Recycling a way of life at Keystone Resort |

Recycling a way of life at Keystone Resort

KEYSTONE – Many ski resorts have recycling programs, but Dylan Hoffman believes Keystone’s program sets the industry standard.

Hoffman is Keystone’s environmental coordinator. For him and Dave November, Keystone’s environmental technician, recycling is a full-time job.

All Colorado Ski Country USA resorts, including Keystone, have a mission to create unique programs to enhance environmental awareness, according to the Colorado Ski Country Web site. At Keystone, the environmental department focuses on waste reduction through recycling.

According to Hoffman, Keystone’s recycling program is more extensive than those at other resorts.

“No matter where you are on the mountain, we have accessible recycling,” he said.

Keystone has about 60 collection sites, including those on the mountain.

“A lot of places have a centralized drop-off location,” Hoffman said. “That certainly works, but if you move to curbside recycling collections, the ease of recycling is much better. If you have 50 drop-offs versus two or three, it’s much more convenient for the recycler.”

In the recycling business, convenience translates into increased participation. And that increases the percentage of waste diverted from the landfill – Hoffman’s and November’s main goal.

Last year they diverted about 25 percent of the waste at Keystone. A large part of their success is because they educate both resort employees and guests, they said.

“I think education is the key,” November said. “You can put the bins out, but if people don’t understand how to use them properly, it’s going to be an ineffective program.”

Keystone recycles all the staple materials such as aluminum, tin, glass, plastic, paper, cardboard and magazines. But Hoffman and November don’t stop there. They also recycle scrap metals, electronic equipment, appliances, florescent light bulbs, batteries, aerosol cans, Christmas trees – even tennis balls.

When Hoffman and November realized dog owners often buy new tennis balls for their pets to fetch, the two came up with a way to reduce the waste. Now they collect the used tennis balls from Keystone’s tennis courts and take them to Carter Park in Breckenridge – a park popular with dogs and their owners.

That Hoffman and November have come up with a method to reuse tennis balls illustrates their continuing effort to come up with new and creative ways to reduce waste.

Though the amount of waste produced at Keystone increases each year, so does the amount it recycles. Last year, for example, Keystone recycled more than 1,354 tons – an increase of about 100 tons from the year before. Hoffman and November hope to continue to increase the ratio of waste recycled.

Mountain Sports Media (which owns Ski, Skiing, Freeze and Snowboarding magazines) recognized Keystone’s recycling efforts. Keystone won Mountain Sports Media’s Silver Eagle award in waste reduction and recycling.

“Recycling is a way of life at Keystone: its programs cover 25 types of waste,” Greg Ditrinko reported in a Ski magazine article.

“To a lot of people, it might not mean much, but we were proud,” Hoffman said, adding it was the first year there was a category for waste reduction and recycling.

“I think it says a lot that Keystone won it the first year it was offered,” he said. “I think it’s a statement as to what Keystone is doing here … setting the standard for recycling.”

But recycling is only part of the waste reduction equation.

“The people making really big strides (in waste reduction) are the ones who have organics collection in addition to recycling,” he said.

Organic waste, such as fruit, vegetables and coffee grounds, makes up one-half to two-thirds of the typical waste stream, Hoffman said.

In the autumn, Hoffman and November started an experimental composting program at the Keystone Ranch restaurant. They hope to increase the percentage of waste diverted from the landfill by starting a resort composting program in the future.

Lu Snyder can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or

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