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Recycling center opens Saturday

Archuleta County’s recycling center, located at the Transfer Station on Trujillo Road (County Road 500), is slated to open Saturday.

A grand opening for the center will be held Saturday, Feb. 11, from 10-11 a.m., with free recycling offered all day Saturday.

The center was originally anticipated to open last November.

“Single-stream recycling is now happening in Archuleta County,” said Commissioner Clifford Lucero, who has long been a champion of the project.

With the $24,500, 80-cubic-yard trailer in place (housed under a roof structure), the county has seemingly navigated the series of obstacles that stalled the center’s opening.

The trailer is the second purchased by the county for the purpose — the first being a 100-cubic-yard that was in substandard condition and deemed insufficient for its intended use. It was returned to the vendor for a refund of the $18,000 cost.

Design revisions, issues with the contractor obtaining the pre-made building structure for the site, procurement of a trailer and its transport to the county have also contributed to the length of the process.

“It feels good,” Solid Waste Director Chris Tanner said of the completion. “As long as it all works.”

County Administrator Greg Schulte is also pleased with the completion of the project, noting he is excited about Archuleta County offering a better recycling effort while being more efficient.

“I’m just so excited that we’re finally going to open the recycling center. It’s been a long time coming,” Lucero said, adding that the county’s residents were eager for the center, but also patient through the project’s delays.

Initially, recycled materials will be shipped to Santa Fe, N.M., for processing until the facility currently under construction in Aztec, N.M., is complete. Completion is expected in June.

For the time being, Tanner said, the county will look at hiring a local company to haul the materials until a long-term solution is found and approved — be it either a hauling contract or the county purchasing the equipment needed to dump the trailer.

Tanner said he anticipates the trailer will need to be hauled and dumped every three weeks.

The normal cost for recycling will be $1 per residential load and $8 per cubic yard of commercial recyclables.

The center will be open during regular Transfer Center hours Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call 264-5660.

Recyclables accepted

The following materials will be accepted at the facility: aluminum food and beverage containers, ferrous (iron) cans, PET plastic containers with the symbol #1 — narrow-neck containers only, DPE natural plastic containers with the symbol #2 — narrow-neck containers only (detergent, shampoo, bleach bottles, etc., without caps), newsprint, old corrugated cardboard, magazines, catalogs, printer paper, copier paper and mail.

All tin cans, bimetal cans and aluminum cans must be empty and contain less than 5 percent food debris. Aerosol cans, too, must be empty, with less than 5 percent content. All plastic containers must be empty, caps removed, and hold no less than 5 percent food debris.

All fiber must be dry and free of food debris and other contaminating material. Tissues, paper towels or other paper that has been in contact with food is not accepted.

Special materials

Some materials accepted by the recycling center receive special consideration, namely cardboard and aluminum cans, and residents are asked to be aware of the distinction.

Tanner said it is preferable for these materials to be separated from the other, commingled recyclables.

Cardboard is the operation’s largest commodity, Tanner said, and is taken to a separate recycling facility.

Aluminum cans help fund a scholarship for Pagosa Springs High School.

Materials not accepted

Not accepted at the facility are the following: lead acid batteries, dry cell batteries, glass food and beverage containers, plastics with symbols #3-#7, empty paint cans, empty oil or antifreeze containers, microwave trays, mirrors, window or auto glass, light bulbs, ceramics, porcelain, unnumbered plastics, plastic bags, coat hangers, glass cookware/bakeware, household items such as cooking pots and toasters, cereal boxes, tube and core stock, and telephone books.

Tanner said the county has not found a facility that accepts single-stream recyclables and also accepts glass, leaving the county no option but to not accept glass at present.

Many items containing chemicals are not accepted in order to reduce contaminates and to avoid chemicals mixing in the trailer, Tanner said.

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