opinion

OpEd — Arvada can do better on recycling

Posted 9/12/18

Arvada is falling behind on Recycling, we can do better!

Did you know that Arvada’s recycling rate is a mere 13 percent? It’s embarrassing. The majority of our waste stream is recyclable or …

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opinion

OpEd — Arvada can do better on recycling

Posted

Arvada is falling behind on Recycling, we can do better!

Did you know that Arvada’s recycling rate is a mere 13 percent? It’s embarrassing. The majority of our waste stream is recyclable or compostable. Very little should be thrown in the trash.

But did you know that over half of the Arvada doesn’t have a curbside recycling option unless they pay more? Not fair to have to pay more for doing the right thing especially when many of our citizens are on fixed incomes.

Very few apartment complex residents are even offered a recycling option. And the city-run recycling facility at old Wadsworth and 60th was shut down due to the high cost. But now, SustainAbility is open at Marshall/54th and recycles just about everything! But what about those citizens that do not have a car, that rely on public transit, or are elderly and cannot drive, that do not have the time or resources to drive their recyclables to SustainAbility? They rely on curbside pickup, and hopefully, at no extra charge.

Other businesses such as Momentum Recycling, Rocky Mountain Bottling Company, and MillerCoors rely on these recycled items to continue their own production at lower costs, and keep many Front Range residents employed. Materials Recovery Facilities along the Front Range keep these items out of landfills and create jobs.

Do you realize that Arvada HOA residents pay up to 2-3x LESS than other non-HOA neighborhoods? Golden has one hauler and they pay $8-12 per house per month with recycling for free. Because they have one hauler in these neighborhoods, the price is competitive. Currently, I pay $23 per month for trash and recycling, and it’s rare that I need to put the trash to the curb weekly. I’ve heard of some Arvada residents that are paying up to $30 a month for trash and recycling which does not include bulky waste or organics. Wow.

So far, having lots of haulers is not creating competitive rates for residents. They are seeing rate hikes quarterly or yearly with little increase in reliable service.

Are you sick and tired of seeing six to eight different trash trucks on your street every week? (I only have 12 houses on my dead end street but see at least six trash and recycling trucks driving the road each week. Each truck causes extra road damage. That’s road damage paid for by you and me, not the hauler!

I see a lot of concern and frustration on NextDoor regarding our waste/recycling companies in Arvada. I’m in favor of an organized collection system for our city — I’m not necessarily advocating a single hauler but one hauler per neighborhood or “district” — then we all get great service at a low price with minimal truck disturbance. Similar to what’s already being done in areas with HOAs. They have a single hauler for their neighborhood with a fixed, competitive rate.

I would like to have my hauler provide seasonal woody and organic debris curbside pick-up. How about e-cycling? Want curbside electronics picked up yearly? How about bulky waste pickup? The city used to do that, now it doesn’t. With a more organized collection system, we could have all of this and more!

Nine other Front Range cities have moved to a more organized curbside collection system including Golden, Lafayette, Lone Tree, Louisville, Sheridan, Edgewater, Fredrick, Commerce City, and Dacono. Other cities are trying including Westminster and Lakewood. Some cities have a city-run collection system like Longmont, this is a substantial cost and management issue for some cities. I’m advocating for an organized collection system, not necessarily city-run.

I know that many residents would like to have their choice of haulers, but when does your choice trump our community’s safety, lower taxes, and health? We live in a community, we need to work together for the good of the group, that’s what communities do.

If our system irks you, please join other concerned citizens at City Council meetings on the 1st and 3rd Monday business meetings to voice your opinions. Each citizen gets three minutes to talk at the beginning of the meeting, then you can walk out.

Please contact your city council person and voice that you would be supportive of an organized trash collection system similar to systems in other towns. Better yet, check out https://speakup.arvada.org and voice your opinion.
Some 90 percent of Arvadans think recycling is important.

Recycling creates nine times more jobs than not recycling.

We can do better.

Tara Kent is a member of the Arvada Sustainability Advisory Committee.

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