I read with great interest the lead story from the Dec. 28 edition of the DCI. The story is titled "New year gives birth to recycling pilot."
The paragraph that caught my eye states, "Though it is a pilot project, the county goes into it flying blind. A drawback to the scheme was raised at a commissioners work session. That there is no stated or definable goal for the project, and no way to objectively evaluate whether it is being successful."
The words "flying blind" and "scheme" seem to convey that the commissioners were acting some how frivolously with taxpayer monies. I could not disagree more.
Back in 2004 a diverse group from the North Fork began talks with the county about starting recycling in Delta County. The group consisted of the town of Paonia, representatives from Chaco, the West Elk Mine, the Conservation Center and numerous like minded citizens. In the last two years students from the Delta schools have attended BoCC meetings passionately describing their interest in recycling.
The commissioners very appropriately responded with the pilot project. Yes, the numbers are estimated, but are based on the experiences of those working with the landfill. The hauling costs are known but what was left out of the article was that every ton of recycled that does NOT go into the landfill, extends the life of said landfill. The county estimates this to be about 5 percent by volume, thusly adding 5 percent to the landfill life. Also discussed at the several BoCC meetings was using the recycling pilot as a possible first step to diverting compostables from the landfill. Recyclables and compostables are estimated to be about 50 percent of the waste stream going into your landfill.
Imagine extending the landfill life from the current 75+ years to 150 years, this is a government project I want to be a part of.
So, to my way of thinking, the recycle pilot project is an appropriately cautious response to citizen interests. It provides a means for exploring the feasibility of recycling in Delta County with a full year to weigh the cost/benefits to the bottom line. I do not feel we are "flying blind" into this "scheme."
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