Garfield and Eagle are among five counties in northwest Colorado that are working together to reduce their trash, and the first step is learning what’s now in the garbage.
Eagle County received a grant from the state to study how it might better divert trash from landfills. The first step was to coordinate with other counties in the region and study what exactly people are throwing away.
Winn Cowman is with the consulting company that’s working on the study. She said the biggest source of trash headed to regional landfills is food. The study shows that this accounts for an average of more than 20 percent of garbage.
“A lot of food is wasted every year," Cowman said. "There are ways to get that food to people who will eat it rather than put it in the landfill.”
Plastic packaging is another common source of unnecessary trash in landfills. It is becoming more difficult to recycle low-grade plastics, and Cowman advises consumers to avoid them.
She and her colleagues will present the findings from waste audits, surveys and their analysis when all the counties meet Wednesday in Gypsum. From there, local groups can begin to work on solutions.