Waste Diversion

Our goal is to increase regional recycling, composting and waste reduction in Routt and Moffat County.

Our Role:

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 and Yampa Valley Recycles free online resource and app. YVSC’s programs help our community recycle and compost right, decrease contamination and strive to improve recycling and composting infrastructure in the Yampa Valley.

Why it Matters:

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.

Hard-to-recycle (HTR) materials recovered at the Yampa Valley Recycles Depot
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Materials diverted from the landfill via YVSC Zero Waste event services
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CO2 equivalent emissions avoided via YVSC Zero Waste event service
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Recycling reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and offsets the need to harvest new raw materials, which conserves energy, reduces air and water pollution, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling is not just good for the environment. It’s also good for the economy, creating jobs and generating local and state tax revenue. On average, ten times more jobs are created from recycling than from trash. Recyclable materials are a valuable resource, many of which can be recycled indefinitely.


Food waste has become a large contributor to climate change as nearly one third of all the food in the world is wasted. Composting allows us to eliminate some of that waste by returning the nutrients to the soil. Compost serves as a slow-release fertilizer that increases plant production and carbon storage in the soil.

Click the links below to learn more about the work YVSC is doing in each of these sectors.

What we are doing

Waste Diversion Programs

Waste Diversion Education

A key part of the success of sustainable materials management is education. We serve as a technical resource for local businesses, governments and community members. We do this by providing the resources to reduce, divert and reuse waste, including opportunities to recycle and compost. Join us in our efforts to get our community involved in reducing waste, creating a local circular economy.

YVSC offers one-hour educational programs specifically designed for children ages 5-10 for local schools and organizations. These programs are meant to educate specifically on recycling or composting and the overall process and need for waste diversion. This one-hour session will include a brief lesson, and two interactive games to get students really thinking about waste in their own lives. The program ends with a sweet treat and a summary of what was learned about diverting waste from the landfill. Contact us to schedule a Recycling or Composting lesson with your classroom!

Yampa Valley Recycles Depot

Hard-to-recycle (HTR) materials are often banned from landfill disposal because they contain materials that are either toxic or otherwise hazardous. These materials include electronics, light bulbs, batteries, and mattresses. In partnership with Routt County and the City of Steamboat Springs, YVSC opened the Yampa Valley Recycles Depot to provide affordable, year-round access to recycling for HTR materials. Visit our YVR Depot to recycle your HTR goods!

Learn More

Construction and Deconstruction

Construction materials continue to be a top material going to landfills throughout Colorado, and the Yampa Valley is no exception. This program focuses on increasing opportunities for construction projects to recycle and find better uses for materials from job sites. Through regional and state collaboration, this program builds avenues for more recycling and reuse of building materials from our area.

YVSC can provide your business, corporation or institution with a range of services that potentially improve your bottom line while improving your environmental performance. YVSC provides life-cycle analyses of materials; evaluates processes to find improvements that reduce waste; assists with policy development; facilitates stakeholder engagement; and performs feasibility studies. Make improved materials management and environmental stewardship part of your operations.

Email or call our YVSC Waste Diversion Director to learn more.

get our app

Search hundreds of items and find out where to recycle them in Routt County. Available in your phone’s app store or at yampavalleyrecycles.org.

What you can do

Reduce your waste

Recycle your hard-to-recycle materials at the Yampa Valley Recycles Depot

Compost at home

Compost with our local vendor: Cowgirl Compost CO

Encourage others to waste less and compost

Download the Yampa Valley Recycles app. Our Yampa Valley Recycles app can answer any local recycling questions you might have.

Join a recycling task force. In 2019 YVSC worked with Routt County to create the Waste Diversion Strategic Plan which identifies curbside recycling and business waste diversion as priority areas. YVSC needs community volunteers to serve on those task forces. For information about joining a task force, please email info@yvsc.org.


  • This article, written by YVSC’s Kate Brocato, discusses food waste in the Yampa Valley.
  • IRC expanded their composting program to include neighborhood drop-off options. Read the latest about IRC’s compost program here .
  • To learn more about the history of YVSC’s Earth Cubes, check out this article from 2018.

get our app

Search hundreds of items and find out where to recycle them in Routt County. Available in your phone’s app store or at yampavalleyrecycles.org.