Regional Collaboration

Calling all recycling and circular economy experts

Circular Economy Development Center (CEDC) Director Laurie Johnson left the New Mexico Recycling Coalition meeting in June feeling inspired. The meeting of recycling professionals was focused on creating pathways toward sustainability through circularity and Johnson gave a presentation on what the CEDC was building.

Tasked with expanding and creating end markets, the CEDC analyzes supply chains, including transportation, to show how materials flow within Colorado and regionally. One of the CEDC’s current projects is expanding a facility in Pueblo to operate as a hub for recycled material collection and transportation. Small-scale commercial generators and municipal recycling drop-off centers often face challenges in accumulating enough material to offset transportation costs. This can lead to financial strain, with the need to either secure storage space or incur higher expenses for shipping partial loads to end users.

The Front Range Transload (FRT) project will create a transportation network for communities throughout the Front Range, collecting recyclable materials and providing the generators the ability to efficiently ship materials on a more frequent basis, reducing the storage and cost challenges. FRT will ensure dedicated and consistent trucking routes for collecting recyclables.

The CEDC hosted a stakeholder meeting in Durango June 26 to discuss these sort of transportation issues, and representatives from the region attended. Johnson was inspired to make the same sort of connections with Colorado’s other regional neighbors, such as the Utah Recycling Alliance, Wyoming Solid Waste and Recycling Association, Nebraska Recycling Council, Kansas Organization of Recyclers, State of Texas Alliance for Recycling.

“Everyone needs to know what everyone else in the region is doing,” said Johnson. “The best way to get large volumes of materials recycled is to work together and maximize transportation options.”

If you are a recycling or circular economy expert in Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas or Texas, or other nearby states interested in working on a regional hub and spoke model, please contact the CEDC.