Ask Eartha: Summit County has a new recycling center |

Ask Eartha: Summit County has a new recycling center

Rachel Zerowin
Ask Eartha
A new recycling center is open off River Drive, past the outlet shops, in Silverthorne as pictured March 10.
Liz Copan /

Dear Eartha,
I saw the Silverthorne Recycling Center is open, yeah! What are you accepting in Silverthorne?

The Silverthorne Recycling Center is now open! The drop-off center is located next to the Blue River Ball Fields, which are below the Dillon Dam and adjacent to the Outlets at Silverthorne. The formal address is 0255 River Road in Silverthorne.

The new recycling center accepts most of the same items as the Breckenridge and Frisco centers: plastic bottles Nos. 1 and 2, clear glass, colored glass, mixed metal containers (cans), cardboard, mixed paper, scrap metal, cartons and food scraps. Batteries are not accepted in Silverthorne, which is the only difference.

Silverthorne’s new recycling center was funded by Strong Future, a ballot measure passed by voters in 2018. It created $1.7 million annually to fund local recycling initiatives, just one of which is our new recycling center.

Keeping it clean

Just the sight of those shiny new Silverthorne bins was a good reminder to keep my recycling clean. That means dropping off accepted items only and nothing else. For example, when it comes to plastics, the drop-off sites only accept plastic bottles Nos. 1 and 2. That means no cups, no takeout containers, no plastic bags, no berry containers, no lids — regardless of the number.

And of course, it’s important to rinse out that old jelly jar, too. This is a question I get asked frequently: “Just how clean does my recycling need to be?” Give it a good rinse. It doesn’t need to be sparkling perfect, but it shouldn’t have gobs of food that will inevitably grow mold.

When it comes to paper and cardboard, these need to be clean in order to actually get recycled. It’s tempting to throw pizza boxes in recycling, but if there’s any grease, they belong in the trash.

At a glance

The following items can be recycled at the drop-off center in Silverthorne:

  • Plastic bottles Nos. 1 and 2
  • Clear and colored glass
  • Mixed metal containers (cans)
  • Cardboard
  • Mixed paper
  • Scrap metal
  • Cartons
  • Food scraps

Perhaps you’ve heard of the golden rule of recycling: when in doubt, throw it out! Why? Because tossing the wrong item into a recycling bin does far more harm than good. It creates what the recycling industry calls contamination.

When recycling is contaminated, it’s worth much less. The wrong items (like plastic bags) can break sorting machines, and too much of the wrong thing can cause an entire truckload of recycling to end up in the landfill.

With Silverthorne open, Dillon’s recycling center will close

Wednesday, March 18, will be the last day that recycling is available at Dillon Town Hall. After that, residents will need to use the other drop-off centers in Silverthorne, Breckenridge and Frisco. Glass-only stations are still available at the Dillon Marina, Dillon Valley and in Summit Cove, among other locations across the county.

Do your part

Whether or not you’ll regularly use the Silverthorne Recycling Center, consider its opening your cue to recycle the right way. Take advantage of no-fee recycling programs for mattresses, televisions, computers, paint, motor oil, food waste and more. Visit for details.

It’s also important to reduce waste. Our community is working to reach 40% diversion by 2035. Right now, we’re only keeping 20% of our waste out of the landfill. In short, we’ve all got work to do. Let’s get started!.

“Ask Eartha Steward” is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at

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