Recycling summit comes to Keystone |

Recycling summit comes to Keystone

Breeana Laughlin
Recycling bins on porch
Getty Images/Brand X | Brand X

Local businesses will showcase their strides toward sustainability at a statewide recycling conference in Summit County next week.

The Colorado Association for Recycling’s annual summit is a conference and exhibition that brings together the state’s recycling professionals.

High Country Conservation Center’s executive director Jen Schenk serves on the nonprofit’s board of directors.

“Our mission is to increase waste diversion in Colorado,” she said.

Although Colorado has a culture that’s privy to recycling, she said, the actual recycling rates are far below the national average. Colorado currently diverts about 16 percent of waste from landfills, compared with about 30 percent nationally.

“We have a long ways to go,” she said.

The recycling summit is a way to get everyone in the same room and talk about ways Colorado can increase its waste-diversion rates. Summit County representatives will be attending the conference to learn about what others are doing and to showcase programs of their own.

Business leaders from Mountain River Naturopathic Clinic, Summit Greasecycling, Peak Provisions, Deli on the Blue, Local Liquors and Red Buffalo Cafe will share their ideas in a session titled “Summit County’s Sustainable Business Network.”

“The outcomes have been superimpressive as far as what the businesses have been able to accomplish,” said Lynne Greene, HC3’s energy programs manager.

Red Buffalo Coffee owner Erin Young said she’s managed to decrease her waste stream by about 90 percent.

“Pretty much everything we hand over to a customers is compostable or recyclable,” she said.

HC3’s energy audit and waste reduction programs helped Young implement more sustainable practices.

“The transition has been really smooth,” Young said. “You don’t feel the impact, which is nice, but it’s good to know you are doing it.”

Summit County’s sustainable business programs can serve as an example to others, according to Greene.

“We often get calls from other nonprofits, cities and counties who are looking to help their businesses become more sustainable,” she said. “Our programs can be a potential model for their communities because it’s a pretty unique thing we have going here.”

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