AUGUST 1, 2019 BY 

Letter to the editor
From the Steamboat Pilot & Today | August 1, 2019

Event season is in full force, but, when you bring hundreds, if not thousands, of people together, large public events can generate a tremendous amount of waste.

We can all help minimize the environmental footprint of events that we attend. But, waste reduction and recycling don’t happen by magic. It takes all of us to keep our valley green and clean.

Below are a few common recycling errors that Yampa Valley Sustainability Council staff and volunteers have noticed this summer when we’ve been out and about at community events:

• Utensils: Although utensils are made of plastic, they are not recyclable.

• Coffee cups: Paper to-go coffee cups have a plastic lining to hold the hot liquid inside and are therefore not recyclable. However, the plastic lid and cardboard sleeve can be recycled.

• Liquids: If your plastic bottle or cup still has liquid in it, empty out the contents before placing it in the bin.

• Paper napkins: Paper napkins and paper towels are not recyclable. Even when dry, these items should never be placed in the recycle bin.

Here are a few suggestions to avoid the above issues along with others:

• Plan ahead. Almost all of these mistakes can be avoided by bringing reusables when possible. Bring your own cup, utensils and cloth napkin.

• Always look before you toss. The bins should have clear signage on them, which will help you decipher between recycling and trash.

• When in doubt, throw it out. If you aren’t sure whether or not the item can be recycled, place it in the trash bin.

• Search the Yampa Valley Recycles app. Confused at the bin? You can download the app for free on your smartphone or visit to find out exactly what can and cannot be recycled locally.

If you have recycling questions or need help reducing waste at your next party or big event, please contact Madison at

Madison Muxworthy

Yampa Valley Sustainability Council waste diversion director