Meeker Recycling expands, remodels

MEEKER I After 17 months, the project to increase access to recycling in Rio Blanco County is a reality at the newly improved Town of Meeker Recycle Center.
Residents are urged to bring recyclables to the newly remodeled center, which now accepts No. 1 and No. 2 plastics along with cardboard, newspaper, white paper and aluminum cans.
Yampa Valley Data Partners (YVDP) has been working with Rio Blanco community members for the past year after receiving a Supplemental Environment Protection grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Initially it was thought that the Town of Meeker’s recycle center could be a hub for Rangely’s recyclables. However, after a professional waste audit in both towns, the conservative recycle weight figures could not convince Rangely town officials that the project would pay for itself, and they declined to join in the project.
All focus was then on making Meeker’s recycle center as efficient as possible. This included adding storage space, moving an entire wall, upgrading the electricity, installing a conveyor, purchasing a new forklift, building metal racks, ordering recycle containers and signage.
Kate Nowak, the YVDP director and project manager, said, “The project would not have been as successful without the town trustees’ support and three stellar employees, Meeker Town Administrator Scott W. Meszaros, Joe Holeyfield in special projects and recycle coordinator Dixie Massey.
The Meeker School District came on board with the project by installing recycle bins provided by the grant throughout all three local schools.
“You can install bins, but unless you train students how to recycle, the bins will not get used,” Nowak said. Thanks to each school’s student council for embracing the project, conducting training and auditing the recycle bins for compliance, she said.
The school recycle project had support from the bottom up and the top down, from the superintendent and principals to the custodians, Nowak said, adding that most importantly, the students agreed to take on the project and make it successful.
In the next few days, residents should find a recycle brochure in the mailbox that details how and what to recycle. There are extra copies of the brochure at Meeker Town Hall and at the recycle center.
To show the community where the grant dollars have gone, there will be an open house from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on May 7 at 109 Third St. in downtown Meeker. The community is invited to stop by anytime during the open house to learn what can be recycled, eat a few nibbles and view the newly remodeled recycle center.