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eco comb 400

eco comb 800

eco comb 1600

manual 385

eco tainer 300

Improved Recycling Containers in Denver, CO


Some of our recycling containers in Denver, CO


The large number of recycling categories (2 or 3 different colors of glass, paper, cans, bottles, etc.) imposes different demands on the design of the storage container. It must be extremely compact (space is a rare commodity these days!) and combine to form groups of any size. A group of 6 or 8 storage containers should not be perceived as a random, irregular jumble of receptacles, but as a visually appealing unit that blends into its surroundings.

The eco•comb system fulfills these two important criteria completely. It is based on the principle of the honeycomb, which is symbolic for compact design and outstanding stability. Its size and shape were developed for collecting recyclable materials closest to where people live, with the maximum possible coverage.





The collection system using eco•comb storage containers filled by individual households – preferably reinforced plastic containers with discharge flaps on the base, like eco•comb – has proven to be extremely economical during the many years they have been in use in Europe. No other system achieves such low collection costs per ton or per mile, regardless of material type.

The quality of the collected materials in the eco•comb system is excellent. This explains why the paper and hollow glass industries expressly recommend the storage container system. There are no sorting costs and the individual household doesn’t need to buy special collection bins. They require much less space and maneuvering area than set-down containers. More importantly, collection and changeover costs are substantially lower than with set-down skips, which have to be transported many miles to intermediate disposal points and returned when empty. The capacity of multi-chambered containers also leaves a lot to be desired.


by Ray Lariviere
South East & East Central Recycling Association Administrator

For a number of years beginning in the 1980’s, European countries adopted the ‘Container Discharge System’ as the primary method of collecting recyclable materials. For many reasons, this system was found to work better than other collection systems. This type of system did not become popular in North America until the 1990’s, when it was chosen by a group in southeast Colorado as the right system for their rural area.

In 1992, six small communities in four counties of southeast Colorado formed the Southeast Recycling Association. Since none of the individual communities were large enough to justify a processing center for recyclables by themselves, by banding together they felt they could increase the volume of materials enough to justify a processing center. The communities ranged in size from 8,600 to 58 in population, so the “Container Discharge System” was selected for use because by simply changing the size and/or number of the containers, we could modify the system to fit each community.

The first containers were put out during May of 1992. Once word had gone out that we were starting a recycling program in the area, we had a number of other communities that wanted to join the program, so by May, we had 33 sites in 21 communities in the program. We had purchased our fiberglass containers from C. F. Maier Composites of Lamar, CO, and had designed & built a semi- trailer for the collection vehicle, so the first collections started on June 9, 1992. We had also set up a processing center in Las Animas, CO., where Bent County had a small minimum-security prison. They were looking for some way to keep the prisoners occupied in a useful manner, so we developed an agreement to use some of the prisoners to operate the processing center. We agreed to pay the prisoners who worked at the center as well as the guard/supervisor to oversee the prisoners. During the first month we collected 220 cu yds of material of which 154 yds were old newspaper.

The Association purchased a horizontal baler to bale ONP, and steel or aluminum cans. We also obtained a magnetic can separator and a small front-end loader and forklift to move the materials around.

Over the next several years we had a number of other communities in the region that wanted to join the Recycling Association. As a result, by the end of 2002, after 10 years of operation, the Association had grown to 46 communities in 13 Counties of Colorado and several communities in one county in Kansas. The program now covers almost 40,000 sq. miles with a total population of approximately 100,000 people. The program now collects over 1,000 cu yds per month and has operated for 10 years at a yearly cost of less than $2.00 per person.

The South East & East Central Recycling Association has received numerous awards from the Southwest Public Recycling Association and the Colorado Association for Recycling for its program. The program has been replicated in Canada by Recycle Plus located in Grande Prairie, Alberta, whose program is currently covering over 50,000 sq. miles with a population of approximately 200,000. Also by the Headwaters Recycling program out of Basin, MT which covers 6 counties in Montana and parts of Yellowstone Park. There are also several smaller programs that cover one to four counties. If you would like to obtain a free video on this program, e-mail a request to or call 866-336-5948.


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