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KSJD Local Newscast - May 14, 2024

Much local recycling remains on hold even as Montezuma County moves forward with efforts to repair the baler the county landfill uses to handle recycled materials. The county commissioners on Tuesday approved an expenditure of $45,000 to replace a broken strapper that is necessary for baling. Assistant landfill manager Rachel Abeln explained to KSJD that the baler, which is more than three decades old, compresses material such as cardboard. Then the strapper uses metal wire to bind the cardboard so it can be hauled away on a semi. Plastic and paper are also baled. Abeln said the new strapper has to be installed by the company that sells it and it will likely be eight to ten more weeks before the baler is operational again. Until then, the City of Cortez has halted its home recycling pick-ups and is accepting only metal at its public drop-off site. The nonprofit Four Corners Recycling Initiative has also stopped its collections. Abeln said she hopes when recycling resumes that people will “keep it clean.” Too many people, especially in Mancos, dump trash into recycling bins, which she said “defeats the purpose of what everybody else is doing” because all the material then has to be discarded.

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Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal, and was the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.