COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Only 22 states in the U.S. have at least one mandatory recycling requirement, and Colorado is not one of them.
The second most recycled item nationwide is corrugated cardboard, according to North East Recycling Council.
With a lot of Cyber Monday shopping going on, that means a lot of cardboard boxes making their way to porches in our area. The Colorado Association for Recycling is hoping to change the way you think about that cardboard box.
“We have a local group of folks who are working on diverting materials from the landfill,” association executive director Laurie Johnson said.
She said recycling materials is beneficial not only for our environment but also our economy.
“Recycling creates jobs, but it also closes the loop on what we are working for is a circular economy," Johnson said. "This material that we capture can be turned into products that we then again sell, and keep all that material moving through that circular economy, versus just burying it in a landfill."
Johnson is working with Colorado Springs City Council to create a cardboard disposal ban for Colorado Springs businesses.
“It’s saying you cannot dispose of cardboard into your trash,” Johnson said.
This makes typical trash a commodity.
“People think it’s just a cardboard box," Johnson said. "It’s not just a cardboard box. There is a lot of money in that cardboard box."
There's roughly $100 in one bale of cardboard, which is about $200 per ton. Right now, that's worth more than metal.
“It’s such a fluffy material that takes up a lot of space in a regular trash dumpster,” Brandy Dietz, General Manager of Colorado Industrial Recycling, said.
Proponents say when there is less trash, it costs the business less money and can serve as an incentive.
"They use the rebate money to pay for company picnics and other incentivizing programs for their employees, and it really helps them with boosting the company morale and really reinforcing why they recycle,” Dietz said.
The association is still working with city council members to get this ordinance passed. Nothing has been decided just yet. The group is modeling this plan after a similar ordinance in Fort Collins.