Latest News – November 13

Calling All Leadville Outdoor Lovers! It’s Movie Time!

River Junkies. White Water Warriors. Colorado River Conservationists.

No matter what you call them, interest in Colorado’s natural environment has taken center stage in the past decade, particularly when it comes to water. This is especially true in communities like Leadville, where the love of the surrounding natural beauty is only shadowed with the desire to protect it.

If this includes you, then head on over to Leadville Outdoors at 225 Harrison Ave in downtown Leadville this Friday, Nov. 15 for film night and benefit for Cloud City Conservation Center. 

In Chasing Water, photojournalist Peter McBride sets out to document the flow of the Colorado River from source to sea. A Colorado native, McBride hails from a ranching family that depends on the Colorado for irrigation, and this is the story of his backyard.  Doors open at 6:30 and film starts at 7 p.m. for this FREE event.

Chasing Water by Peter McBride 

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Conservation Center Update on Local Recycling Efforts

By Lynne Westerfield,Cloud City Conservation Center, Executive Director

There have been some noticeable changes to recycling services in the past several months in Leadville and Lake County.  Most recently, Green Wolf Recycling, our only curb-side recycling hauler, closed its doors.  In addition to curb-side collection, Green Wolf operated the drop-sites that were located North and South of town for several years (by the Pumphouse gas station and CR10 turn off). These drop-sites each had two large blue roll-offs for recyclables and have been sorely missed by residents.  

Josh Garcia with Green Wolf Recycling has closed his doors - thanks for all your efforts in sustaining and expanding recycling in Lake County!

Josh Garcia with Green Wolf Recycling has closed his doors – thanks for all your efforts in sustaining and expanding recycling in Lake County!

This infrastructure was originally part of a grant and partnership between the County, Green Wolf and the Conservation Center, but for the past several years, the containers were owned and operated solely by Green Wolf.  Green Wolf notes a drop in commodity prices and illegal dumping as part of the reason they are unable to maintain these sites and curb-side collection. 
 
Without Green Wolf Recycling, we have a real gap in service in Lake County.  There are several opportunities in 2014 to increase our infrastructure and services, through grants, local business expansion and/or greater involvement from the city and county.  In short, with a little strategizing, we have a real chance to increase our community waste diversion rate and improve how recycling is structured in Lake County.  Based on estimates from Lake County and Green Wolf, our community waste diversion rate hovers around 11%.  Meaning 89% of all discarded items still end up in the landfill.  With a national average of 37% waste diversion, there’s a lot of room for improvement.
 
Accordingly, the city and county are teaming up with the Conservation Center, business and education leaders and community members, to create recommendations for recycling structure, services and waste reduction.  Recommendations will be delivered to the Lake County Board of Commissioners and Leadville City Council in March 2014.  The Recycling Task Force is looking for community members and business representatives who want to give their input, either as a member of the task force, which will meet monthly, or as an advisor.  If you are interested, please contact Lynne at lynne@cloudcityconservation.org.

There are many other viable structures for waste diversion in use in other areas, from municipal trash and recycling service to ubiquitous recycling and waste diversion drop-sites.  Now is the chance to figure out what we want to see as a community, how we can get there and how we can grow waste diversion efforts over-time.
 
In the meantime, you can still bring your recyclables up to the Lake County landfill and recycling center.  Drop off is free and helps to lengthen our landfill life and reduce the tax burden to citizens, in addition to conserving valuable natural resources used in the manufacturing of these materials.  

Josh Garcia (L) of Green Wolf Recycling and Mike Irwin (R) Assistant Public Works Director discuss the Lake County Recycling Center at last December's Grand Opening.

Josh Garcia (L) of Green Wolf Recycling and Mike Irwin (R) Assistant Public Works Director discuss the Lake County Recycling Center at last December’s Grand Opening.

The Lake County Recycling Center collects #1-7 plastics, glass, aluminum, steel, paper, paper-board and cardboard.  New guidelines include the collection of milk cartons, ‘tetra-packs,’ and aseptic  containers like coconut milk, soy milk, rice milk cartons and other paper, plastic, metal lined combinations.  If it looks and feels like paper, put it in the mixed paper bin. 
 
The recycling center now accepts electronics.  In fact, it is illegal to dump these in the landfill because of the heavy metals they contain, which would be harmful to our water and soil.  Drop off of some electronic items are free: CPUs, laptops, cell-phones.  For others, like TVs, there is a small fee. Household batteries are now accepted for a small fee.  You can also take batteries, cell-phones and compact fluorescent light-bulbs to True Value in town for free.  True Value is also collecting florescent tubes from four to eight feet for a $1 fee.  

This spring for the first time, the county, the Conservation Center and the Leadville/Lake County Fire Department will team up to offer a free household hazardous waste disposal day.  All those paints, stains and other toxic substances you have stored in your shed can be disposed of for free, thanks to a grant the Conservation Center received from the USDA.  

These are very positive movements as our community as a whole begins to take more responsibility for items used and discarded in everyday life.  New technologies are constantly evolving that allow us to make better choices when purchasing goods and dispose more easily of these goods in a fashion that allows for re-use of resources.  Let’s show we can evolve as a community to meet these substantial waste and resource challenges.


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