Pete Seeger wrote a song in the late 1950’s that was made popular by the group, The Byrds, which starts with the following lyrics: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”
This song has been rattling around in my head for the past few weeks as the District continues to evaluate and work towards a recycling option for the community that the Solid Waste District serves. The center is located on an industrial piece of land which has served over time the Grand County Road Department, Grand County Weeds Department, Moab Mosquito Abatement District, the Canyonlands Community Recycling and the Solid Waste District. The tonnages that have been received, processed and shipped through the recycling center have steadility increased over time to where over 1400 tons of material was received in 2017. There have been no significant upgrades to the infrastructure although changes have been made in the operations. In 2018, the District has suffered personnel shortages, similar to many businesses and entities throughout our community. Compounding our difficulties are limited transportation available to ship materials to markets, if markets are available. Then the impact from China has created some of the biggest chaos in the industry in decades. All these items plus the cyclical nature of our tourism industry impacts on the region, have create a situation in which we have been unable to catch up and clean up.
We are at a major crossroads in how to proceed. Changes will be coming in 2019 although we are still trying to determine what and how much will change. For the immediate future, we are cleaning up the back area and processing the stockpiled plus incoming material. We are continuing to assess how to reconfigure the operations to include the receiving/drop off area, commodities to be taken, hours of operation, improved storage of processed material to expedite material sent off site for recycling or repurposing. Some folks have been asking if the District would be the host site for an industrial food waste composting operation which would be enclosed. Other folks are asking if we close the recycling center down can it be repurposed to a resource center for entrepreneurs developing value added products supporting local sustainability. and sustainability locally.
As we make the decisions for 2019 and beyond, we will be remodeling the recycling center later this fall. This will require us to temporarily shut down the facility to public traffic for short period of time. The center will continue to work with Green Solutions, Monument Waste or other commercial accounts during a shut down. The goal is to improve safety for staff and customers and enhance the operational efficiency of the Center while taking into account our limited personnel and financial resources in the context of the changing world of recycling.
Not only is there a season and a time to every purpose under the heavens, as sung by the Byrds, we are also on a cusp of a change similar to what we sang in “The Time They are A-Changing”. I am thankful we have a resilient, flexible community over all that is willing to listen, to challenge, to change, to adapt.