Caitlin Geppert, YVSC Intern | July 26, 2022

My name is Caitlin Geppert, and I am in the 12-week Summer Internship program with YVSC. I am very excited to share what I am working on this summer! I have the privilege of working under the direct guidance of YVSC’s Waste Diversion Director, Winn Cowman, YVSC’s Zero Waste Coordinator, Dakota Dolan, and Geospatial Analyst/Internship Program Manager, Nicole Pepper, on a waste diversion educational toolkit geared for K-12 students.

YVSC has recognized that our community has requested learning activities and engagement for our youth on this topic. I was chosen to work on this with the project because of my background knowledge of sustainability issues as a current student in my final year of the Bachelors of Sustainability Studies program at Colorado Mountain College, as well as my experience working in early childhood education and substituting for the Steamboat Springs School District.

The goal of this toolkit is to provide a variety of different types of learning activities on the various topics surrounding waste diversion for students K-12. This tool kit will also serve to connect and engage students with waste diversion efforts occurring within our local community. To learn more about this project please reach out to me at or to Winn Cowman at or to any of the YVSC team members mentioned above.

Early childhood education on waste diversion is critical because we hope that these efforts will only improve our waste diversion action in the future as these children bring home what they’ve learned and become future recyclers and composters themselves!

On the state level, our government has made great strides this year to improve our current recycling rate, which sits at just 15%, far below the national average of 32%. On June 3rd, 2022 Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed into law two bills: House Bill 22-1355: Producer Responsibility Program For Recycling and House Bill 22-1159: Waste Diversion and Circular Economy Development Center. This is exciting news as both of these bills are intended to support and improve waste diversion efforts across the state. 

Local waste diversion efforts have also grown exponentially this year. Summer events are in full swing here in the beautiful Yampa Valley, which means our zero waste stations are ready to collect, but we need your help! A friendly face and helping hand at our zero waste stations increases proper sorting and decreases contamination dramatically. If you are interested in learning more about zero waste or would like to sign up for a station click here.

It is also that time of year when many of us are cleaning out our storage closets and garages or are working on home improvement projects. Oftentimes we end up with old light bulbs, batteries, or even old toilets. But, did you know that not all household items are safe to throw in a landfill and need to be properly disposed of or recycled? Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “There’s an app for that.”  Well, for recycling in the Yampa Valley, there is! You can download the Yampa Valley Recycles app directly to your phone or device, or use the online version. Many of our most commonly searched items are recyclable at our Yampa Valley Recycles Depot. Check out our website for more information about the items we accept, when we’re open, and where we’re located.