Western Slope prime for growth of circular economy

(GRAND JUNCTION, CO) — With two mountain passes over 10,000 feet and a 12-mile long canyon between Colorado’s Western Slope and material markets along the Front Range, the region is an ideal proving ground for creating local end-market solutions for recyclables. Attendees at the Circular Economy Development Center’s September 13 stakeholder meeting in Grand Junction agreed that transportation and end markets are the major challenge for businesses looking to manage recyclable material in the region.

“It’s why we’re here and why we intend to set up a satellite office in Grand Junction,” said Laurie Johnson, director of Colorado’s Circular Economy Development Center.

The goal of the center, launched in July as a program of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, is to expand existing markets and create new markets for materials that Coloradans recycle. Reusing more resources locally reduces costs for businesses and lowers greenhouse gas emissions in the region, benefiting everyone.

In the coming months, the center will use the ideas generated by the representatives from business, nonprofits and government at the meeting to explore the potential for launching a collaborative project. “Informing businesses about what recycled materials are available for use and supporting new start-ups were two ideas that were mentioned,” said Eric Heyboer, assistant director of the Circular Economy Development Center. “How can we make more people aware of what materials are in play in the region?” The center’s planned satellite office will focus on finding answers to this question and others asked during the stakeholder meeting.