A Clean Sweep: Zero Waste Effort at Leadville Races
Over 90% of total trash from last weekend’s Silver Rush Run and Bike events did NOT reach the Lake County landfill. And it’s not because racers left behind energy bar packets and plastic water bottles along the trail. But rather due to the success of the Zero Waste program that the Leadville Race Series (LRS) has put at the top of their priority list to address one of the top concerns from locals: TRASH.
In collaboration with Leadville’s Green Wolf Recycling, Cloud City Conservation Center (C4) and event caterer High Altitude Cooking, the events’ efforts resulted in a sizeable amount of trash not ending up in the Lake County Landfill, a local facility quickly approaching its capacity.
“We’ve seen a very positive response from the community for our efforts to decrease the waste at our events,” said Josh Colley, Race Director of the Leadville Race Series, owned by Life Time. “It’s something we are happy to invest resources in. It was an ambitious effort that we first started last year. But we were successful in getting thousands of racers and visitors to compost and recycle.”
Zero Waste means that an event has examined the materials it uses from start to finish. LRS has made sure that all racers know how important the effort is to the Leadville community and that organizers stand behind it completely. Local food vendors Scott and Steph Camp, owners of High Altitude Cooking, have established their business reputation as having an environmental mindset and have purchased entirely green supplies. The next phase in the LRS Zero Waste plan is handled by C4 whose dedicated volunteers sort and manage the trash during the event. In the end, it’s Leadville’s Green Wolf Recycling that handles hauling the recycling and compost away.
So when you have races that bring 1,100 competitors (and their crews) into town, just how much trash are we talking? According to C4’s Executive Director Lynne Greene, last weekend’s event trash translated into 1,500 lbs compost, 1,000 lbs recycling and 250 pounds trash.
But, the real heroes in this scenario are the volunteers. After all, we’re talking about sorting people’s trash.
“People are impressed when you don gloves and pull melon rinds from the trash,” said Jackie Duba one of 15 Lake County residents who volunteered last weekend. “It’s a great project and a real community effort.”
Volunteers are essential to the effort. They educate racers and visitors on how to divert waste.
“What this means is hanging out at an aid station or at the finish and cheer racers on while providing a valuable service,” explains Greene regarding their upcoming needs.
Interested in pitching in? More volunteers are needed for the Leadville Trail 100 Bike and Run races in August. To volunteer, go to cloudcityconservation.org.
Lake County Groups Benefit from Summit Grants
The Summit Foundation Board of Trustees recently approved $516,752 in grants to 42 nonprofit organizations operating in Summit, Park, Lake and Grand Counties. Among the recipients at the foundation’s annual Grant and Scholarship Awards reception on June 27, four Lake County non-profits received grants from this neighboring entity.
Congratulations to the Lake County recepients!
- Cloud City Conservation Center – Lake County green school initiative and home energy efficiency program.
- Lake County Full Circle – Youth-Mentor activities.
- Lake County School District – renovation of middle school play yard.
- St. Vincent Hospital Foundation – assistance to purchase digital mammography machine.
According to Cloud City Conservation Center’s Executive Director Lynne Greene, the $7,500 Summit Foundation grant will “help us reduce energy bills and carbon footprint in underserved Lake County homes. Funding helps to keep energy audit prices at a much lower price than surrounding Counties and lets us pass on a $500 rebate to contractors and customers.”
For a complete list of recepients and to learn more about The Summit Foundation visit summitfoundation.org.