It was determined by San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council (SLVEC) and the consulting team that the best way to highlight the operating system for waste diversion and recycling for the San Luis Valley was with a map giving a picture of the many places and types of operations involved with recycling.
This “On the Road to Recycling Map” appears in this addition of Lifestyles to reach a population of over 46,000 across the Valley’s 8,100 square miles (bigger than the whole state of Massachusetts).
Hopefully presented and illustrated in an entertaining way, the map portrays the very serious business of waste diversion and recycling which is taking place on a much larger scope and effort than most of us realize. Please pull it out the insert and use!
The SLVEC map creators believe that by getting to know the system players, with a better understanding of the many roles which have to be played, that a motivating incentive for everyone to participate, will occur.
This is a first time effort to coordinate all available resources, so users of the map will find it possible to: 1) get a comprehensive and organized view of where the Valley’s recycling facilities and operations are located, 2) what kinds of materials are being collected in these various locations, and 3) contact information of these places.
For example, scanning the map’s symbols and locator functions can help to find the entities responsible for specialties in electronics recycling, scrap metal, used clothing, printer ink cartridges, and other items.
Operational specialties found on the map even include some composting operations from farm waste, and conversion of mushroom farm waste into potting soil, which is the only example we could find of “closed loop” recycling where the end-market is also local and requires no transportation expense.
To note a few things which may not be easily discernible from a casual look at the map, the SLVEC team would emphasize the location of the region’s major landfill west of Monte Vista which manages over 90% of the waste generated in the Valley, and the great distances involved for communities located in the southern, south-east, far north, and far western areas to reach it.
A closer look at the map also reveals that the only facilities and drop-off locations for recyclables generated from the regular household and business waste stream include Alamosa’s Rickey Recycling Center funded by residents of the city, and a fee-paid roll-off collection at the Regional Landfill.
Not shown on the map, but extensive and significant, are curbside recycling services available in parts of the western half and northern portions of the Valley.
Shaded areas on the map indicate the vast array of public lands, where the waste diversion and recycling system function is essential to keep free of trash and illegal dumping.
A few examples of the brochure content include recycling basics, the real long term impacts of waste, what can be learned from recycling systems outside the Valley?, global impacts of not recycling, and the Valley’s ten-year plan to broaden recycling access and service improvements.