For a small, rural community, we actually have good recycling infrastructure. Between Waste Management, the City of Gunnison, Gunnison County, and the efforts of local businesses and organizations to provide recycling and disposal of many items, we’re in decent shape.
However, there are tons of materials that cannot be recycled at facilities here and that is a big problem. The Gunnison County Energy, Materials, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory from 2015 forecasts landfill greenhouse gas emissions will grow 21% between 2015 and 2030, a greater percentage growth than every other sector studied except ground transportation. Luckily, many big institutions in the Gunnison Valley are invested in finding a solution to our waste problems. With those institutions, including Western Colorado University, Vail Resorts, and the Town of Crested Butte, we hope to facilitate the building of an industrial composting and hard-to-recycle materials facility here in the Gunnison Valley.
Like many small organizations in the Gunnison Valley, we’re good at figuring out interim solutions as we work towards our bigger goals. We have come up with a few programs to help us meet the demand for recycling while we partner with others to solve the bigger problem of how to build a composting and recycling facility in Gunnison County.
For now, we’ve partnered with local businesses and volunteers to recycle materials that would otherwise go to the landfill in Doyleville. The Crested Butte Rotary Club gave us grant funding to pilot the program with local retailers. We call it the “Recycle Train.”
Participating local businesses, including The Alpineer, Flatiron Sports, The Mountain Store, and Chopwood Mercantile, collect all of their hard-to-recycle items. Our volunteers pick them up from the participating businesses and take them to a Sustainable CB storage facility. Then, volunteers who are driving to Boulder for other reasons agree to take the items in their vehicles to the Eco-Cycle CHaRM (Center for Hard to Recycle Materials) Facility. Individuals can participate as well. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask how to get your hard-to-recycle stuff on the Recycle Train.
“Sustainable CB has been great for Chopwood Mercantile! In the past we have spent considerable money and resources shipping our plastic to California for recycling. Now that we can recycle locally, I feel much better that we are doing our best to support our little valley and a local charity.”Lisa Cramton, Owner, Chopwood Mercantile
Recycle Train Expanding!
Start saving up your used bike tires, your plastic film, and more! In summer 2021, we’ll be opening up the Recycle Train to everyone in the Gunnison Valley! We haven’t worked out all of the details yet, but starting in July, we’ll have monthly drop off days for hard-to-recycle-materials. For a small fee, you can recycle many of the items the local recycling center and Waste Management won’t take. Follow us on Facebook for information on the new, expanded Recycle Train program.
Interim Local Recycling Center
In addition to the Recycle Train we plan to offer recycling for hard to recycle materials in a to-be-determined location. We’ll provide a mini recycling center for everything from snack packaging to fabrics and more by using TerraCycle boxes. Locals and visitors can collect their hard to recycle materials and drop them off during set hours. Then when we fill up the boxes, we’ll ship them off to TerraCycle.
We are currently seeking grant funding and a location for this project, but would be happy to launch it with private donations. If you are interested in helping fund our interim recycling center, please email us at email@example.com.