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Ski gear recycling program to expand

Old boards, boots being re-purposed

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Your old snowboard may end up somewhere other than the landfill, thanks to an expanding recycling program spearheaded by SnowSports Industries America. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Thanks to some grant funding from Colorado and the persistence of industry partners and stakeholders, SnowSports Industries America says it hopes to expand its equipment recycling program with new locations in Boise, Reno, Albuquerque and Phoenix.

The grant funds were recently used to purchase additional equipment needed for the six-step process of separating, reducing down and re-purposing the collected equipment into a material used in construction, landscaping, furniture and fixtures.

SIA created the Snow Sports Recycling Program looking to reduce environmental impact, conserve natural resources and encourage sustainable design within the snow sports industry.  Plus, there’s an added incentive for snow sports retailers — approximately 67 percent of consumers dropping off equipment make some form of purchase, giving retailers a good reason to get involved. Continue reading

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Summit County: Colorado Mountain College student turns his passion for recycling into a local business startup

‘We only have one planet so we need to … take care of it.’

Erick Becerril at the Frisco Recycling Center. PHOTO COURTESY KATE LAPIDES.

*Editor’s note: Under an informal content-sharing arrangement, we’ll occasionally be posting articles and blog posts about and by Colorado Mountain College students.

By Colorado Mountain College

SUMMIT COUNTY — Erick Becerril wants to get his hands on your garbage.

If that seems odd and unsavory, consider the context. Becerril, at age 23, is the enthusiastic founder of a Summit County waste diversion business called Faction and Company. His business takes care of waste from residential and small commercial clients by ensuring that separated compostable materials, standard recycling, and reusable items end up in the right place.

For Becerril, the right place for waste is getting it composted and upcycled — the process of converting old products into new ones in order to repurpose them for new uses — as much as possible. Hence, Becerril’s passion for your leftovers, whether they are last year’s skis or kitchen table, or, even better, last night’s Pad Thai. Since the EPA estimates that more than 60 percent of the municipal solid waste that ends up in landfills is organic material comprised of food scraps, yard trimmings, paper and paperboard, Becerril is especially keen to expand his compost efforts to ensure that your organic waste never meets the landfill at all. Continue reading

Expanded recycling touted for job-creation potential

More recycling could create jobs, according to a coalition of conservation and labor groups.

Groups eye ban on disposal of electronics in landfills

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Recycling 75 percent of the nation’s waste would create nearly 1.5 million jobs by 2030 while significantly reducing pollution, saving water and energy, and building economically strong and healthy communities, according to a new study released this week by leading labor and environmental groups.

The national report,More Jobs, Less Pollution, was released as part of a series of nationwide events celebrating National Recycling Day with events taking place in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cleveland, Austin, Houston, and Washington, D.C.

“We are thrilled to see the release of this important and comprehensive report,” said Marjorie Griek, executive director of the Colorado Association for Recycling. “We are currently looking at legislation that would institute a ban on the disposal of electronic devices in our landfills, which will increase our recycling rate here in Colorado. This would protect our environment from the harmful toxics contained in some electronic devices, and also create more jobs in Colorado in the recycling, reuse, repair and remanufacturing fields.”

The report also shows that, while the vast majority of municipal solid waste nationwide can be readily recycled, re-used, or composted, only 33 percent is currently diverted from disposal, and only 30 percent of the 178 million tons of construction and demolition debris is recycled.

Most waste is still sent to landfills and incinerators. A national recycling and composting goal of 75 percent waste-diversion rate by 2030, would create local jobs, save resources like water, and reduce pollution and other environmental pollutants that harm human health. Continue reading

Summit County may ban trash ‘exports’

Should recycling pay its own way?

Recycling and diversion operations facing serious budget crunch; new licensing requirements for trash haulers could “stem the bleeding”

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Facing dwindling revenues at the landfill, Summit County may set up a licensing program for trash haulers and enact so-called flow-control measures that would make it illegal for haulers to ship waste out of the county.

The landfill portion of the solid waste program is self-supporting, but the recycling operation can’t function without a $400,000 annual subsidy from the landfill. The entire program has seen its budget cut from $4.7 million down to $3.8 million per year.

Assistant county manager Thad Noll said that more and more trash is being sent to the Front Range, where landfills can charge less because they’re not supporting diversion programs like electronics collection, household hazardous waste and recycling.

“Zero waste doesn’t mean taking the trash somewhere else,” Noll said, referring to the county’s stated policy goal of reducing the overall waste stream. Continue reading

Environment: A truce in the disposable bag wars?

Lawsuit settled, both sides claim victory, but environmental issues remain

A plastic bag caught in the wind ends up in an aspen grove. PHOTO BY JENNEY COBERLY.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — While some local governments have been wrestling with ways to control single-use plastic bags, the battle has also been waged on a national front, most recently in a lawsuit filed by plastic bag producers against the ChicoBag Company, a California-based manufacturer of reusable bags.

Three companies — Hilex Poly Company, Superbag Operating, and Advance Polybag, Inc. — sued ChicoBag over statements on the company’s website, which cited widely accepted statistics on the impacts of plastic bags. The same three companies have also sued local jurisdictions over bag bans and fees. They claimed that the statements on ChicoBag’s website were false and misleading, and had resulted in “irreparable harm” to their companies.

The suit was dropped last week when both sides agreed to make some changes in the way they present information about the impacts of plastic bags. The agreement resulted in an undisclosed settlement payment to Hilex Poly. Continue reading

Summit County launches residential compost pilot program

Turn your household waste into a rich organic soil amendment with Summit County's composting program. PHOTO BY FLICKR USER normanack, VIA THE CREATIVE COMMONS.

County commissioners to discuss compost program at May 10 work session

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — County recycling experts reckon that at least 40 percent of the area’s residential household waste stream is compostable, and they hope to capture at least part of that material with pilot residential composting program that’s already open for sign-ups on the High Country Conservation Center website.

The composting program will be discussed May 10 at the morning county commissioner work session.

Initially, the drop-off composting program will be limited to a couple of day per week because it has to be staffed, said assistant county manager Thad Noll. That also means people will have to pay for the service, at least to begin with, he said. Continue reading

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