When Mountain Waste & Recycling picks up your recycling, its next stop is a transfer station. There, the material is sorted by material type. It is then loaded into a truck and hauled to a processing center, that either further separates the materials, or takes them as-is and packages them into bales to send onto manufacturers who can reuse the material to make new products. The transfer station helps reduce transportation costs by ensuring that the truck is full for each trip to the processing center.
Factors Affecting Composting and Recycling and Composting Options in Our Area
It’s no secret that we live in a beautiful area. But it comes at a cost. Finding land zoned for a large-scale composting and recycling facility is very expensive. If one could find appropriately zoned land for a recycling facility, it wouldn’t necessarily require much land; a recycling facility can be placed on a relatively small footprint. Regardless of size, the upfront cost of land is higher in this valley than other areas of the country.
The challenges are even greater for a full-scale composting facility, which could serve the valley by composting green waste and food waste. Generally, the preferred method for large-scale composting requires windrowing, or spreading the material out to allow for proper moisture, odor, and temperature control. Windrowing materials requires a significant amount of land to accommodate the materials. The more materials to be composted, the more land that is necessary. This is a significant barrier to creating a large-scale composting facility in the area.
An additional hurdle is that large-scale compost operations require ample water. In this high desert environment, water is in short supply, and conservation is forefront. Acquiring water rights is an expensive and time-consuming undertaking. This is another consideration and hurdle when trying to create a large-scale composting facility.
Finally, odor control is a critical component of the composting process – especially for certain types of food and green wastes. Facilities can be closed down as a result of community concerns regarding odors emanating from large compost facilities. In some communities, composting facilities have been completely enclosed with industrial scale air filters to reduce odors, which adds additional expense to the project.
For a large-scale composting operation to be successful in the Roaring Fork Valley, several factors would have to come together, including finding a properly-zoned area that is large enough to accommodate the facility, along with water rights for a composting facility, and fit into the community’s expectations of these types of facilities. Additionally, the elevated cost of land and construction in this area adds another challenge. We hope that someday it will be possible to have these facilities; for the time being, without nearby recycling and composting facilities means that Mountain Waste has to transport these materials to facilities quite a distance away.