Are You Throwing Away Recycling Lids

Let’s Talk Trash

flat sour cream lids
throwing away recycling such as these lids actually helps reduce costs for the Boulder facility, which cannot process these flat lids

Boulder Colorado has invested millions of dollars into a state of the art recycling facility on the eastern edge of town.   This facility offers tours – which, surprisingly – I’m going to highly recommend you attend.  Why would you want to go to a big trash plant?  Well, for starters, you can discover myriad ways in which you can impact our environment by just not throwing away  recycling materials.  

Our great city manages to recycle a huge amount of material that would otherwise be uselessly filling garbage dumps.  And yet, you really should consider throwing away the lids that are on recyclable containers such as yogurt or sour cream.   Wondering why I would say such a nutty thing? Read on.

Boulder County Recycling Facility

Located out at 63rd and Arapahoe, our community’s softball and baseball fans know exactly where this place is.  That’s because, on evenings with a light breeze, players at Gerald Stazio softball fields can’t help but notice the unpleasant aroma created by all the waste management facilities.

But, you know what? Small price to pay for making our planet and community a better place.   The main building is an awesome mix of high technology meeting low tech.  Dozens of workers are present,wearing heavy duty ear protection and fully body jumpsuits. 

Their job? To manually separate out trash flashing by workstations on a conveyor belt system.  They are looking for materials the high tech gear improperly assigned to one belt or another.

boulder co recycling facility
State of the art recycling facility, Boulder, Co.  And of course, enjoy the mountain views!

You see, the technology is designed to sort items based upon shape.  Flat things are paper, they go down one path. 

Three dimensional items, say soda bottles and yogurt containers, go down another.  But, what about that fateful flat sour cream lid.  It even has a symbol on it indicating it can be saved from the trash.  But no, not in this plant.  Here, it requires a worker to scoop it out of the conveyor belt heading for paper trash and into a trash can. 

That’s right, the folks at the recycling plant are throwing away recycling lids.

And this is where you and I come into the picture.  Were we merely to throw away that lid ourselves, even though it is of a material that can be recycled, we would be saving the time, effort,wages, and fees associated with the waste recyclable facility to pull that lid out of the conveyor belt and throw it away.

Sounds goofy, just writing it down, but it is true.  The facility hopes in the future to be able to recycle even flat plastic lids.

boulder recycling facility
Inside the cavernous recycling facility in Boulder Co.

Know Before Throwing Away Recycling Items

There is an area for yard waste to be recycled.  The CHARM facility will take your hazardous materials.  Very simple process.  Plus, this facility has a store where you can acquired used products, generally for free or a fraction of the cost. Just down the way is the ReSource facility.  Sort of like a free version of Home Depot, but you never can imagine what will be in stock.   

Tour The Boulder Recycling Facility

here is bob gordon no longer throwing away recycling but instead dropping it off to the charm facility which can process it and save the environment
Realtor Bob Gordon dropping off recyclable paint and cleaning products to the CHARM facility in Boulder Colorado

By the way, I mentioned touring the facility. It is really sharp. Kids will love watching the room with the conveyor belts.  I personally felt humbled, watching the sanitation workers doing the job of separating all the trash from recyclables.   And, wouldn’t you know it, I found a button next to a train, made the mistake of being the overgrown kid to push it during our tour, which set off a train whistle.  Everyone in our group – a bunch of Boulder Realtors – turned to catch me grinning and red faced.   Oh well, I guess I’m a kid at heart.

I also took advantage of the tour day to drop off all sorts of hard to recycle items – batteries, old paint (we are getting ready to sell our house), old cleaning materials.  Better to recycle these items than just fill our landfills.  It’s easy, free, and great for the environment!!

Check out the Video of the sorting facility:


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