About

Sustainable Crested Butte was born from hope. Our mountain paradise at the end of the road is beautiful and wild, but also fragile. We each have the opportunity to make choices, big and small, every day to help keep our home a paradise. Whether you live here full-time, part-time, or are just passing through on a visit, we invite you to join our community of individuals working to protect this paradise and our planet.

You have the power to be the change we need.

Our Mission and Vision

We are Sustainable Crested Butte, the Gunnison Valley organization that empowers individuals and organizations with the knowledge and tools they need to live more sustainably.

Our mission is to promote environmental sustainability in the Gunnison Valley through education, advocacy, public outreach, resources, and community initiatives.

Our vision is to accelerate Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley’s transformation into a model of global environmental action. Through our advocacy and programs, we empower visitors and community members to champion environmental sustainability.

Early Sustainable CB members, including founder Benjamin Swift.

Our Beginnings

In 2015, Crested Butte Community School student Benjamin Swift decided to take a stand. Motivated by studying environmental issues, his work at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, and by movies such as Bag It, Benjamin launched his “Plastic Bag Free CB” campaign. There were two main components to his mission:

  1. Seeking grant funding to buy reusable cloth bags which were given away in exchange for donations in stores in town; and
  2. Lobbying the Crested Butte Town Council to pass a plastic bag ban.

Benjamin’s initial idea inspired a movement. His efforts to encourage greater environmental responsibility gained momentum. A governing body was formed and we renamed ourselves “Sustainable Crested Butte” to reflect all the environmental efforts we planned to tackle beyond a plastic bag ban.

In August of 2016, Crested Butte’s Town Council passed an ordinance banning single-use plastic bags in Town. The ban went into full effect on September 1, 2018.

Our Continued Efforts

After our initial success in transforming the conversation around single-use plastic bags in town, we looked for ways to expand. We quickly found opportunities everywhere!

Recognizing that special events are a huge part of Crested Butte’s community culture, we launched our Waste-Free Events program in 2016 to empower those events to dramatically reduce their use of single-use plastic. This flagship program has only grown since then, with event partners diverting over 70,000 pieces of single-use trash between 2016 and 2019. Learn more about how to host your own waste-free event.

We also raised money to install two water bottle filling stations in town. The next time you’re on Elk Avenue, remember to bring your own water bottle with you. You can fill up at the bus stops at either end of Elk at the 4-way or Old Town Hall. We have more water bottle filling stations planned. Learn more and support our work.

What’s Next?

While continuing to support sustainability efforts and empower Gunnison Valley residents and visitors to live more sustainably, we’re also itching to get back into policy. It’s where our efforts started, advocating on behalf of our planet to reduce plastic bag use. We supported the Town of Crested Butte with the development of its Climate Action Plan and are leading the way with parts of the ongoing implementation. We’ll be ramping up our policy and advocacy efforts over the next several years and hope you’ll join us in raising your voice to fight for our planet. Check out our Advocacy page and follow us on social media to keep up to date on our work.