Home Page

Westside loses last free recycle bins for paper, plastic and glass, but if you want to drive...

       If you want to recycle paper products, the Colorado Springs Westside is not the best place to be.

Used paint cans were among the recyclables accepted during the El Paso County Environmental Division's "Clean Sweep," a household hazardous-waste disposal opportunity in September in the parking lot behind the El Paso County Citizens Service Center.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The last free, do-it-yourself drop-off site for paper or cardboard in our part of town - eight bins at the parking lots in Red Rock Canyon Open Space - were removed several months ago.
       Their departure additionally means no more Westside locations - outside of a paid service with a trash hauler - to recycle glass bottles and jars or plastic bottles.
       The Red Rock Canyon bins had been among 150 installed five years ago through a city partnership with an environmental company (Greener Corners). The announced expectation was that both entities would profit from repurposing the donated materials and from selling advertisements on the units themselves.
       Instead, according to Ryan Trujillo, the city's Sustainability & Support Services manager, the program has been hampered by a “ton of dumping” (trash) in or around many of the bins, as well as “homeless people breaking in,” he said.
       Red Rock is not alone in this. The bins have been removed from most city parks “due to vandalism and dumping issues” - the exceptions being Acacia Park, Leon Young Sports Complex and Skyview Sports Complex, Trujillo elaborated.
       Similar types of problems had been reported with free Westside recycling outlets in the past - for example, in 2008, after Bestway Disposal shut down its multi-item drop-off site at the Red Rock Center; and in 2014, after Waste Management took out its paper recycling bins at Uintah Gardens.
       There are still 115 Greener Corner bins around the city, chiefly in less remote locations. They take glass, paper (including newspapers and magazines), cardboard, styrofoam, metal items (including aluminum cans), plastic bags and plastic bottles.
       A city-coordinated “focus group” is studying other options, and Greener Corners is looking to develop a more secure locking mechanism to discourage looters, Trujillo said.

In a file photo from 2004, a youngster tosses a can into a bin that was then in the Red Rock shopping center parking lot off West Colorado Avenue. Despite a volunteer committee that tried to support Bestway Disposal in the Manitou/Westside effort, Bestway removed the bin in 2008 because of problems with trash and thievery.
Westside Pioneer file photo

       According to authorities, people breaking in to such bins are either looking for things they can use or sell (especially metal items).
       In addition to Uintah Gardens, other Westside parking-lot recycling drop-offs to go away since 2014 were at Coronado High School and the Red Rock Center. Both had been accepting second-hand goods for a Denver-based company called Recycle That.
       Recycling for various types of items - some located on the Westside - still exist in the city as a whole, according to the Reycling Directory provided online by the El Paso County Community Services Department's Environmen-tal Division.
       Most of these options are provided by the private sector, although the Household Hazardous Waste Facility, offered by the County Environmental Division, covers the broadest spectrum. It's located on the east side at 3255 Akers Drive (off Constitution Avenue, near Marksheffel Road).
       Here are the facility's hours and policies, which recently changed:
       - Hazardous waste materials are taken Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; and the second Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
       - Other recyclables are only accepted on Wednes-days and Fridays, from 7 a.m. until the bins are full (usually about 2 p.m.) Also, because of problems with trash being put in the bins (which can contaminate marketable recyclables), people now must register when they drive in and have their loads inspected, an employee explained. The service remains free, however. Call for more details at 520-7878.
       Each of the past two years, the Environmen-tal Division has also held a household recycling event near the county office building off Garden of the Gods Road, to which people could drive in with their drop-offs.
       Information about the following Westside recycling locations was extracted from the Reycling Directory. There is typically no charge for a drop-off (or it may be accepted as part of purchase), and in some cases businesses will pay for items.
       AUTOMOTIVE (A - Antifreeze, B - Batteries, F - Freon recovery, O - Motor oil, T - Transmission fluid): O'Reilly Auto Parts, 403 S. 26th St. (BOT); Advance Auto Parts, 651 S. 21st St. (ABOT); Auto Tech Plaza, 1525 S. 21st St (ABO); AutoZone, 505 S. 8th St (BOT); NAPA Auto Parts, 750 Abbott Lane (B).
       BATTERIES (AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt & button type): Staples, 4520 Centennial Blvd., (rechargeable only).
       COMPRESSED GAS CYLINDERS: Old Town Propane Company (propane only) 2725 W Colorado Ave.
       BUILDING MATERIALS: Use Again Building Materials, 506 W. Cucharras St.
       CLOTHING, FURNITURE, HOUSEHOLD ITEMS, ETC.: ARC, 265-1905; DAV (Disabled American Vets), 636-2537; Goodwill Industries 633-8794; Salvation Army, 572-7901.
       DATA MEDIA: Independent Records & Video 3040 W Colorado Ave. (vinyl, cd, dvd - possible cash or store credit).
       FLUORESCENT LAMPS/ BALLASTS (intact lamps and ballasts with PCBs): Ace Hardware, 1830 W. Uintah St.; Ace Hardware, 4201 Centennial Blvd. - both CFL only.
       INK & TONER CARTRIDGES: Office Depot/Office Max, 835 S Eighth St.; and Staples, 4520 Centennial Blvd.
       LINENS (blankets, towels, sheets, fleece throws, rugs, bath mats, etc. for animal care and bedding): Happy Cats Haven, 1412 S. 21st St.; Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, 610 Abbott Lane; Wild Forever Foundation, 911 S. Eighth St.
       METALS: Koscove Metal, 431 W. Colorado Ave.
       NURSERY POTS: Good Earth Garden Center, 1330 N. Walnut St. (1-gallon, 5-gallon or larger clean black plastic pots).
       PLASTIC BAGS: Albertson's 4405 Centennial Blvd.; King Soopers, 1750 W. Uintah St.; King Soopers, 3250 Centennial Blvd.; Walmart, 707 S. Eighth St.
       PHOTO CHEMICALS: X-Ray Service & Supply, 910 W. Moreno Ave.
       STYROFOAM & PACKAGING MATERIAL (B - bubble wrap, M - molded Styrofoam, F - flat sheets, P - packing “peanuts”): Sonoco, 1100 W. Garden of the Gods Road (M).
       OTHERS ON THE WESTSIDE (not included in the Recycling Directory):
       - Humane Society (on Abbott Street, across from Wal-Mart) - a bin for aluminum cans.
       - Goodwill dock, in the alley behind 2307 W. Colorado Ave. - an attended center that takes second-hand materials.
       - Wal-Mart parking lot, off South Eighth Street - Goodwill takes old computer equipment and some second-hand materials at an attended trailer.
       - Safeway, 3275 W. Colorado Ave. - plastic bags.
       - Colorado City Paint, 3141 W. Colorado Ave., used paint cans (as long as they have a manufacturer's label and some paint inside).

Westside Pioneer article