With good reason, a lot of news about the environment can be disheartening. Greenhouse gas emissions are rising and single-use plastic waste fills our oceans. It’s not completely hopeless. Crested Butte has stepped up and developed a Climate Action Plan. Waste Management, the City of Gunnison, Gunnison County, and several other entities offer fairly wide recycling in the Gunnison Valley. We’ve created this resource to help you figure out how to properly recycle or dispose of waste.
In addition to offering trash pick-up, Waste Management also offers residential curbside recycling pick-up in the North Valley. Residential pick-up days are Tuesdays in Crested Butte South, Wednesdays in Mt. Crested Butte, and Thursdays in Crested Butte. Their “Recycle Often, Recycle Right” website has a lot of great resources for both home and business.
Waste Management Curbside Pick-Up
- Glass: Bottles & Jars of any color. Remove lids and toss those in, too!
- Aluminum, Tin, or Steel Cans: Pet food cans, coffee containers, canned veggies, etc. These are accepted, crushed or not.
- Plastics #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7. Any RIGID container stamped #1-7 can go in the bin EXCEPT those listed under Unacceptable Plastics below.
Unacceptable plastics include:
- Wide-mouth containers (e.g. butter and cottage cheese tubs)
- Yogurt Containers
- Clear Clamshells
- Personal care/prescription bottles
- Flower and Garden pots
- Nalgene bottles
- Food trays or party platters, even if stamped #1-7 (the main issue here is food contamination, if these items are rigid AND 100% clean, then they should be okay)
- Shrink Wrap or Saran Wrap
- Plastic Bags
- Automotive chemical containers, including motor oil and anti-freeze bottles
- Pesticide Containers
- Styrofoam Containers
- Compostable bottles or cups marked “compostable”
- Paper Goods
- Magazines & phone books
- Mixed office paper: this includes inserts, ledger paper, computer paper, copy and fax paper, index cards, white and pastel colors, receipts, manila file folders, envelopes (windows ok), and junk mail
- Corrugated cardboard
Unacceptable items include:
- Craft paper, paper towels, cafeteria waste, fluorescent papers, or non-corrugated cardboard
- Take-out coffee cups
- Frozen entrée microwave trays
- Styrofoam containers
- Compostable bottles or cups marked “compostable”
Riverland Transfer Station
The Riverland Waste Management Transfer Station also offers recycling drop-off between 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM Monday through Friday. If you have an account with them, there is no charge for this service. If you do not have an account, there is a small cost per bin of recycling and you can pay with a check. The same sorting rules apply to drop off as curbside pickup.
City of Gunnison
The City of Gunnison provides regular refuse and recycling collection services once a week. All city residents pay for this service in their monthly utility bill.
Allowable recycling includes:
- Corrugated cardboard: Flatten out boxes. No wax-coated cardboard (e.g. half gallon juice/milk cartons), and no tubes. Please make sure to remove everything that is not cardboard from inside of boxes.
- Aluminum cans: Please only put aluminum cans in bins. Pie pans, aluminum foil, etc. are NOT recyclable.
- Tin cans: No lids or steel cans.
- #1 and #2 Plastics: Other numbered plastics are not accepted. No plastic bags, yogurt containers, or plastic hangers.
- Clear, brown, and green glass bottles and jars: Glass coke bottles are not clear glass. No tinted or colored glass included with clear. Remove all caps/corks. No household cups or dishes.
- Newspaper/White paper: Place newspaper and white paper in a separate bin. No books.
The City of Gunnison Tree Dump is open seasonally (spring through fall) Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9 AM-3PM. For a small fee ($8 per pick-up or small trailer load and $16 per trailer over 8 feet), they will accept the following items:
- Tree limbs
- Wood (excluding plywood)
- Barnyard waste (excluding baled hay)
- Asphalt and concrete (except when it contains rebar or wire mesh)
Check out their website or call 970-641-8020 for more information.
The City of Gunnison Public Works Department has offered electronics recycling of many items in the past. This service is suspended at this time due to concerns about limiting COVID Exposure. Their website offers additional information on the service and some alternative places for electronics recycling at the moment.
Gunnison County Recycling Center
Located at 195 Basin Park Drive (just west of the Gunnison Airport), the Gunnison County Recycling Center offers another FREE recycling option.
You may drop off the following items 24 hours per day, 7 days per week at the recycling center:
- Aluminum Cans
- Corrugated Cardboard: No waxed cardboard is allowed
- Brown, green, and clear glass: Remove lids and plastic or metal rings.
- Magazines and catalogs: Includes magazines and catalogs with glued and stapled backs; no phone books.
- Newspaper: Including all supplements from the paper.
- Most Office Paper: Must be delivered to the Recycling Center between Monday through Friday, 8 AM-4 PM, while an attendant is on duty. Paper may be brought in bags, boxes or containers that you empty and reuse. May include all office papers except: Neon bright papers, Manila envelopes, Paper with excessive amounts of red ink. Copied items that are mostly black
- Number 1 and 2 plastics: Rinsed and smashed.
- Tin and steel cans: Remove paper labels and rinse cans.
Proper Disposal of Other Household Items
Several businesses and organizations offer ways to dispose of other common household items. We have them sorted by type of item below:
- Ace Hardware/RadioShack in Gunnison
- True Value in Gunnison
- Six Points
- Project Hope (509 W Virginia Ave #2– smart phones only)
- Gunnison Post Office
- RadioShack in Gunnison
- True Value in Gunnison
- Napa Auto Parts (car batteries and clean motor oil)
Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs)
- Ace Hardware in Gunnison
- GCEA Offices
- Waste Management Riverland Transfer Station
- Annual Drop-off locations in the spring at the Gunnison County Recycling Center, Gunnison Savings & Loan, and at the CB 4-Way Stop
- Anything reusable can be posted in the Gunnison Country Shopper or on Gunnison Freecycle
- True Value in Gunnison and Sherwin Williams will take paint that is still liquid
Plastic Bags & Films
- Clean plastic grocery bags, sandwich bags, plastic wrap, and some other plastic packaging (remove any paper including mailing labels) can be recycled in the bin in the entryway of City Market in Gunnison.
While we don’t currently know of a way to recycle mattresses locally, matressnerd.com does offer tips on state-by-state mattress recycling and disposal options.
If the item you need to recycle isn’t listed anywhere on here, check out our Recycle Train. While we work to facilitate the creation of a CHaRM Facility (Center for Hard to Recycle Materials) here in the Gunnison Valley, we have a stopgap measure in place currently and we’re looking at expanding our programming.
The Gunnison County Recycle Community group on Facebook has a lot of expertise on recycling. If you have questions about recycling in the Gunnison Valley, you can get a lot of really good crowd-sourced information that way.
EcoCycle in Boulder, CO is a statewide leader in terms of recycling in Colorado. They have a lot of great resources and we even utilize their CHaRM facility for our Recycle Train project. Check out their “How to Quit Plastics” workbook for tips on how to refuse plastic in your own life.