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Home Recycling Fort Collins approves recycling requirement for construction waste

Fort Collins approves recycling requirement for construction waste

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Here are tips from Gallegos Sanitation to keep recyclables out of the landfill.
Jacy Marmaduke

Fort Collins will require construction and demolition crews to send most debris to a planned regional sorting and recycling facility for 10 years after that facility opens its doors.

Fort Collins City Council unanimously approved the mandate Tuesday night just after signing on to a regional agreement supporting plans to replace the nearly full Larimer County landfill, build a central transfer station for trash and create new facilities for recycling or composting food scraps, yard waste, construction and demolition debris. Larimer County and Loveland have already signed on to the intergovernmental agreement, Estes Park is likely to do so next week and Wellington might join, too.

The construction and demolition facility could be in operation as soon as 2022 just south of the current landfill site on Taft Hill Road between Fort Collins and Loveland. It will sit on Colorado’s first-of-its-kind “resource recovery park,” which is basically a one-stop shop for construction waste, yard waste, food scraps and recycling with an on-site transfer station where haulers and residents can drop off trash for trucking to a new county-owned landfill north of Wellington. 

Fort Collins’ new requirement would apply only to mixed construction and demolition debris, meaning people could separate their waste by material type to avoid sending it to the county facility. The so-called “flow control” policy is meant to ensure the new facility has enough material to work with when it opens up, according to the leaders of the regional planning group that crafted the county’s plans for trash once the landfill closes in 2024.

Loveland leaders made a similar commitment for yard waste last month, which ensures that the planned yard waste composting facility will begin operation as soon as 2022.

Big, heavy construction and demolition waste makes up about a third of what’s currently put in the landfill. The new debris-sorting facility would be equivalent to single-stream recycling for that waste, significantly increasing landfill diversion. City code currently requires the recycling of wood, aggregates, metal and cardboard in separate bins at building sites.

In all, the proposed waste facilities could divert over 75% of what Fort Collins is currently landfilling, said Honore Depew, a Fort Collins senior sustainability specialist and member of the planning coalition. That will help the city reach its goal of zero waste by 2030 and 75% landfill diversion by 2020.

The county’s solid waste department has saved about $41 million to pay for the new infrastructure and will finance the remaining $14 million without using tax revenue. 

Fort Collins city council members said they support the city’s involvement in the regional plans, as long as officials carefully monitor truck traffic to and from the new facilities.

Truck traffic through Fort Collins from the central transfer station to the new landfill is projected to increase vehicle volumes at impacted intersections by 0.25% to 1%, according to city estimates. The most-impacted intersection is College Avenue and Trilby, but that intersection will see improvements to add turn lanes and increase capacity within the next two years, according to city staff.

“The nice thing is that, since these (trucks) are specifically contracted or owned by the county, we have control over the routes they go on,” council member Ross Cunniff said. “We have quite a few options that we’ll be able to explore as long as we keep our eye on the ball.”

Jacy Marmaduke covers environment and other topics for the Coloradoan. Follow her on Twitter @jacymarmaduke. Support stories like this one with a digital subscription to the Coloradoan.

Read or Share this story: https://www.coloradoan.com/story/news/2019/04/17/fort-collins-approves-recycling-requirement-construction-waste/3494091002/



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