YVSC serves as a hub for information and knowledge about local recycling and waste diversion. We work with partners to provide education, technical assistance and services to increase regional success in waste diversion and help the region adopt circular economy thinking and action. Programs include our Yampa Valley Recycles Depot for year-round Hard-To-Recycle materials Drop-Off, Yampa Valley Recycles free online resource and app, Zero Waste Event Services in Routt and Moffat County, and planning through Routt County’s Waste Diversion Strategic Plan. YVSC’s programs help our community recycle and compost right, decrease contamination and strive to improve recycling and composting infrastructure in the Yampa Valley.
The primary greenhouse gas emitted from waste is methane, which is 86 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere over a 20-year period. Methane accounts for about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions but is responsible for about half of the net increase in global temperature since pre-Industrial era. Diverting waste from the landfill through reduction, reuse, and recycling, thereby mitigating even small amounts of methane, can drive significant progress towards achieving a 1.5 degrees Celsius future.
In 2017, the Colorado Solid and Hazardous Waste Commission approved the state’s first-ever waste diversion goals, aiming to increase statewide recycling and composting over the next 20 years. Colorado’s current municipal waste diversion rate is only 15%, far below the national average of 35%. The new goal for Colorado is 45% recovery by 2036. Rural areas like Routt County are currently diverting 12% of waste.
Routt County and other rural communities all over Colorado face unique barriers to high rates of waste diversion due to our distance from recycling processors and the cost of hauling over mountain passes. These challenges motivate communities like ours to think creatively. In response to both the state goals and strong community support to improve recycling and organics management, YVSC works with community members and partners to increase waste diversion and continue to scale successes through our programming.