A recycling task force is jumping through the bureaucratic hoops to get federal funds to develop the state's first comprehensive recycling program.

In their latest move, members of the Canyonlands Recycling Task Force asked the state this week for tax-exempt status as a non-profit organization of Grand County.Lisa Wolfson, task force coordinator, said the group needs to be recognized as an official county committee to qualify as a potential recipient of a Community Development Block Grant.

Canyonlands Recycling and the Office of Community and Economic Development of Grand County are co-applicants for $31,000 in block grant funds available for 1991 from the Utah Department of Community and Economic Development.

Wolfson and Bette Stanton, director of county economic development, told county commissioners this week the application will be ready before Feb. 1, the deadline for submitting block grant project proposals to the Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments.

Among materials the task force is compiling are results from a survey in which 1,046 people said they were in favor of a communitywide recycling program.

"The survey we did was 98 percent positive, even if it costs the county money to start it up," said Wolfson.

Canyonlands Recycling submitted a six-phase plan intended to divert up to 50 percent of the waste away from the city-county landfill.

The 22-acre landfill east of town serves 6,500 county residents year-round and an additional 2,000 tourists about half the year, according to a task force fact sheet.

At the current rate of dumping, the life of the landfill will range from five to 10 years, according to estimates in a recycling feasibility study published last year by the Grand County Chapter of the Utah League of Women Voters.

The county is mandated by state law to develop, within 18 months, a comprehensive solid waste management plan that spells out how the county will handle its garbage for 20 years, the task force said.

Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected this year to release new and stricter regulations on landfills, which may shut down 80 percent of the garbage dumps in Utah.

"Since the Grand County landfill does not even meet current state standards, it is very likely that our landfill will meet the newer, more stringent requirements," Wolfson wrote in the block grant application.

Organizers hope the program would be taken over by private interests within five years.

By then, the system would include a main drop-off station, one or two collection bins downtown and at other sites, curbside collection in Moab, and pickup service at offices, restaurants, bars, hotels, tour companies, and other businesses that produce large quantities of recyclable waste.

Initial collecting of glass, cardboard, aluminum cans and computer paper would eventually expand to include plastics, tin cans, carpet padding, white and colored ledger paper and yard waste.