Public space recycling coming to Colorado Springs: City finding no cost ways to increase services while going green
The City of Colorado Springs will soon have public space recycling downtown and in some City parks at no cost to the City or taxpayers. The recycling will be made possible through a partnership with Greener Corners, a full-service public space recycling and environmental organization. Advertisements sold by Greener Corners will be placed on the sides of the recycle bins in order to cover the cost of the recycling program and earn some additional revenue for the City.
By April 2011, 225 recycling stations, which collect recyclables and trash side by side, will be installed in the core downtown area and several of the City's large community parks and sports complexes (including Memorial Park, Acacia Park, Palmer Park, and Leon Young, Goose Gossage and Skyview sports complexes), where a trash hauling services contract is already in place. (NOTE: Trash service in neighborhood parks will be restored in the 2011 City Budget.) Recyclables will be hauled along with trash by Waste Management, the City's current contracted waste hauler, at no additional cost to the City. By year three of the program, approximately 450 recycling bins will be placed in public areas and parks throughout Colorado Springs.
"This is a huge boost in creating a greener Colorado Springs and making recycling more widespread in our community," says Julie Smith, Public Communications Specialist. "By making recycling more convenient and through additional public education and outreach, we hope to instill the value of recycling in our community and begin to substantially reduce the amount of energy used and waste going into our landfills."
Greener Corners will install and maintain the recycling stations, create a "Green Team" to conduct a public awareness campaign to educate citizens about the benefits of recycling, and, through collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency, provide community impact progress reports with tangible results such as saved trees and pollution reduction.
The partnership with Greener Corners came about as part of the city's effort with Active Network to establish asset marketing programs with positive revenue streams and partnerships. In addition to the public benefit of recycling, the Greener Corners program could bring in as much as $2 million to the City General Fund over ten years based upon the Greener Corners proposal.
"Our partnership with Greener Corners is a win-win program," says Smith. "It's a great way to help the planet by increasing recycling in our community and tackle some of our budget challenges at the same time. Greener Corners is exactly the type of partner Colorado Springs is looking for to increase services at no cost to citizens."
Colorado Springs Recycling Facts
- In a 2010 Pikes Peak Quality of Life Indicators Community Survey, respondents identified recycling as the second biggest environmental challenge facing the Pikes Peak Region today.
- According to the most recent 2007 data, El Paso County residents recycled significantly less paper (67.8 pounds per person, per year) than the average Coloradan (119.7 pounds per person, per year), 2009 Pikes Peak United Way Quality of Life Indicators Report.
- Since 2008, all four major trash haulers have implemented single-stream collection of recyclables throughout the county.
- The pounds per person of waste in the Pikes Peak Region decreased dramatically in 2009, from 6.46 in 2008 to 5.14 (2010 Pikes Peak Quality of Life Indicators Report). However, the national average is just 4.6 pounds of trash per person, per day. (U.S. EPA document "MSW Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2007").
In a recent audit of 300 lbs. of residential trash by a trained group of Recycling Coalition of Colorado Springs volunteers, it was found that 158 pounds, or 54 percent, could have been diverted from area landfills. Of the materials that could be diverted:
- 108 pounds, or 37 percent, could have been recycled through single-stream, curb-side service. Even more materials would have been recyclable with a few simple steps, such as rinsing food containers or preventing paper from becoming contaminated with liquids,
- 14 percent was clothing, toys and house wares, which could be donated or repurposed,
- 4 percent was compostable food waste, such as vegetables and coffee grounds, and
- 2 percent was better disposed of at an electronics recycling center.
- Colorado Springs currently does not have any public space recycling. A local business pays for two recycling bins in the downtown area.
About Greener Corners
Greener Corners is a full-service Public Space Recycling and environmental organization that partners with municipalities, universities, shopping centers and other public and private institutions to help promote their environmental efforts and achieve new levels of success in their recycling initiatives. Beyond its consultative approach to creating a greener community, Greener Corners delivers customized public recycling stations, develops educational campaigns, and provides ongoing tracking and program support. Our model is tailored to each community's needs and is a "no-cost" solution with an inherent revenue generating opportunity.
Our core competency encompasses education and awareness campaigns about the critical nature of recycling, leading to strengthened interest and compliance not only in the public areas but also on residential levels to boost overall annual recycling tonnage. We create a local Green Team to help convey a consistent and widely circulated message to community residents. We are currently affiliated with credible suppliers, haulers and environmental advocacy groups who have been successful in their endeavors for decades. Utilizing these strategic alliances, Greener Corners enables municipalities and other communities to establish and maintain best environmental practices in the areas of Public Space Recycling and community education.
We install free recycling stations at predetermined locations and work with communities to integrate public space recycling stations into existing collection routes. Greener Corners is fully responsible for cleaning, maintaining, repairing, and replacing recycling stations as needed. We have a 24-hour response service and a local program manager for each community to address any concerns that may arise. Additionally, all services are developed and administered locally, employing local talent for best results.
Through collaboration with the EPA, Greener Corners provides all communities with up-to-date progress on their public space recycling program through our monthly Community Impact Report. This proprietary tracking system converts increased recycling tonnage into EPA equivalent factors, displaying tangible results community-wide such as saved trees and pollution reduction. We quantify the recycling tonnage, monitor results, and ensure that all program goals are always being met.
All of our proposals include a shared revenue program, which is generated from local merchant sponsorship on the sides of the recycling stations. The business community becomes intrinsic supporters of their community's Green initiatives, and we ensure tasteful ads that keep with the character of the community. Greener Corners encourages communities to use these shared funds to further their environmental efforts.
About Active Network
The City of Colorado Springs formed a partnership with Active Municipal Marketing in 2008. Active Municipal Marketing develops innovative, revenue-generating partnerships and programs between the public and private sector to allow municipalities to raise revenue without raising taxes. Community assets and properties are leveraged for sponsorships, advertising, naming rights and other revenue-generating programs ranging from beverage vending and municipal furniture deals to banking and telecommunications contracts. Through municipal marketing and our services, local governments have realized an increase in revenue by up to two percent without raising taxes or fees.