Local recycling center struggling

Roy Wagstaff unloads cardboard from a car at Uinta Recycling. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON — “We really need to increase general membership and bin sponsors to keep the center open,” Steve Moscinski, president of the Recycling Center Board of Directors, said. “To sponsor a bin, the cost starts at $500 a year. A business or individual can choose the amount they wish to donate — either as an individual member at $20 a year or up to being a Platinum Bin Sponsor for $1,000 annually.”

Uinta Recycling Inc., a nonprofit organization, was started in October 2004 by a few committed individuals. Its mission is to preserve the environment through the reuse and recycling of resources as well as the promotion of waste reduction. The organization provides the facilities and also offers public education while creating an effective waste management model. 

Items that are accepted for recycling are corrugated cardboard/paperboard; mixed paper, including newspaper, junk mail, magazines, catalogs and phone books; white office paper; aluminum beverage cans; aluminum cat food cans; steel/tin cans and other metals; brown glass; mixed glass; batteries (small alkaline and rechargeable, not car batteries); electronics, including TV and computer monitors, computers and laptops ($10 donation requested for these, members excepted); cellphones and printer ink cartridges. The center does not take plastic due to limited space, but Walmart will accept all grades of plastic. It is important to clean waste before recycling.

Moscinski said China won’t take U.S. cardboard any longer because of contamination due to single streaming of recycled waste. Single streaming is when the recycling waste is all placed together in one container and is not cleaned. Moscinski said the county takes all e-waste, Jim’s Service takes all of the center’s aluminum and non-ferrous metal and all the rest of the recycling waste goes to Salt Lake City. 

“We lose money every time we send our cardboard to Salt Lake City. We get paid $10 a ton for it and it costs us $375 to send five tons to them, and that is to cover transportation costs,” Moscinski said.

 The center operates with mostly volunteer help. Center manager Cindy Boyd said they have four part-time employees who each work 20 hours a week. Most of those employees are either seasonal workers elsewhere or retired people. The youngest employee is 60 years old.

“We could not stay open without the help of our volunteers to cover weekends,” Boyd said, “and we could use more volunteers.”

Volunteers come from local organizations including Rotary, Soroptomists, Uinta County Democrats, Philanthropic Educational Organization, the Wyoming Board of Realtors and other individuals and groups. They rotate to cover the weekend hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Monday through Friday hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“Educating the public is an important part of our work. Recycling Center Board members and employees all donate time to go to the schools. Children from North Elementary, Aspen Elementary and Uinta Meadows Elementary come every year for tours and the Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops as well,” Moscinski said.

The recycling center offers pickup of recycling waste to businesses and the schools for a monthly fee. Currently they have 24 businesses and all of the schools except one are involved. The city and county buildings bring their collected recycling to the center.

The operation of the center is a collective effort on the part of the city and the county. The City of Evanston provides the space, the building and its maintenance and pays the utilities. Uinta County provides a monthly check of $2,733, which is a permanent budget item through June of 2020. If the center loses the county money in 2020, there is only enough in the center’s reserve to stay open for one year. 

Moscinski said that the Bridger Valley recycling is also included in the center’s budget and an employee from Evanston checks the bins in Bridger Valley every couple of weeks for fullness and correct distribution. The Uinta Recycling Center pays ACE Recycling & Disposal to bring the full bins from Bridger Valley over to Evanston.

Bridger Valley is in the process of seeing their landfill close, as it does not meet federal requirements. Bridger Valley will be building a transfer station and will be hauling all of their waste to the Evanston landfill. 

“Imagine what will happen to the Evanston landfill if our recycling center closes and they have to take all of Bridger Valley’s waste as well,” Moscinski said. “We need to keep the recycling center open to protect our environment and minimize the waste that goes to the city landfill.”

The phone number for the Recycling Center, located at 100 China Mary Rd., is (307) 789-5878. For more information on the Uinta Recycling Center, visit www.uintarecycling.com.

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