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Recycling center opening postponed

Archuleta County’s new recycling facility has met another hiccup, pushing back the facility’s opening.

The project, which began last spring, was anticipated to be completed in time for a Nov. 19 ribbon cutting, which has since been cancelled.

Solid Waste Director Chris Tanner said the facility, which is a single-stream recycling trailer, will be open once the trailer is received and details on where the recyclable materials will be hauled are completed.

“My understanding is that the trailer is going to be delivered next Wednesday,” Tanner said.

The trailer has a 100-cubic-yard capacity.

Tanner said design revisions, issues with the contractor obtaining the pre-made building structure for the site, procurement of a trailer and the hauling have contributed to the length of the process, but added that he is pleased with the project and how long it took.

“It’s actually gone really quick for government,” Tanner said, adding, “I’m surprised we did it as quick as we did.”

In an earlier phone interview, County Commissioner Clifford Lucero said an ideal timeline would be three months, without the delays.

Now the timeline hinges on where the material will be hauled after Pagosans recycle it.

Tanner said that, through the RFP process to procure a private hauler, the county looked to haul the material to Farmington, but said that current volumes coming out of Pagosa would overwhelm the city’s current recycling center (a new facility is under construction).

Now, Tanner said, the county is looking at having recycling materials hauled to Santa Fe.

Tanner said the current volume of material coming out of Pagosa overwhelms the Durango recycling facility, where materials are currently hauled.

Once a new center is found, Tanner said he hopes to expand the number of materials taken at the transfer station to include all plastics and aluminum foil.

While the new recycling facility construction has been underway, recycling in Pagosa Springs has faced more problems.

Currently, recyclables in Pagosa Springs are divided by material type, then hauled to the Durango recycling facility for processing.

Because of a recent health scare at the Durango center and other problems, however, Durango stopped taking plastic and glass.

Pagosa’s center, then, can accept only paper and cardboard at present.

Rumors and complaints around town charge that local material is not, in fact, recycled, but is simply hauled to the landfill.

Tanner clarified the situation, explaining that contaminated materials cannot be recycled. He cited a recent case in which cooking and motor oils were dumped into a recycling bin, contaminating everything in the bin.

Also, Tanner said, the transfer station currently has no storage capacity for recyclables, so if Durango’s center will not accept certain items, or if the bins are full, materials are taken to the landfill.

Stay tuned for information regarding the opening of the new recycling facility by reading The SUN.

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