Latest News – September 6

Recycle Bins Re-Installed Next Week

Recycling. It’s at the top of the list for services that Lake County residents would like to see maintained, managed and multiplied. So there’s good news on that account, as conservation efforts at established recycling drop-off sites are returning this month, thanks to the Lake County Public Works Department.

Recycle Bins1

The remote recycling center located on County Road 10 will be back open for business next week thanks to efforts by the Lake County Public Works Department..

“Residents will see the return of the Community Park recycling bins probably early next week,” announced Michael Irwin, Assistant Director of Public Works in an interview with Leadville Today. And for residents in the southern part of the county, the big blue bins will also return to the drop-off location on County Road 10, also known as Sure Pretty Drive.

Earlier this summer, Public Works made the decision to pull the bins because they had turned into “trash collection facilities.” According to Irwin, “the recyclables were no longer feasible to separate from the trash,” forcing a complete dump of the bins’ content directly into the landfill, since there is no budget for separating out the cross-contamination of recyclables and trash.

During conversations about the situation, officials determined that the issue was an educational one. The discussions concluded that efforts needed to be stepped up by the non-profit in charge (and paid for by the county) to promote conservation efforts in the Cloud City. The end result was a plan to develop a message that resonated with locals and visitors about how recycling operates in Leadville. That was in May, but as September arrived and no program was in place, Irwin decided it was time to bring the bins back regardless.


The baler out at the Lake County Recycling Center makes molehills out of mountains of cardboard. One of the main benefits of baling is organizing and streamlining recyclables, like bulky cardboard. Compacting can also lower waste hauling costs considerably.

 “Most of the issues we were seeing were from visitors,” explained Irwin. However, locals have been on board from the beginning, resulting in a two-fold increase since the recycling program was first initiated by Public Works in 2012 with the installment of the recycle facility up at the landfill. From there, the department expanded their efforts to include convenient, remote drop-off bins.

That was until last spring when the trash-in-the-recycling-bin issue was becoming more frequent. Today, Irwin feels confident that Public Works has addressed enough of the former contamination issues that the bins will remain in place permanently. Residents should note that the pre-paid, yellow bags for trash disposal are still available.

“We’ve ordered new signs for the drop off sites, which will hopefully help with education,” explained Irwin. And the new security cameras that have been installed allow for facial recognition for any future offenders.

Recycle Camera

Smile! New cameras with facial recognition capacities have now been installed at the recycling bins at the Lake County Community Park. The new efforts are – hopefully – an added deterrent for trash dumping incidents which forced the closure of the drop-off sites this summer (2017).

In fact, Public Works has a strong deterrent in place for offenders dumping trash into the recycle bins: a $1,000 fine. Irwin described the conviction of a recent offender, who was sentenced to doing community service hours at the landfill when it was determined in court that he could not afford to pay the steep fine.

To keep up with the recycling conversation, readers can connect on the Lake County Public Works Facebook Page. In addition, stay tuned to Leadville Today for the upcoming series to inform residents about many of the items that can now be accepted at the Lake County Recycling Center at the landfill.

Until then, gather up your household bins of plastics and aluminum and be grateful that the space between you and a cleaner Leadville will be a few steps closer as the drop-off recycling bins return next week.

Comments are closed.