Ask Eartha: Looking at the Strong Future Community Recycling Grants

Allie Flynn
Ask Eartha

Did you know that our community recycles and composts just 21% of the waste we create? That’s much lower than the national average of 32%. Strong Future Community Grants were created as a solution. Funded by the Strong Future ballot measure approved by voters in 2018, these competitive grants were designed to help local organizations prevent and reduce waste. A variety of innovative projects were awarded funds in 2023; keep reading to learn more about the great recycling work happening in Summit County.

Breckenridge Grand Vacations

Breckenridge Grand Vacations will eliminate thousands of single-use plastics at the Grand Colorado on Peak 8 by installing a dishwasher. Grant funding will support a food scrap composting program available to owners and guests at the Grand Timber Lodge. Breckenridge Grand Vacations estimates the dishwasher and compost projects will divert roughly 13-22 tons of material from the landfill within the first year of operation.

CAFE Food Rescue

CAFE Food Rescue saves perfectly edible foods from ending up in the landfill and distributes the food to families in need. Funding will support the surplus food diversion program benefiting underserved and workforce communities. In the first 12 months, this project will feed nearly 1,000 Summit County residents, while diverting an estimated 50 tons of food waste from the landfill.

Garbage Gurus

Funding will help Garbage Gurus launch residential and commercial food scrap and glass collection service. This will be the first-ever curbside food scrap collection service to hit Summit County! Collection costs will also be discounted for workforce households. Garbage Gurus estimates that roughly 200-350 tons of single-stream recycling, glass and food scraps will be diverted from the landfill within the first year.

Powdr-Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain is one of the few communities in Summit County without easy access to a food scrap collection site. Grant funding will allow for wildlife-proof containers at Copper Mountain’s first and only community food scrap drop location. This drop site will be accessible by all 3,000 Summit County residents enrolled in the Free Food Scrap Program.

Town of Breckenridge

The town of Breckenridge manages glass recycling enclosures for over 250 businesses and residential properties. This project supports the continuation of the program to help the town meet its recycling goals as outlined in the SustainableBreck Plan. The town estimates roughly 300 tons of glass will be diverted from the landfill in the first year.

Village at Copper

Funding will add wildlife-proof recycling containers at all bus stops and add glass recycling containers to all Village at Copper Homeowners Association residential properties. It will also install bilingual recycling signage for 42 residential and community buildings. These projects will serve a portion of the 1 million yearly visitors to Copper Mountain.

Village Homeowners Association of Frisco

The Village HOA of Frisco currently has a waste enclosure designed to accommodate trash only. Grant funds will rebuild the enclosure to add glass and single-stream (comingled) recycling. This new and improved waste enclosure will serve about 1,000 individuals and divert nearly 21 tons of waste from the landfill.

Woodworks Townhomes Association

Like the Village HOA of Frisco, Woodworks does not currently have recycling collection service available to residents. Funding will redesign the waste enclosures to include recycling. This will provide access to recycling for residents who may not currently recycle, diverting an estimated 43 tons of waste from the landfill in the first year.

Do you have an innovative idea for a project that will increase Summit County’s waste diversion rate? Strong Future Community Grants will be available again in 2024! Contact Allie Flynn, Community Programs Manager for the High Country Conservation Center, at 970-668-5703 to discuss your ideas for a spring application. We’re stronger as a community and together — with the help of these projects, local recycling programs, and dedicated community members like you — we can reduce waste.

Allie Flynn

Allie Flynn is the community programs manager at the High Country Conservation Center. Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the center, a nonprofit dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at

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