RREO Mini-Grant project summaries

Below is a list of fiscal year 2018 RREO mini-grants and brief description of each project. The Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity (RREO) Grant Program exists to fund projects that lead to new opportunities to divert waste from the landfill and create jobs. As funding opportunities for infrastructure development through the RREO Grant Program have grown more complex over time, the intent of this solicitation was to offer “mini-grants” through a simplified application process for small-scale projects that meet the goals of the RREO Grant Program. Proposals were accepted from applicants for equipment, supplies, and/or information and outreach materials used to support a new or existing recycling, organics, reuse, or waste reduction programs.



Boulder Valley School District

Project title: Food Waste Reduction in BVSD (Boulder Valley School District) School Cafeterias
Award: $24,950
Community served: Boulder Valley School District
Summary: Funding was used to implement the LeanPath Food Service 360 Tracker System, a food waste reduction system, in five school kitchens. Implementing this system allows active monitoring of food being thrown away by kitchen employees and the reason for its disposal. These trackers also provide an opportunity to engage students in reducing food waste. Through the compiled data, BVSD Food Services is able to target waste reduction strategies among employees and reduce pre-consumer waste amounts and food costs. The school district is also able to communicate with students to target the areas of improvement in post-consumer waste. The District’s students are demographically diverse: 31% minority, 21% low-income, 10% English Language Learners, and 11% with disabilities.

City of Durango

Project title: Recycling Container Project and Program Outreach
Award: $18,271
Community served: City of Durango
Summary: This mini-grant enabled the City of Durango to purchase recycling containers to meet the demand of new customers and to also continue the phased standardization of recycling containers throughout the City's recycling program. High bear activity and the introduction of an Emergency Bear ordinance in 2017 has resulted in an increased focus on purchasing Wildlife Resistant Trash Cans. In addition, this funding covered the cost of branding and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips for all new containers as well as informational stickers and outreach materials. This funding also supported the distribution of updated outreach materials, including newspaper ads and printed flyers.

City of Lakewood

Project title: Lakewood Residential Waste Outreach
Award: $23,000
Community served: City of Lakewood
Summary: Grant funds for this project were used to hire professional services to develop and distribute information and outreach materials to engage residents from all areas of the community. Like other sustainability initiatives in Lakewood, this effort is designed around community engagement to ensure the success and longevity of the proposed residential waste program or policy. The outreach process involves community members engaging in neighbor-to-neighbor outreach and intentional outreach by City staff in underserved communities who are most impacted by inequities in the current system, including cost savings and access to waste services.

Cloud City Conservation Center

Project title: Recycling Knowledge and Behavior Outreach Project
Award: $11,550
Community served: Lake County
Summary: Funding was used to gauge residents’ knowledge of recycling to establish a baseline, then to gather information on the following: attitudes towards recycling, knowledge of the system (i.e. what goes where), and knowledge of economic and environmental benefits to Lake County and consequences of contaminated bins. Testing occurred through focus groups, intercepts, and an online survey. With this information, messages were developed to encourage recycling, the correct way, in both Spanish and English.

Curbside Recycling Indefinitely

Project title: Curbside Collection Program Expansion
Award: $21,441
Community served: Grand Junction
Summary: Funding was used to increase and expand collection capacity for the curbside recycling program in Grand Junction. The project goal was to increase recycling and divert materials from the Mesa County Landfill.

EcoAction Partners

Project title: Town of Ophir Composting Project
Award: $9,960
Community served: Town of Ophir
Summary: The purpose of the project was to implement a community-wide compost program in the Town of Ophir. Grant funds were used to purchase and install two Earth Cubes, which were chosen based on projected usage and on the space requirement to fit within the town’s existing secure trash enclosure. Because the Town is remote, and during winter often closed off from outside services (such as waste and recycling haulers), creating an alternative for food waste was targeted. Additionally, compost can be put to beneficial use in the Ophir community greenhouse and outdoor community gardens, augmenting the typically poor quality, rocky soil.


Project title: Expansion of Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials Foam Recycling Program
Award: $25,000
Community served: Boulder County
Summary: This mini-grant was combined with in-kind funding to purchase a new foam densifier and augment a previous RREO grant project. Old equipment was sold to an interested Colorado community in an effort to establish a CHaRM (Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials) network across the state.

E-Tech Recyclers

Project title: Hard Drive Shredder/Community Education
Award: $25,000
Community served: Colorado Springs
Summary: This award supported the purchase of Rotary/Solid State Hard Drive Shredder and targeted community-wide awareness building and education in an effort to increase the number of computers recycled. Additionally, jobs were created to effectively manage new shredding operations both during and after formal project timeframe.

EverGreen Zero Waste

Project title: School Waste Diversion Packages
Award: $20,832
Community served: Aspen and Roaring Fork Valley School Districts, Colorado College
Summary: This award supported the expansion of an established, comprehensive waste diversion program for 12 schools in the Aspen and Roaring Fork Valley School Districts, as well as two Colorado College campuses. In addition to compost collections, the project included bilingual student presentations, staff trainings, uniform indoor collection stations and customizable sorting guidelines. Funds were specifically used to outfit the interior of schools with the infrastructure needed to begin a successful waste diversion program, and to create a training video for students about waste diversion in their schools.

Fort Collins Conservation District

Project title: Rural Solutions: Polypropylene Twine Recycling
Award: $5,697
Community served: San Luis Valley
Summary: This mini-grant purchased an intermodal container for the SLV landfill. Due to very high winds, weather events, and wildlife activity, it is important to have a storage unit for the large sacks and other small containers of twine being brought in for recycling. This container, when filled to capacity, will also serve as a transport container when twine is sent to Johnstown for processing. Discarded bailing twine contaminates the environment and is a serious threat to wildlife. This project also provides an opportunity in rural areas for youth to provide a valuable community service while earning money for their group's activities.

Great Divide Brewing Company

Project title: Collecting Compactable, Recyclable Material for the Craft Beer Industry to Increase Diversion Rate
Award: $25,000
Community served: Metro Denver Area
Summary: Funding supported the purchase of an industrial pallet scale and two refurbished industrial manufacturing balers for the purpose of bundling cardboard, polypro grain bags (also referenced as super sacs), and shrink wrap. The project impacted not only Great Divide Brewing Company, but potentially all of the metro Denver craft brewing industry, as Great Divide makes baling services available to the larger craft brewing community.

High Country Conservation Center

Project title: Summit Recycling Project
Award: $24,999
Community served: Summit County
Summary: This mini-grant supported a major education and outreach effort titled the “Summit Recycling Project” that included a K-12 curriculum and lesson delivery, 10,000 residential mailers, mobile online marketing, business and multi-family tool-kits, and volunteer training. The goal of this project was to change recycling behavior across the community and increase Summit County waste diversion rates to exceed the national average in five years. The grant also funded the purchase of two 30-yard gable topped roll-off containers.

Metro Denver Local Development Corp. (MDLDC)

Project title: Recycling Addition to Broadway Pedestrian Mall Special Districts - Pilot Program
Award: $25,000
Community served: Broadway Pedestrian Mall (Denver)
Summary: This project was designed to implement a new recycling/waste diversion program and process to The Broadway Pedestrian Mall by placing permanent recycling receptacles along the corridor pedestrian zones. Grant supported receptacles replaced old waste bins that have were damaged and vandalized. Portions of the Broadway corridor act as nighttime entertainment destinations and typically the waste generated heavily consists of cans, bottles, and newspaper. Diversion of these three targeted recyclables should greatly reduce waste.

Phillips County

Project title: Cardboard/Plastic Recycling Expansion
Award: $23,448
Community served: Phillips County
Summary: This award made possible the purchase and customization of six trailers for cardboard collection, three covered roll-off boxes for plastic collection, and 16 signs to be placed on the trailers and boxes. Ultimately, the additional resources for the collection and recycling of cardboard and plastics will allow a significant amount of material to be diverted from the County’s landfill.

Pikes Peak Community College

Project title: Indoor Recycling Stations
Award: $25,000
Community served: Pikes Peak Community College Campuses
Summary: This grant funded the purchase 22 heavy duty stand-alone waste stations with both a standard waste compartment, and a single stream recycling compartment. Pikes Peak Community College has three campuses located throughout Colorado Springs. The goal is to improve recycling access and exposure in a community of students receiving significant funding support via financial aid.

Pitkin County

Project title: SCRAPS Community Compost Program
Award: $24,495
Community served: Pitkin County/Roaring Fork Valley
Summary: This funding augments a 2015 RREO grant used by the County to create a hub and spoke food waste diversion program throughout the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond, focused on residential homeowners, government buildings, multi-family housing units, and restaurants. The original grant was used to purchase a variety of bear-proof bins, food waste collection containers, develop an advertising and education campaign, and a bagging machine for their compost product. This award supports the County’s funding of bear-proof bins and collection containers to sustain program growth and impact.

ReSource Central

Project title: Increasing Waste Diversion at ReSource
Award: $25,000
Community served: Boulder County
Summary: This mini-grant was awarded to ReSource Central to purchase of a forklift. The City of Boulder, and other communities within Boulder County, have unique ordinances requiring deconstruction and reuse rather than demolition of major property improvements. Deconstruction requires a plan for responsible disposal or recycling of materials including lumber, flagstone, granite and cabinetry. ReSource accepts tax-deductible donations from those needing to offload surplus building materials and resells the materials at very low prices to those in need of affordable upgrades.

Ridgway Ouray Community Council

Project title: Promoting Recycling in Ridgway Town Parks
Award: $9,000
Community served: Town of Ridgway
Summary: Funding was used to enhance Ridgway’s existing recycling efforts by purchasing and installing six bear-proof recycling/trash receptacles in four of the most popular Town parks in Ridgway. Ridgway is a small, rural town located in Southwestern Colorado at the foothills of the San Juan Mountains. The Town’s population is 924 people and its size is approximately 1.9 square miles. Ridgway’s population swells during summer, fall foliage, and ski seasons as visitors come to enjoy the natural beauty and Town amenities.

San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council (SLVEC)

Project title: San Luis Valley Waste Diversion &, Outreach Materials Development Project
Award: $25,000
Community served: San Luis Valley
Summary: This mini-grant funded the development of information and outreach materials essential for the implementation of educational programs concerning diversion and recycling to public officials and the general public. Socioeconomic and cultural factors demonstrating a community-level need and high concentrations of underserved population in the San Luis Valley of Colorado are well known.

South East and East Central Recycling Association

Project title: Cardboard (OCC) Bins and Labels
Award: $23,900
Community served: South East and East Central Colorado
Summary: OCC is a prevalent commodity in the southeastern part of Colorado. This funding purchased 11 cardboard recycling bins that work with an existing truck and crane system. The award also purchased improved labels for the new, as well as existing bins. Labels were designed to educate users on the proper use of the bins.

Spring Back Colorado

Project title: Box Spring Dismantler/Separator
Award: $23,705
Community served: Front Range
Summary: Spring Back Colorado is a nonprofit social enterprise offering mattress recycling services. The organization has struggled with recycling the box springs - spring coils attached to a wooden base. This grant funded the purchase of a box springs dismantler (BSD) that separates the coils from the wood, leaving both intact enough to allow for reuse and/or recyclability of the component parts. Spring Back also employs felons and recovering addicts, a segment of the population that typically struggles to find work.


Project title: SustainAbility Enhancement and Expansion Project
Award: $23,994
Community served: Arvada/ Metro Denver
Summary: SustainAbility is a growing recycling company with a social mission to hire individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities. This mini-grant funded the purchase of a used forklift, a replacement lift gate for an existing truck, and two storage containers. The goal is to increase the organization diversion rate for supported programs by 90% in 2018. SustainAbility has pinpointed a need within hospitals to recycle materials from hospital Operating Rooms, Interventional Radiology, and Catheterization Labs to collect #1, #2, #5, #6 plastics, plastic bags/films, cardboard and blue wrap.

Town of Winter Park

Project title: Hideaway Park Recycling Program
Award: $5,262
Community served: Town of Winter Park
Summary: Funds were used to purchase stationary and portable recycling containers developing a complete recycling system to be deployed for events with a goal of increasing the quantity and quality of recycling materials collected. Instructional signs were also purchased and can be affixed to the containers to educate and inform event attendees on the importance of recycling as well as what materials are to be recycled. Winter Park has joined the Compact of Colorado Communities established to bring cities and counties together to address climate change, resilience to extreme weather events, and grow a clean energy economy throughout Colorado.

Waste Management

Project title: Increasing Recycling Participation in Hudson Colorado
Award: $18,300
Community served: Town of Hudson
Summary: The goal of this project was to answer specific questions and implement tactics to increase recycling participation within the Town of Hudson. Funding supported door to door canvassing, speaking with residents to identify barriers, beliefs, values, and the benefits residents perceive to be associated with recycling in the community. From this effort, outreach materials were developed to address barriers and encourage residents to adopt recycling and increase participation. The Town of Hudson is home to approximately 1,600 Colorado residents. Half of all Hudson households include children, and 12% of the population falls below the poverty line.

Western State Colorado University

Project title: Zero Waste 2020 - Increased Recycling Capacity
Award: $24,993
Community served: Western State University/Gunnison County
Summary: Grant funds were matched with university funding to purchase ten sets of new recycling centers for the University Center. Eight of the ten sets have four labeled compartments for glass, cans, plastic and land-fill and two of the sets are labeled for newspaper and magazines. The new labeling, combined with updated social media messaging and attractive signage, educates those visiting the University Center about proper recycling. Funds will also be used to purchase two steel storage bins and ten plastic cans to replace the existing collection bins in the loading dock area. This upgrade doubles the capacity for storage prior to transport to the Gunnison County recycling facility.

Year One (Mile High Youth)

Project title: Porcelain Recycling Program
Award: $9,185
Community served: Metro Denver/Front Range
Summary: Funding was used to pilot Denver’s first, free of charge, porcelain recycling program. Through a unique partnership with Colorado Springs Utility and Sand Creek Recycling Center, recycled porcelain goes back into Colorado infrastructure projects including roads, sidewalks and curbs, diverting the precious materials from landfills. Specifically, funds will pay for a collection bin and the development of a comprehensive education and outreach campaign to support the program. Through partnerships with Aurora Water and Denver Water, the organization provides programs to assist low income households in lowering their water bill costs while simultaneously conserving water in their household.

Yampa Valley Sustainability Council (YVSC)

Project title: Diversion of Hard-to-Recycle Materials in Routt County
Award: $10,758
Community served: Routt, Moffat, and Jackson Counties
Summary: Development of a new drop-off event for residents and businesses resulted in a need for funding to purchase the following: durable signage for collection stations, feather flags to mark traffic lanes, collection stations that are visible from the entrance to the drop-off, hitches and a trailer to transport event supplies to and from storage and materials to processors, tents for the inevitable inclement weather and to cover collection stations, cones to create traffic lanes, and safety vests for volunteers. YVSC collection events serve low-income residents who may not be able to afford to recycle locally due to fees.