Westminster’s Sustainability Center is now the focus for the city’s recyclables

Westminster resident Dale Taylor spent about five minutes last week dropping off his recyclables at the city’s newly opened Sustainability Center.

He was greeted by a small crew from SustainAbility Recycling, who helped Taylor take his waste to a compactor, which will eventually be sent to Republic Services for processing.

The process was fast, friendly and clean. There was no smell and no household waste was put in the recycling bins that people often dumped at the city’s four recycling centres, which will now close on June 1.

“People were dumping things in those places that they weren’t supposed to do,” Taylor said. “Sometimes there was trash everywhere.”

“This (the recycling center) is much better maintained,” he said.

The new Sustainability Center – opened April 22 – is located at 6020 W. 91st Ave., a spot chosen by the city because it is a 10-minute drive for 80% of Westminster residents.

Arvada-based SustainAbility Recycling is working with the city to manage the site and help unload and process items for residents.

Customers do not need an appointment at the center. People can simply take a ride during business hours and a SustainAbility Recycling employee will greet them. Employees explain where items can be dropped off and how much the city estimates it will cost.

SustainAbility Recycling’s convenience and oversight will make the facility more attractive to people who want to ensure their recyclables are properly disposed of and not dumped in a landfill, said Rachel Nathan, director of sustainability for SustainAbility Recycling.

“We are here to offer people recycling, but also to provide education and tips on the best ways to recycle,” Nathan said. “We’re not here to control anyone. We just want to make it a good experience for people.”

For single-stream recycling, customers can drive up to the compactor and place the items inside, with the help of staff if necessary.

A few times a week the compactor is emptied and the contents are sent to Republic Services.

Hard-to-recycle items are accepted in a separate area, collected in containers and brought in at the end of the day, keeping the facility clean and organized, the city said. The items that are difficult to recycle are then taken to different locations for processing.

According to the press release, people can drop off hard-to-recycle items including electronics, paint and Styrofoam, in addition to single-use recycling items such as cardboard, paper, plastic, aluminum and glass.

Unwanted electronics are sent to certified e-waste recyclers who will break down your items ethically without compromising the personal data left on the device.

A fee may apply for those difficult-to-recycle items. Items such as bubble wrap, wine corks, corrugated plastic yard signs, plastic films and plastic bags and other things can be recycled for $4 per bundle. Larger items such as mattresses and box springs, bicycles, fire extinguishers, paint and plastics have their individual loads.

Click here to view the wage structure for difficult-to-recycle items.

Opening hours and location

SustainAbility has similar operations in Arvada and Broomfield, and they are proud to provide employment opportunities for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, said Melissa Kraai, co-founder of SustainAbility.

On June 1, the city’s existing recycling locations will close:

  • Fire Station 1: 3948 W. 73rd Ave.
  • Municipal Service Center: 6575 W. 88e. Avg.
  • Municipal Court: 3030 Tolweg Dr.
  • West View Recreation Center: 10747 W. 108th Ave.

City officials say the decision to consolidate drop-off locations into one center was critical for safety and to keep those areas clean.

“Having multiple unmanned locations resulted in undesirable results. “With no staff to supervise, people often threw non-recyclable materials into the bins, contaminating the entire bin, meaning none of it could be recycled,” the city press release said.

“If this happens, the city will have to pay a hauler to take everything to the landfill. On average, the city spent approximately 20 hours per week cleaning the sites,” the news release said.

The Sustainability Center’s opening hours are Monday to Thursday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and on Friday and Saturday from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. The center will be closed on Sundays

From June 1 to August, the center is only open on Wednesdays until 5:30 PM.

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