what happens to some products when they are recycled.
Ammunition: Incinerated; the metal casings are recycled.
- Antifreeze - filtered, chemicals are added to restore it to comparable virgin antifreeze, and then it is re-sold.
- Lead-acid batteries - smashed and placed in a vat where the lead and heavy materials sink to the bottom while the plastic floats. The plastic is melted and used to manufacture new battery cases. The lead and heavy metals are melted and used to make new battery parts. After a 40-pound battery is recycled, the remaining material weighs about as much as a car key.
- Motor oil - filtered and re-used as fuel oil in the asphalt paving business.
- Oil filters - separated into its metal and paper elements. The metal is melted and re-used in making steel. The paper is used as an alternative fuel source at approved cement kilns.
Batteries (dry-cell): Metals from dry-cell batteries (e.g., alkaline, lithium and nickel-cadmium) are extracted and reused to make new batteries and stainless steel. Other extracted materials are used in products for building roads, parking lots and commercial driveways.
Electronics: Items are disassembled into glass, plastics and metals, which are reclaimed for manufacturing new products. Less than 5 percent of e- waste is landfilled.
Medications: Incinerated at high temperatures, which can destroy up to 99.9 percent of all hazardous elements.
To view the county's Recycling Directory online, go to adm.elpasoco.com/Environmental Division/Recycling Information/Pages/default.aspx.
If you know of other recycling drop-offs on the Westside, please contact us at the Westside Pioneer so that we can publish them. Update, Dec. 22: Thanks for inputs from reader Kurt Foster, leading to our adding two Westside locations to the list above: Safeway (plastic bags) and Colorado City Paint (used paint).
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