If you’ve been to Walmart in the last few days, perhaps you’ve noticed that all the recycling bins have been removed. I drove in there yesterday to recycle some paper and cardboard and was disappointed, but not at all surprised, to see the signs advising people that recycling was no longer going to be available in the Walmart parking lot.
As a dedicated advocate of recycling, I used to frequent this location on a regular basis. It was very handy and convenient to be able to drop my stuff off there and proceed with whatever errands I had to do that week in Woodland Park . I have been dismayed and outraged almost every time I stopped there to deposit my recyclables. I like to believe that most people are responsible. It seems to me though, that a disproportionate number of people in the area were irresponsible about recycling. The area was constantly a mess. Cardboard was often piled up on the asphalt next to the bins, in spite of signs clearly stating that it must be put in the bin and not left on the ground. I’m not tall enough to see inside the bins too well, but I shudder to think what kind of junk careless and thoughtless people may have thrown into the bins. And Walmart has been enormously patient for months and months and months in their willingness to carry on with a recycling program for the benefit of the community in spite of the ongoing mess created by residents of the area.
Waste Management went out of their way to educate and maintain this recycling center in the Walmart parking lot. Some months ago they even hired someone to spend time at the site to help people and educate the public about what was required in order to keep this location operating for the benefit of the community. I spent a few minutes one day talking to the very nice young man hired by Waste Management to monitor the site. He was there to help, to try to make the recycling center a successful operation for the residents of Teller County . A separate bin was even put in place for plastic bags. There were signs everywhere instructing people to please NOT put plastic bags in with the other recyclables. As I understand it, the plastic bags clog up the recycling machinery at Waste Management. And according to one of the drivers I spoke with on one of my visits, this venture was not cost effective for Waste Management. To pay the driver, and buy the fuel to come up from Colorado Springs to pick up the full recycling bins was not a money maker for the company.
Waste Management and Walmart agreed to operate this recycling center as a service to the community. It’s really so simple. Clean glass, plastic, tin and aluminum in one container. Paper and paperboard (like cereal boxes) in with office paper, magazines and newspaper. All corrugated cardboard (boxes broken down and flattened) in the cardboard bin. And most importantly, NO PLASTIC BAGS in ANY of these bins. Those get recycled at the entrance to Walmart, or any of the other grocery stores in Woodland Park . In today’s world, there aren’t very many freebies left. But free recycling is still available at the Transfer Station in Divide. Please people, pay attention to how recycling is done. It is one small contribution that everyone can make that will help keep the landfills on this planet from overflowing with materials that don’t break down. Plastic is the worst offender. In the Pacific Ocean there is an island of plastic that is TWICE THE SIZE of TEXAS ! The currents in the Pacific Ocean circle the Pacific Rim causing the plastic to gather in the middle of the ocean as a giant island. Wanna bet most of this plastic comes from the U.S. ? Have I convinced you of the importance of recycling? Good. Please recycle responsibly, so that we can still take our recyclables to the Transfer Station in Divide.