Monday, March 11th, 2019

Landfill Cleanup


by Mark Jacobi

We'd like to engage you the reader in a project that we are sponsoring. Orient Land Trust resides in Saguache County and the trash and recycling that is left with us by our guests ultimately ends up at our County Landfill. Currently, last year's recycling has backed up to a very large degree. The main reason for this is that the market for recycling has rather quickly dried up. China is no longer taking or buying our American-generated debris. As a result, our refuse has "stockpiled", without a market and is in need of a solution.

Luckily, a solution is at hand. A Valley organization, the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council has organized four Landfill Cleanup Days. OLT believes in recycling and has in fact paid for its collection perpetually, and feels a real obligation to contribute to the smooth functioning of our County's infrastructure. Therefore, we are sponsoring one of the cleanup days, Saturday April 20th (2019). If you are staying with us during that weekend and/ or if you would wish to contribute your labor to this noble venture, we would like to encourage you to help us with this cleanup. What we gather will be put on a special truck destined for a MRF (Materials Recovery Facility) Site in the Denver area where all our collected debris will be separated and marketed. We will not have to sort at our landfill, only gather and throw into a designated container. OLT intends to provide food for all volunteers.

Recycling represents a larger issue in our modern age. We enjoy a packaging industry that protects us from many consequences. These packages need to be recognized for the resource that they are instead of the stigma of "trash" that they are relegated presently. This cycle must be closed so that less and less of this ever ends at a landfill but instead is processed back into their raw materials for use again and again. This is responsible stewardship of our mutual wealth.

Please join us on April 20th from 10 AM-4 PM at the Saguache County Landfill, bring a friend, and enjoy the following press release from the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council.

Best to All!!


The more the merrier at the Saguache County Landfill!

By Christine Canaly, Director, San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council

We have an opportunity to redirect recyclables (mostly plastics, estimated at about 60 tons), sitting next to the landfill cell, and hand toss it into a container that can be transported out of Saguache County to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Denver.
The schedule for recycle removal at Saguache County Landfill is as follows:

  • Event 1: Saturday, February 16, 2019 15 tons total clean up
  • Event 2: Saturday, March 9, 2019 15 tons total clean up
  • Event 3: Saturday, March 23, 2019 15 tons total clean up
  • Event 4 : Saturday, April 20, 2019 15 tons total clean up

Cleans ups will take place 10-4 PM all Saturdays. We will arrange car pools. You will be receiving more specific information once you sign up. (Thanks to all those who have already volunteered, please invite others, especially the young, over 18 and restless!)

Please join in on the fun and make a difference by redirecting these disposables out of the landfill so the material can be reused. Please e-mail: to sign up for a clean up day, or call: (719) 589-1518.

Saguache County is a few months away from filling up its current "cell", a name used to describe the large hole in the ground that is functioning as a disposal for the continual burying of mostly residential waste. Two years ago, the County, using a consultant, contracted out the possibility of keeping recyclables out of the "cell" (to maintain its longevity), with the intention of redistributing the recyclables to a "MRF", a Materials Recovery Facility, where it would be properly reprocessed.

A lot has changed nationwide regarding the possibility of repurposing "recycling material" since January 2017. First, a new President took office. China, who was on the forefront of procuring the majority of recycled material from the United States, stopped taking it. This has put industries around the Country in turmoil and there is currently baled recyclables sitting in stock piles in several locations nationwide.


Most municipalities now have to pay to have recycling removed, it is no longer a break even proposition. This brings us to the current situation with Saguache County landfill. There are approximately 100 tons of recycled material sitting outside of the Saguache County landfill "cell". The San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council (SLVEC), along with Zero Waste Services, have taken on the task to redirect these recyclables to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Denver. We have already found a home for the scrape metal and glass, but now we need to focus on the plastics.

This is where you can participate. We estimate it will take approximately 4,000 volunteer hours (our goal is to get 100 volunteers) to redirect this current landfill site back to some semblance of normalcy.

We are not alone! There will be support from Saguache County, waste haulers, equipment contractors, recycling contractors and a host of other interested businesses.

We can complete this task and have real impact on the longevity/reuse of our resources. This is what environmentalism looks like in the 21st century, reduce, reuse, recycle. We can use this precarious situation as an important opportunity to redirect the future risks of our landfill and learn about next steps to connect our County waste/recycle material to a hub and spoke model of regional waste reduction and recycling.

For more information about the 2017 SLV Waste Diversion and Recycling Study, to further regional cooperation (hub and spoke model), conceptualized by the SLV Ecosystem Council, Conejos Clean Water and the SLV Solid Waste Task Force, please go to:

Please stay tuned!

Last modified on Monday, 11 March 2019 07:31

For the education, enjoyment, and well-being of current and future generations, Orient Land Trust: 
promotes a positive clothing-optional experience at all properties including Valley View Hot Springs, Orient Mine and Everson Ranch;
preserves the viewshed, including land acquisition; 
protects natural, wild, agricultural, and historic resources, in the northern San Luis Valley.