Four Corners Recycling Initiative asks for community help to keep recycling bins in use – The Journal

Friday, Apr 12, 2024 10:00 AM
Updated Friday, Apr. 12, 2024 10:00 AM

Four Corners Recycling Initiative has three drop-off stations in Montezuma County. (Courtesy photo)

Nonprofit provides recycling bins in Dolores and Mancos

The Four Corners Recycling Initiative has announced that if residents don’t help dispose of trash and recyclables responsibly, they might remove the recycling bins in Dolores and Mancos.

“Despite our efforts to educate the community, cardboard and other items continue to be left outside of the bins where our gusty spring conditions spread it all over town and adjoining properties,” the nonprofit’s Nick Ferraro told The Journal. “We might lose our ability to provide bins if the current culture continues.”

Casey Simpson, director of Southwest Open School and board member of Four Corners Recycling Initiative, said the nonprofit provides three recycling bins in Montezuma County, one at the bus transportation department building in Mancos, one behind the elementary school in Dolores and the third at the Dolores Public Lands office.

The nonprofit is funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health, and the amount of the funding depends on how much was recycled the previous year.

But instead of putting only recyclables in the bins, many in Mancos have been dumping trash in the bins, stunting recycling efforts.

“Mancos had around 16,000 pounds of waste,” Simpson said. “That means somebody put trash in the bin, and because it was trash, it couldn’t be recycled.”

People also have left cardboard boxes outside the bins instead of being properly disposing of them.

“When people leave cardboard outside the bins, especially when it’s winter and the cardboard gets wet, they can’t recycle it,” Simpson said. “If they store those recycled materials or compact them and they’re wet, they could spontaneously combust because the cardboard starts to rot and creates an anaerobic reaction.”

Simpson said that 17% of refuse left in the bins cannot be recycled and must be thrown away because of contamination.

Trash that is left outside the bins is blowing away, leaving a mess for the schools where the bins are located.

“They don’t have the capacity to manage and clean up all this mess and everything else,” Simpson said.

Simpson asked that residents help do their part to utilize the bins the way the way they’re meant to be used.

“These are everyone’s bins,” Simpson said. “They’re not Four Corners bins, they are nonprofit bins with an unpaid, volunteer board. It’s the public’s responsibility to make sure that the sites are clean and that they’re not abused so that they’re taken away.”

The bins are picked up weekly, but Simpson said that residents can donate to have extra pickup times.

People who are interested in donating or being part of their board can visit their Facebook page. Donations can also be mailed to P.O. Box 1538 in Cortez.