The Steamboat Springs Recycling Study is intended to address several potential improvements for optimizing the current waste management system. The improvements are designed to help achieve the City’s Climate Action Plan goals for increased landfill diversion and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Collectively they will increase recycling incentives, hauler accountability and generator responsibility in a practical and effective manner.
The current system that is largely privatized, relies heavily on landfill disposal and lacks the data to measure progress. Three haulers provide trash and recyclables collection to the City’s 1- and 2-unit residents, to multi-family properties (3+ units), commercial and institutional enterprises. While the overall landfill diversion rate is estimated at 9%, material quantity and quality data is incomplete. Administratively, the City does not have dedicated staff or departments to implement, oversee and enforce existing or future recycling policy.
Several key observations drive the study findings:
Roughly 70% of residents recycle despite mandatory service
Roughly 50% of multi-family/commercial generators recycle (many recycle cardboard only) – space constraints for adding collection containers is a significant obstacle
There is no universal requirement (or resources) for special event recycling
There is no central drop-off center to support generators without curbside service
Curbside collection of commingled recyclables (including glass) remains