Waste diversion, recycling campaign launched

ALAMOSA --- The San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council (SLVEC) is launching an outreach-education campaign to raise public awareness about waste diversion and recycling.

Campaign information delivered via a variety of media between now and June 30 will provide opportunities to better understand waste diversion; brush up on basic knowledge about recycling and its benefits; easily locate major recycling facilities throughout the Valley; learn how other communities in the State of Colorado have implemented a successful recycling program; and determine strategies to control and prevent illegal dumping.

A review of the successful operations in other parts of Colorado will also be tailored for use by public officials and community leaders who could eventually determine an appropriate model for funding and governance that will work here.

The campaign caps the completion of the SLVEC’s Waste Diversion Study, including its 10-year plan. Painstakingly compiled and then completed in November 2017, the SLV Ten-Year Plan (2017–2027) calls for the creation of a network of drop-sites to serve residents who are currently without an easily accessible place to deposit their trash and recyclables.

This would also require expansion of Alamosa’s Rickey Recycling Center acting as a hub for baling and storing recyclables transported from collection points, and then preparing material for the next stage in the cycle—known as “end markets”—whereby cardboard, plastics, paper, and metal are processed or re-formed into usable products.

This present outreach-education campaign can trace its evolution to an EPA Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) environmental health outreach effort that the SLVEC hosted with the support of the Conejos Clean Water (CCW) non-profit. Participating communities informed SLVEC that protecting water, protecting air quality, and eliminating illegal dumping was a priority for Valley residents.  The combined resources of these organizations eventually led to the clean up of more than a dozen illegal dump sites and significant savings to taxpayers for the cost of the clean ups. 

Living in such a place as the San Luis Valley with thousands of acres of land preserved in their natural state, and most of its history and traditions still preserved, the SLVEC and its campaign managers believe the Valley and its residents deserve the respect of the rest of Colorado, and the right to recycling services for all.

Hence the overriding message of the campaign -- “You deserve it, we deserve it.”

The campaign and marketing materials generated for it are being made possible by a Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity (RREO) grant funded by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE). The RREO grant program funds projects’ that promote economic development through the productive management of recyclable materials that would otherwise be treated as discards.