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Gering expands recycling program
February 06, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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With an upcoming addition to the baler building, the recycling program at the Gering landfill continues to expand.

Darrell Vance, Gering’s interim director of environmental science, said they’re now accepting recyclable materials from the City of Scottsbluff. The program, which is “single stream,” does require people to separate recyclable materials into categories. They simply place the recyclables in a blue container for that purpose, and the city picks it up twice a month.

Last year, the landfill was awarded a grant to purchase 30 additional large containers for cardboard collection in businesses. And at the Jan. 27 city council meeting, Vance told the council they had been awarded a $10,000 grant to build a 40x80 foot addition onto the baler building. This will allow landfill staff to bale recyclable materials more often as more volume continues to come in.

“We’re shipping out a trailer of recycled bales about every three weeks,” Vance said. “We can get about 30 bales in a trailer.”

Previously, Waste Management of Denver, who recycles the Gering baled material, would bring an empty trailer up and take the full one back. But now, because of a more favorable rate, local business Smith Systems hauls the material to Denver while drivers are headed there for other jobs. “This is actually helping a local business,” Vance said.

So far, the recycling program is about breaking even from what Waste Management pays for recyclable material. The only cost to Gering is separating recyclable material from the large roll-off boxes placed in several locations around the city. Vance said the biggest problem is removing plastic bags and glass, which cannot be recycled.

About 400 Gering residents are currently participating in the recycling program, along with about 30 commercial businesses. The cost for residences is $4.15 per month, which is included on city utility bills.

“We’re looking to expand our recycling program even more,” Vance said. “We’re working with the Natural Resources District to develop programs that will encourage more people to get involved. I’d like to see us get to the point where we’re shipping out a trailer of recyclables every week.”
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