Pitkin County is working to update its rules about hauling trash and recyclables, and a proposed ordinance aims to expand recycling in a challenging market.
The ordinance would require that trash collection fees be based on the volume of waste and that all garbage haulers provide recycling services. Cathy Hall, who oversees the county's landfill, said the goal is to increase recycling and reduce reliance on the landfill.
A draft version of the new rules has been open for public feedback. The county only received one comment, which supported the updated regulations, but questioned why the proposed ordinance does not include requirements for compost services. Hall told commissioners that though that would help with the goal of burying less trash, it’s not yet feasible on a county-wide basis.
“It’s a separate beast, the compost," she said. "We’re just not ready to go there.”
In a meeting this week, Commissioner Rachel Richards pointed out that the work to increase recycling comes as it’s becoming more difficult to find buyers for recyclable products — especially plastics. China is no longer accepting those, and the domestic market has not caught up.
Pitkin County now has a contract with Waste Management to haul, separate and sell recyclables. The contract expires in February, and Hall expects it will become more expensive after that.