Summit in Snowmass Tackles Challenges of Local Recycling

Jun 4, 2018

Broken glass is loaded into a truck to be recycled in Denver. Glass is one of only two materials that is repurposed and resold in Colorado.
Credit Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Colorado’s top recycling experts are gathering in Snowmass Village this week to discuss solutions for Colorado’s recycling challenges.


The theme of the Colorado Association for Recycling’s annual meeting is “Who needs China’s markets? Creating solutions in Colorado.” There are 12 roundtable discussions, and executive director Laurie Johnson said the goal of each is to identify one action project for the next year.

Much of the discussion focuses on creating a circular economy for each material that is recyclable in Colorado. For example, when you recycle a glass bottle, it’s not only processed at a regional facility, it’s also turned back into a bottle that is sold locally.  

“While we can collect and process a lot of the materials, we don't have the end markets for them," Johnson said.

Colorado does have markets for glass and steel. Experts are discussing how to create them for material like plastics and construction waste.

There will also be tours of the Rio Grande Recycling Center, Pitkin County Landfill and Aspen Skiing Company micro-hydro plant.