- Colorado-based Phoenix Recycling opened a new 15,000-square-foot material recovery facility last month that it hopes will eventually become a regional hub, as reported by the Durango Herald.
- The state's Department of Public Health and Environment gave the company a $260,000 grant to help with construction costs as part of an ongoing effort to promote recycling in rural areas.
- The company plans to bid on a two-year contract to process all recyclables, except glass, for the city of Durango. The city usually collects about 22 tons of single-stream material per week.
Phoenix's goal is to handle recyclables from the three surrounding counties, which would eliminate the need to bale material and ship it to other facilities farther away as is currently happening in some cases. The company broke ground on the facility in January and hasn't felt the full effects of challenging commodity prices because it also deals with construction materials and has a paper-shredding service.
One of the facility's main features is a custom-made conveyor belt that can sort residential and construction waste. Phoenix's owner says this hand-sorting system will allow the facility to adapt to new packaging types and create a cleaner product. He hopes to eventually bring in specialty recyclers as well as create a larger resource recovery park.
While some areas of Colorado are on track with their recycling programs, the state's overall diversion rate is still low. The concept of a centralized recycling hub with good sorting capabilities will help get the most value out of the waste that is collected and could become a good model for other rural areas around the country.