EcoAction Partners: Composting In Ophir

Telluride-based EcoAction Partners announces a State of Colorado Resource Recycling Economic Opportunity Grant for composting equipment for the Town of Ophir. This is the first of several neighborhood composting centers that will make up a Regional Composting Network, an EcoAction Partners program that aims to bring composting to the communities in San Miguel and Ouray Counties.

The goal of the Regional Composting Network is to reduce waste through composting, recycling, and education. In the town of Ophir, composting will eliminate an estimated 16.5 metric tons of organic waste annually from the landfill.

“Despite Ophir’s high altitude and more extreme climate, the Town of Ophir is a great partner to launch neighborhood composting,” said Heather Knox, Executive Director of EcoAction Partners. “Ophir is a tight-knit community and the residents have expressed a strong desire to compost. They have a committee established to manage the composting operation and local businesses will provide the appropriate green waste required for the process. I am thrilled to be awarded this grant to make composting possible for the town of Ophir.”

Two composting units will be installed in Ophir’s secure trash enclosure, along with “how to” educational materials and requirements to track data and keep the units functional. This neighborhood composting program will support the community’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and becoming more self-reliant.

No landfills or commercial composting centers exist in Ouray or San Miguel counties, an area that covers 1,800 square miles with a population of over 12,000. All waste is hauled to one of two landfills in Montrose County, each approximately 70 miles from the major producers. A waste audit completed in 2016 as a part of EcoAction Partners’ CDPHE ‘Sneffels Waste Diversion Planning Project’ grant found that 35-45% of the approximately 13,000 tons of trash generated in the two counties is compostable waste.

It is estimated that composting 16.5 tons of food waste will reduce 25 metric tons of CO2 equivalent (mTCO2e) annually. Additionally, eliminating the trucking of this waste 70+ miles will decrease emissions by another 12 mtCO2e, bringing the total GHG emissions reduction for the Ophir Composting Project to an estimated 37 mTCO2e annually.

Composting in Ophir will be a first step in the greater plan for the Regional Composting Network in San Miguel and Ouray counties. This program is a goal of the Sneffels Energy Board, a region-wide group coordinated by EcoAction Partners since 2009 working to achieve Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission reduction goals. Results from the Ophir Composting Program will be shared broadly at a local, regional, state and national level, providing vital information on how to effectively and economically compost in small mountain communities.

About EcoAction Partners:

EcoAction Partners is a sustainability non-profit organization serving San Miguel and Ouray Counties. EcoAction Partners works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, and tracking our regional progress toward these goals. Through a variety of programs, EcoAction Partners works with communities to reduce waste, increase local food supply, and encourage other sustainable practices. More information about EcoAction Partners can be found here.

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