Cardboard Compactor

Mayor Burke & Clear Creek Disposal Cut Ribbon on Cardboard Compactor on February 1, 2022

Cardboard Compactor | City of Hailey, Idaho
Cardboard Compactor | City of Hailey, Idaho

HAILEY, ID – Hailey Mayor Burke and Clear Creek Disposal cut the ribbon to open operations of Hailey’s cardboard compactor, located at the Hailey Park & Ride Lot at River and Bullion Streets. The installation was part of a series of decisions made last summer to clean up the recycling program in Hailey, exchanging the massive row of constantly overflowing cardboard dumpsters with a single cardboard compactor.

Volunteers from the Wood River Valley Climate Action Coalition have spent time since Christmas at the park & ride lot answering questions about the new compactor and cardboard recycling in general. One of the issues they discovered is that many boxes, whether collapsed or still intact, contain packing materials. Plastics and Styrofoam cannot be recycled with the cardboard.

If packing material hidden inside a cardboard box is placed into the bins, the load of cardboard will be rejected as contaminated. The extra costs of hauling the cardboard separately from other trash is wasted and the environmental cost is not reduced, but increased. So much cardboard contamination has been discovered that the City and Clear Creek have made a decision to monitor the site through video surveillance. It is only acceptable to leave cardboard and glass at the River/Bullion recycling site. We placed a 6-inch slot in the compactor for people to use when the compactor door is locked. The slot will accept cardboard at all times, but the compactor door will be unlocked and operational only during a limited time-period each day during which volunteers or staff can be present to oversee the proper use of the larger door. Outside of that time period, people may place their cardboard into the slot.

The compactor saves money and carbon emissions. Residential rates include $2.00 per month for cardboard and glass hauling from Hailey to the Blaine County Recycling Center, a lower price than was in our old rates.

The Hailey City Council also changed the rate structure to reward recycling in other ways. When customers divert recyclable materials from their trash cart to their blue bins (paper, plastic, and tin) or reduce their trash by utilizing the cardboard compactor and glass dumpster, they may save enough space in their trash cart to be able to order a smaller cart.

These smaller carts are less expensive overall due to size, and the price per gallon is also less. But don’t go too small: Clear Creek reports that their largest increase in billing is due to overflow charges on trash carts stuffed too full. If the trash cart lid is not fully closed, an overflow charge will be applied. Those add up, as does the debris pulled out by wildlife and dogs.

Cardboard Recycling Volunteer | City of Hailey, Idaho
Cardboard Compactor Volunteers | CIty of Hailey, Idaho