Teens Help Boost Local Recycling Efforts

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by Rick Langenberg:


The recycling movement is a challenge in Teller County and Colorado, with the state lagging well behind such environmental-friendly hubs as Oregon, where mandatory rules are a way of life.

The situation is further handicapped by the loss of central drop-off hubs at the local Wal-Mart due to continual abuse by a few irresponsible people. And getting a new community recycling center finalized locally is an expensive and detailed proposition.

But the local Keep Woodland Park Beautiful Committee is making up for lost ground with the placement of a slew of blue, metal outdoor recycling bins throughout the area through a grant, and with the help of local teens. “We want to get the kids involved,” said committee member Jan Wilson. “We feel that is really important.” According to a new program, orchestrated through the committee, teens help separate cans and bottles from remaining trash items that shouldn’t be deposited in the bins. Through the recycling process, they receive a small amount of money, with these funds going into the teen center. Wilson sees this as a good way to garner more youth involvement in efforts to beautify the area. 

The new recycling bins are part of a Coca-Cola grant, and are currently located at Meadow Wood Park, Memorial Park, the Kavanaugh Field, Crestwood Park, the teen center and at various spots for special events. Altogether, the committee has an inventory of about 16 bins. Each bin is equipped to handle 34 gallons and is 45 inches tall. They are designed primarily for cans and bottles, which is another reason why the involvement of local teens really facilitates the program. 

The recycling bins became a reality about two months ago and a sample can was displayed during a city council meeting in early July. The sample recycling exhibit got a positive response by the WP City Council. “We just want people to know they are out there,” said Wilson, who admits the effort hasn’t received much publicity since the earlier council meeting. She says the committee wants to promote recycling efforts more in the community. Similar types of bins have been used in such areas as Estes Park and have garnered much success towards community recycling, according to Wilson. 

The bins also will get showcased during major special events, such as the recent USA Pro Challenge cycling showdown. According to Wilson, the bins were pretty handy during the Pro Challenge event.

The committee leader is the first to admit that Woodland Park and Teller won’t compete with staunch recycling areas in Boulder and the Oregon/Washington region, but she and other Keep Woodland Park Beautiful representatives believe they could help meet the growing needs in the community.