The EPA announced $3,995,000 from the Investing in America agenda to build and operate a new waste transfer station and materials recovery facility for recycling and organic waste in Chaffee County, Colorado. The grant award to the County is part of the agency’s newly created Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling (SWIFR) funding opportunity. EPA is also making $450,938 available to the state of Colorado to improve solid waste management planning and data collection in communities across the state. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this funding to expand and create new waste management facilities in Colorado is part of EPA’s largest recycling investment in 30 years.
“EPA Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling funds are helping communities across the nation develop new capacity to reuse waste and reduce local and global environmental impacts,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “These new facilities will help meet long-standing needs and serve Chaffee County residents for many years to come.”
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is continuing to deliver for our communities, and this significant funding for Chaffee County will help us reduce waste, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance recycling initiatives in our area,” said U.S. Representative Brittany Pettersen. “To protect our environment for future generations, we must invest in comprehensive strategies to compost and recycle everything we can, giving our materials a second life. These EPA grants give our communities the tools they need to expand their operations and make a greater impact for Coloradans.”
The EPA grant will enable Chaffee County to pursue plans to build and operate a new transfer station and materials recovery facility on a five-acre section of the County Landfill property north of the city of Salida. The new facility will help the County and its municipal partners significantly increase diversion of Municipal Solid Waste and reduce waste-related greenhouse gas emissions. Development of these services, including a public drop-site, has been identified as the top priority to support and expand community waste diversion infrastructure and increase rates of community participation in recycling and composting programs.
The new facility is expected to help the community substantially decrease the volume of recyclable and recoverable waste that ends up in the county landfill or must be trucked hundreds of miles away for processing. Municipal solid waste and organic wastes constitute 60% of wastes currently sent to landfill; an estimated 90% of that material is recyclable or compostable.
“As a small, rural community, Chaffee County has struggled for many years to establish permanent, holistic solid waste diversion and materials recovery systems,” said Beth Helmke, Deputy County Administrator for Chaffee County. “This significant funding from EPA’s SWIFR grant program will allow Chaffee County to scale and sustain our support for local recycling programs and achieve more of our ambitious environmental stewardship goals. Constructing a local transfer station and materials recovery facility here will be transformational for our region’s approach to recycling and waste management.”