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The Trends and Troubles of What You Toss

The Trends and Troubles of What You Toss

MESA COUNTY, Colo. - We're running out of time and space at the Mesa County Landfill. It will be around 25 years until the landfill is completely full. Many people are digging through the trash all week, searching for a solution.

The Mesa County Landfill applied for a grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and they received almost $90,000 for a Waste Characterization Study. The grant applied to Mesa, Montrose, Gunnison, and Delta counties.

Many volunteers are giving their own time to learn more about our waste habits. One of them is Mary Hertert, who is volunteering four out of the six days of the study. She said there ought to be incentives to recycle, and hopes other residents will join her in the study. "Just spend a couple of hours doing this, because it's amazing what happens when you see it," said Hertert.

At this point, the final numbers have not been calculated. Those behind the study have done three others around Colorado, and made comparisons to what they saw in those landfills and what they found in the Mesa County Landfill. They said these studies should encourage people to reuse, recycle, or compost. "Think about what you purchase, think about packaging, and then think, when you throw things in the trash, think about what you're throwing away," said Winn Cowman, the project manager and scientist for Souder Miller & Associates.

In total, the study will have rummaged through around 4,800 pounds of trash this week. "When we're looking at 160 tons a year, it's a tiny tiny snapshot," said Jennifer Richardson, the solid waste operations manager at the Mesa County Landfill.

For Hertert, this study is all about extending the lifetime of the landfill. "Until we know what we're collecting, we don't know what we can solve," said Hertert.

We will know the results of this study in the fall, and KREX 5 News will keep you updated.

There will be another Waste Characterization Study in Mesa County in the fall. If you would like more information, or to volunteer for any of the studies, call the Mesa County Landfill at (970) 241-6846.

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