Recycle center at Red Rock center closes

       When Bestway Disposal set out free, unsupervised recycling bins in the Red Rock shopping center nearly four years ago, the company's thinking was that if the experiment went well, it might add more stations on the Westside.
       The final results are now in. User problems cooled the enthusiasm for added sites, and last week - after an incident with wind-blown debris and a reportedly cranky apartment-complex owner - Bestway shut down the “Westside Reycle Center” altogether.
       Although Phil Kiemel, the company president, referred to the blowing incident as “the final straw,” he said the closure was likely anyway because so many people were ignoring the facility's rules. The company had nearly closed it last July for that reason.
       One major issue was recyclables being dropped off on weekends when bins were full and even though Bestway had put up signs asking people not to. As a result, items (often cardboard and plastics) would wind up sitting out in the open, at the mercy of the weather. “I asked people not to come on weekends, but they continued to oveload it on Sundays,” Kiemel said. “The stuff blows all over. He [the apartment owner, who complained vigorously to various authorities] has a right to be mad, but it's not right to hold me responsible when people can't be changed from their habits. All we'd do was put the bins out there and pick them up.”
       Another issue was people using the recycling station as a de facto trash dump. Kelly Snyder, a Manitou Springs volunteer who tried to help make the program work, said she'd seen such drop-offs as tires and window blinds. At other times people had been known to leave glass, even though the signs stated that it was not taken there, and the result would often be broken glass around the recycling site.
       The “shabby” appearance over time cost the support of Safeway, Snyder said. The store had once liked the idea of a recycling site in the parking lot near its Red Rock store.
       To top it off, the site's only money-making aspect - the bin for aluminum cans - had long since been negated. “The guys from the creek would steal all my cans,” Kiemel said.
       In its heyday, the location averaged weekly totals of 15,000 pounds of newspapers, 1,000 pounds of plastic and 75 pounds of aluminum.
       The site had been started in conjunction with Manitou Recycles, a volunteer committee seeking to foment recycling for Manitou and the Westside.
       Snyder, a committee member, was disappointed at the closure but understood Kiemel's decision. Regarding the abuse of the recycling area, “I'm horrified,” she said. “ People are not thinking long-term.”
       She recalled educational efforts by herself and others from Manitou Recycles. “I would spend weekends sitting there in a folding chair, telling people, 'Please don't come.' Sometimes if it got too bad [on weekends], we would take things home with us.”
       A future possibility is a recycling area at the west end of Manitou, near the old bottling plant, that could also serve Ute Pass, she said. What she'd really like to see is a government-run pickup program that would facilitate recycling, possibly even make it mandatory, as in some parts of the country.
       In any case, Kiemel said, the loss of the Red Rock Center site does not mean the end of recycling on the Westside. Bestway still offers the service at no extra charge to its customers, he said.

Westside Pioneer article