The Grand Canyon just got a little bit greener this week.
No, it’s not a new reveg project or the latest segment of the Greenway. It’s a new recycling contract that will allow local residents, businesses and visitors to recycle waste in a much more convenient fashion.
Recyclables head into Norton’s plant on a conveyor belt for sorting.
As of Tuesday of this week, Norton Environmental out of Flagstaff took over Grand Canyon National Park’s contract for the recycling of solid waste materials. The new, convenient system allows users to combine recyclables and place them in a single dumpster.
"There are over 300 marked dumpsters throughout the park in residential, business and visitor-use areas," said Maureen Oltrogge, public affairs officer. "It’s an easy-to-use, co-mingled system ... with everything separated in the (Norton) plant."
Several types of recyclables can be placed in the marked dumpsters. Cardboard, magazines, certain types of metal, aluminum, glass, junk mail, office paper, chipboard, most plastics and newspapers can all go into the dumpster.
"The nice thing about this is it’s making it easy for people to recycle," said John Beshears of maintenance and engineering. "It can go right into the recycling center. Norton has a nice recycling facility where it can be separated."
Peter Steinkopf, contracting officer’s technical representative, said there are things to keep in mind. Most important, the new dumpsters should contain recyclables only, and not other types of garbage.
"The deal with all this is if we end up with a lot of garbage, it plugs up the whole process," Steinkopf said. "It’s important that people only put in recyclables. A large piece of steel will damage the conveyors. You should rinse out plastics and cans so they don’t cause a stink or attract rodents. They don’t have to be perfectly cleaned out ... but the point is don’t start treating it like a garbage bin."
Besides convenience, the new system will also divert more waste from the landfill.
"In the past, only 13 percent of our waste materials were being diverted from the landfill," Oltrogge said.
Beshears said he could envision 40 percent of all local waste no longer going to the landfill, but to the Norton plant for recycling.
"The national average is 35 percent," Steinkopf said. "If we can go beyond that, that would be the feather in our cap."
The local landfill will be off limits to most waste in the near future. Beshears said it will technically remain open on a limited basis for specific uses.
Norton’s contract replaces Earth Day Recycling, which worked its last day in the park on Monday.
"I’ve enjoyed and appreciated my four years of service with Earth Day Recycling," Earth Day’s Scott Woods said. "I’ve enjoyed my time here but look forward to continuing and expanding my Grand Canyon Photography business."
Letters, including a list of acceptable recyclables, went out to residents last weekend.
Metals such as food cans, metal lids, small metal, appliances, scrap metal, empty aerosol cans, screen doors without rubber lining, lawn chairs without webbing and galvanized steel are acceptable.
Plastics with the code 1 or 2 (found on the bottom) are acceptable. Remove all caps and pumps.
Among items that cannot be accepted: Styrofoam or packing peanuts, plate glass or auto glass, waxed cardboard, foil, carbon paper, large pieces of steel or iron, brass and copper, paperback and hardback books, telephone books, thermal fax paper, plastic bags and plastics other than code 1 and 2.
More like this story
- Recycling nets<br>environmental award for NPS<br>
- Local officials hope to see<br>regional solution on trash
- Flagstaff bans recycling of plastics other than bottles, jugs and jars
- Local residents should<br>take advantage recycling program
- Residents, business owners ponder<br>future of local waste disposal