SLASH RECYCLING

Tom Galvin throws branches from the bed of his truck into a pile at Rocky Top Resources on Jan. 14, 2017. After the wind storm, Galvin had to cut down a nearly 40-foot tree in his yard because of splitting and safety concerns. Rocky Top Resources accepted tree debris for free today if people brought non-perishable food to donate.

After years of providing a free service, the Rocky Top Resources wood recycling facility will start charging residents $5 to receive yard waste beginning Jan. 1, county officials said.

Through a partnership with El Paso County, the program has helped 174,000 residents remove their yard debris and divert it from local landfills over the last 10 years, in exchange for a donation to Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, officials said in a press release Monday. The organic material is converted to mulch and reused.

But due to “rising costs and expanded use of the program,” the service will now cost $5 to cover the expenses of running the program.

“The program has grown by 10% almost every year,” said Kathy Andrew, El Paso County Environmental Division manager. “This year was even bigger because of all downed branches and trees from the Bomb Cyclone in March.”

Cash or check donations to Care and Share are still encouraged, but not required. Rocky Top Resources will no longer accept any food as donations, the release stated.

The program runs every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Rocky Top Resources, 1755 E. Las Vegas Street. There, you can also recycle your Christmas tree in January.

The following organic waste from households is accepted:

Branches (not exceeding 8 feet in length or 8 inches in diameter)

Leaves

Weeds

Grass clippings

Plant prunings

Fruit and vegetable trimmings

The following is not accepted:

Railroad ties

Treated lumber

Tree stumps

Household trash

Reach Olivia at olivia.prentzel@gazette.com. Twitter: @oliviaprentzel

Reach Olivia at olivia.prentzel@gazette.com.

Twitter: @oliviaprentzel

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