Column by Mark Deven, Arvada City Manager

We miscalculated, we apologize

Guest Column

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Two hundred thousand pounds of electronics. Forty thousand gallons of paint. Three hundred refrigerators. Six hundred mattresses.

We had no idea.

Arvada's free recycling event, which was supposed to last from May 2-14, was closed as of May 7 after our wonderful partners at SustainAbility were so overwhelmed with the volume of cars and items that they had no more capacity to continue. Their warehouses were full and downstream recyclers of electronics and mattresses were at capacity. City crews even hauled 200 pallets of electronics to store in a maintenance facility. The event literally exceeded the capacity of the entire recycling stream in the Denver metropolitan area.

We at the City of Arvada apologize to those residents who were inconvenienced by the need to shut the event down a week early. We heard from many people who spent hours loading their cars, only to be turned away. Unfortunately, other than through our website and social media, we had no way of letting all of our residents know of the cancellation.

On the positive side, we are proud to have offered a program which did serve thousands of residents and prevented hundreds of thousands of pounds of waste from entering our landfills. We also remind our residents that there are many easy and affordable (often free) options to dispose of unwanted recyclables. You can find a comprehensive list on the City's website at www.arvada.org.  In particular, I would like to highlight PaintCare, which operates a paint stewardship program on behalf of states like Colorado that have passed paint stewardship laws. Visit www.paintcare.org for a list of many retail outlets where you can drop unwanted, leftover paint for free.

It is very clear that opportunities for recycling and large item pickup are valued by our residents. Unfortunately, we can no longer provide the curbside cleanup program because no waste hauler would bid on the program. A recycling event requires the partnership of other companies who have limited capacity. The City has, in the past, explored moving to a single-hauler system (one trash company contracted to serve the entire city, which, from the experience of other municipalities, comes with benefits such as periodic, free bulk item pickup and electronic recycling) but some citizens have not been in favor. We will continue to explore other options that meet the community's needs and interests. In the meantime, we encourage our residents to take advantage of the variety of recycling opportunities already available.

Mark Deven is the Arvada City Manager.

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