‘We only have one planet so we need to … take care of it.’
*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.
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.
“The largest impact on our land that I see is the daily waste routines of single stream waste disposal,” Becerril said. “This inspired me to develop a business to fulfill the need to efficiently separate compost, recycling, and waste before reaching the landfill.”
A cutting-edge education that opens doors
Last fall, the young Summit County entrepreneur decided to grow his capacity to create a greener world by enrolling in Colorado Mountain College’s new Bachelor of Arts in sustainability studies program. He feels that the experience and knowledge he’s gaining will significantly help his business grow.
“I find myself in a cutting-edge program that is teaching society about the repercussions and responsibilities that we must hold to preserve our future,” he said. “It (the degree) has opened up a lot of doors for me, not only in the business sector but also just being a professional within my community. You’re able to just flourish and be who you want to be in that program.”
In the summer of 2011, Becerril and business partner Ethan Mason started Faction as part of a three-month pilot partnership in composting with the Summit County government and the High Country Conservation Center. Both had just completed the Master Mountain Composter class, a program co-hosted by the High Country Conservation Center and Colorado Mountain College. In class, they learned that Summit County residents wanted to compost, but there was no transportation system in place to support it. They decided to fill in the gap.
In the pilot project, Summit County residents who signed on were able to drop off their food scraps and non-recyclable paper waste at the Frisco Recycling Center for a cost of $51 for the entire summer, and Faction and Company took care of it from there. Sixty residents participated, and the partners hope the program can expand to Breckenridge this summer. After the three-month pilot project ended, Faction continued on as a for-profit company dedicated to continuing to keep compost and other recyclables out of the landfill.
“I hope that our society realizes the effects of resource depletion before its too late,” he said. “We only have one planet so we need to love what we have and take care of it.”
Read the full story at Colorado Mountain College’s eNews online.