Cortez has purchased a new curbside recycling truck with the help of a $70,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The funding comes from CDPHE’s Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity program, which aims to develop recycling infrastructure and promote sustainable behavior change in Colorado. The grants are intended to “promote economic development through the management of materials that would otherwise be landfilled,” according to the CDPHE website.
According to CDPHE, Coloradans diverted 7 percent of waste from landfills in 2007. By 2014, that figure rose to 11 percent. That lags far behind the nationwide average of 35 percent of waste diverted from landfills.
In an email to The Journal, Cortez Recycling Coordinator Colby Earley said the $70,000 grant reimbursed the city for half the cost of a new $141,000 multi-compartment Kahn Curb Sort series recycling truck. The new truck has a plastic compactor and collection bays for source-separated glass bottles, No. 1 and No. 2 plastics, steel cans, aluminum cans, office paper and cardboard.
The city does not accept No. 3, 4 or 5 plastics or newsprint for curbside pickup or at the Cortez Recycling Drop-Off Station, at 110 W. Progress Circle.
“Collection streams always evolve, but we don’t have any plans on changing what we collect at this time,” Earley wrote.
The new truck will service residential areas, small businesses and schools, Earley stated. The new truck is rated at 17.5 cubic yards in the collection bed – about six pickup truck loads – and has compactor that can reduce plastic at a 21-to-1 ratio. It replaces a 27-year-old curbside truck rated at 15 cubic yards.
“We look forward to adding service stops with the new abilities this upgraded infrastructure gives us,” Earley stated in an email.
The state recycling program is a competitive grant, and recipients — cities, nonprofits and businesses — have to demonstrate how it will help build local economies and create permanent jobs.
“We are pleased to recognize the city of Cortez for its dedication and commitment to reducing the amount of waste sent to Colorado landfills and creating new jobs in the local economy,” Eric Heyboer, Recycling Resources grant program administrator at CDPHE, stated in a press release.