Summit Recycling Project makes a major difference |

Summit Recycling Project makes a major difference

Shanna Koenig

SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit Recycling Project (SRP) is making a difference in Summit County.

In one year, recycling in Summit County helped save: 28,698 40-foot Douglas fir trees; 11,816,700 gallons of water; 101, 7507 cubic yards of landfill space; 12,983 gallons of gas; and 69,254,586 kilowatt hours of electricity. It also helped prevent 286 pounds of air pollution.

Individual action supports a collective change. SRP enables every Summit County resident and visitor to play an important role in the county’s environmental future and sustainability.

SRP has come a long way over the years. Tim McClure founded the project when he, his wife and a few friends collected recyclable products in their truck and drove them to Boulder’s recycling center.

Today, SRP recycles more than 2,000 tons of materials annually and helps divert 10-15 percent of total waste from the landfill. SRP has increased the volume of recyclables by more than 200 percent since 1993, has two sites for drop-off and has hired a community education coordinator, who works with schools and businesses to educate the community regarding recycling and waste reduction.

Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour and enough aluminum every year to rebuild the entire commercial air fleet every three months. Each year, 25 billion Styrofoam cups are thrown in landfills. More than one-third of municipal solid waste is packaging, mostly paper. The average skier produces approximately 7.5 pounds of waste per day, while the national average is 3.5 pounds per person per day (Vail Resorts Environmental Department).

Recycling can make a difference. Paper recycled in Colorado in 1996 prevented the harvest of more than 7 million trees. Making new aluminum from recycled cans saves 95 percent of the energy used to make aluminum from bauxite ore.

What can you do to make a difference? Begin recycling at home, be consistent with your efforts and encourage others to do the same. Carly Wier, director of SRP, says the best way to support the group’s efforts is to sort materials when recycling and not leave trash around the drop-off site.

You can also make a difference by volunteering for Make A Difference Day on Oct. 12. Make A Difference Day is a one-day, community-wide volunteer opportunity supporting nonprofit organizations in Summit County.

SRP has been a part of Make A Difference Day for the past three years. In the past, volunteers have performed site repairs, painted recycling bins and helped prepare for winter.

“We survive on volunteer events like Make A Difference Day, especially in the fall when there is a lot of site work,” Wier said.

You can pre-register for Make A Difference Day by calling Ben Bornstein at (970) 668-4155, or visit the Web site at and go to “events.”

You can reach SRP by calling (970) 668-5703 or visiting its Web site at

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