If we continue to throw recyclables away like we currently do, it will cost our communities substantial amounts of money. There is the cost of expanding landfills to match the amount of MSW being thrown away. The second cost is the waste of existing recycling infrastructure. Programs are in place to make recycling easy, efficient, and effective. It costs money to run these programs, and it is being wasted every time recyclables are thrown away.
Even though it may be easier to just throw everything into the trash can, it is not the best choice when you consider the cost of landfilling recyclable materials. Our landfills are designed to collect only so much waste, and when the region throws away 86% of total MSW, our landfills reach capacity much faster. To compensate for this, new landfills must be built, or existing landfills must be expanded. This costs a lot of money, and that cost is passed on to the consumer. Throwing away recyclable materials makes even less sense when you consider the cost of existing recycling programs. Right now, there are several recycling facilities spread out across Southwest Colorado, and they are all capable of making money. However, these facilities operate at a loss, when the communities don’t recycle.
This is why we are creating a website with easily accessible recycling information. It is here, that members of the community can learn about easy ways to lengthen the life of our landfills, save our communities money, and give new life to plastics, cardboard and all of the other types of recyclable materials.