Dear Eartha, I saw signs at the recycling center that the scrap metal bins are being removed in a couple months — what’s the deal?
What you saw was not a figment of your wintry imagination. Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, changes are coming to the recycling drop-off centers in Frisco, Breckenridge and Silverthorne. The large scrap metal containers will be removed, and free scrap metal and appliance recycling will be available at the Summit County Resource Allocation Park, located at 639 Landfill Road in Dillon.
Why the change? Unfortunately, the scrap metal containers are a target for illegal dumping. Also, members of the public scavenge out of these containers, which is unsafe. Items that cannot be placed inside the containers are left on the ground — creating additional issues. Summit County Resource Allocation Park staff members have to remove these items off the ground on a daily basis, which is time consuming, burdensome and unsafe. This also creates operational challenges for staff and delays other recycling services.
The good news is that the Summit County Resource Allocation Park wants to keep scrap metal recycling free for the community, which is why residents and businesses have the option to recycle scrap metal and appliances in a safe manner for free.
What is scrap metal?
To put it simply, scrap metal is the combination of waste metal, metallic material and any product that contains metal capable of being recycled. So, basically, anything consisting of mostly metal. Think: bed frames, steel beams, metal shelving, bicycles, filing cabinets, etc. Imagine if we put all those unwanted items in Summit County’s only landfill — that would cause it to fill up fast!
Virtually all metals are infinitely recyclable, meaning they can be recycled over and over again without losing any of their properties. By recycling metal, we reuse this finite resource and can reduce the amount of ore mining throughout the world.
Donation vs. trash
Now, I’d like to address some of the items that have been illegally dumped and what you should do with those items instead.
Furniture: Furniture in good condition can be donated to Habitat for Humanity in Silverthorne. But please, don’t bring your crummy pet-stained couch. If you wouldn’t use it, someone else probably won’t either, so if it’s trash, take it to the landfill.
Appliances: Most appliances in working condition can also be donated to Habitat for Humanity. Give them a call and let them know what you have before you make the drive. Consider posting furniture and appliances on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace — you might even get lucky and find someone who will haul it away for you. If the appliances aren’t in working condition, please take them to the Summit County Resource Allocation Park to be recycled for free after Jan. 1. Have an air conditioner, refrigerator or freezer to recycle? Don’t forget to remove the freon first! All coolants in appliances must be removed by a certified technician with proper documentation. This documentation is required at the Summit County Resource Allocation Park scale house.
Lumber & Wood Pallets: Clean lumber and wood pallets can be in high demand in Summit County — it’s worth posting to Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to see if anyone wants your items. If not, clean lumber and wood pallets can also be taken to the Summit County Resource Allocation Park to be recycled for a small fee.
Quality over quantity
Many of the items illegally dumped at the recycling centers are outdated or of poor quality. Consider getting creative and revamping that old piece of furniture. And when making purchases, spend a little more on the higher quality items that will last longer. The recycling centers are recycling centers — not reuse centers.
Don’t fret — you still have a couple of months to get used to this change, as the scrap metal bins won’t be removed until Jan. 1, 2024. Once the bins are removed, residents and businesses can recycle scrap metal and appliances at the Summit County Resource Allocation Park for free. The hours of operation for the park are: 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and 7-11:30 a.m. Saturdays. Questions? Call the High Country Conservation Center at 970-668-5703.