Platinum Sponsor

Waste-Not Recycling

Gold Sponsor

Larimer County Solid Waste

Silver Sponsor

Hunter Douglas

Host Committee

A special thank you to the Summit for Recycling Host Committee:

Town of Vail

Walking Mountains Science Center

Submit a Nomination

To submit a nomination for 2015 and for a description of each award, criteria, and areas of consideration, download the nomination form (PDF).

Deadline extended! Nominations are due by 3:00pm April 9.


Contact Amy Randell for more information.

Recycling Hall of Fame

Take a walk down memory lane and see past winners.

Recycling Awards

The recycling industry awards in Colorado recognize excellence in recycling or promotion of recycling

Each year, Colorado Association for Recycling seeks nominations for our annual Recycling Awards. These prestigious awards recognize governmental entities, individuals, companies, and organizations for their excellence in recycling.

2015 Recycling Awards

The 2015 awards will be presented at the Recycling Awards Gala Monday, June 8, at Donovan Pavilion in Vail during the 26th annual CAFR Summit for Recycling. Tickets are $55. Click here to register. You do not have to attend the recycling conference to attend the gala.

Congratulations to the 2014 award winners:

Outstanding Business Recycling/Diversion Program

MillerCoors, Golden Brewery

Coors Brewing Company, now MillerCoors, has been in business in Colorado since 1873. From Adolph Coor’s first brew to the production of about 10,000,000 barrels of beer (about 32 gallons per barrel or 13.7 cases per barrel) per year at the Golden Brewery, MillerCoors has significantly contributed to the Colorado community in numerous ways -- including a commitment to recycling and re-use.

Coors Brewing Company was one of the pioneers in recycling in Colorado. Before “green” was cool, Coors was committed to recycling. Beginning with the invention of the aluminum can, and the recycling efforts surrounding that innovative container, to now recycling everything from organic wastes to light bulbs, MillerCoors has quietly become one of the largest contributors to the State of Colorado’s sustainability mission and will continue to be a vital part of that quest.

MillerCoors is an example of not only committing to recycling and re-use but also of a business partner who puts that commitment into action. To increase recycling, in 2011 MillerCoors’ Golden Brewery piloted a new program, Operation Zero Waste. Over the past four years (2010-2013), the Golden Brewery has diverted 884,615 tons of material through recycling and reuse. That diversion total is represented by: 192,577 tons of composting, 3,457 tons of scrap metal, 9,569 tons of cardboard, 1,224 tons of aluminum, 617 tons of plastic, 132 tons of Waste to Energy diversion, and 677,041 tons of other materials (i.e., mixed paper, glass, barrels, plastic, recovered liquids, uncoated chipboard, electronics, grain dust, used oil, pallets, batteries, light bulbs, filter cloths, concrete).

As a result of their corporate-wide commitment, underwritten by the 1,000+ employees at the Golden Brewery who put the boots on the ground, MillerCoors achieved a zero waste to landfill footprint in 2013. In 2013, their total recycling/re-use diversion percentage reached 99.93% (218,998 tons) and has been at 100% ever since. Their contribution far exceeds a basic percentage. The tonnage they recycle/re-use annually would build two Nimitz-class aircraft carriers EVERY YEAR.

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Outstanding Government or Nonprofit Recycling/Diversion Program

Goodwill Industries of Denver

Goodwill Industries of Denver (Goodwill) is a nonprofit organization in metro Denver and northern Colorado whose mission is to provide education, career development, and employment opportunities to help Coloradans in need achieve self-sufficiency, dignity, and hope through the power of work. Goodwill operates as a socially responsible recycler, generating profits from retail stores and recycling operations to fund Goodwill’s successful Workforce Development Programs. Goodwill practices a triple bottom line: people, planet and prosperity. We not only look to have a successful financial bottom line to support our mission programs but also focus on environmentally sound business practices and operations.

In Goodwill’s Recycling Program, anything that is not sold to the public is sorted and sent to partners who share our sustainability goals. Goodwill’s current end-use manufacturing abilities include 35 different commodities; we are constantly searching for new markets and innovative ways to achieve zero waste. In 2013, Goodwill implemented new recycling operations dedicated to expanding our capacity to handle a greater variety of recyclable materials and increase our landfill diversion rates. As a result, Goodwill handled more than 81 million pounds of donated goods through a “Hub and Spoke” model. The “spokes” are our 28 retail stores, 18 donation sites and 25 rurally-placed collection bins that allow the public to drop-off their donations and recyclable materials, which Goodwill then transports to its “hub” or warehouse.

Goodwill diverted 5.4 million pounds from Colorado’s landfills and into recycling streams in 2013. Our e-waste recycling program, GoodElectronics, was developed, implemented and launched to handle significant volumes of donated e-waste and serve the residents and commercial businesses in Colorado that have been facing similar challenges with e-waste. Since the expansion of our Recycling Program in 2013, Goodwill has successfully diverted an additional 2.2 million pounds of recyclables from landfills. Goodwill has secured an additional warehouse to provide the space and capacity to process more recyclable materials, and ultimately, increase our landfill reduction volume.

Goodwill has provided the Denver metro area recycling services since the 1930s when it opened its first retail store to supply used clothing and goods to families with limited means. Since 2009, Goodwill and Dell have partnered to recycle used computer equipment through the Reconnect Program, which sells working electronics to support Goodwill’s Workforce Development Programs. Not only did Goodwill beat out 79 other Goodwills to win Dell’s “Best in Class” award five months in a row in 2012, it was also given Dell’s Partner of the Year Award also known as “Best in Reconnect.” In 2013, Goodwill expanded its Recycling Program by purchasing equipment and increasing staffing to implement a three-prong approach: sorting of truck contents before they are transported to landfills for tipping; placing of recycling bins throughout rural and underserved areas of Goodwill’s territory; and increasing e-waste recycling free-of-charge. This expansion allowed Goodwill to offer recycling services to additional community partners: Douglas County Schools, Morgan County, AMD, etc.

Waste reduced or prevented:

While Goodwill understood the immense need for recycling services in Colorado, we underestimated the volume we would receive as a result of expanding our services. As a result, we learned to adapt to the increased need by allocating more staffing and space to meet the increased demand for recycling services.

Goodwill's e-waste recycling services are unlike any currently offered in Colorado. E-waste recycling services are free-of-charge and have limited restrictions. We are a trusted entity in the community and offer a tax deduction incentive for donors. As a result of donating to Goodwill, members of our community are recycling responsibly and extending the life and market value of the items they donate. Goodwill has been committed to recycling since the 1930s and continues to expand its recycling efforts every year. Goodwill has decreased its waste to landfill rate from 45% in 2009 to 22% in 2013.

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Outstanding Elected Official

City of Denver Councilwoman Jeanne Robb

Jeanne Robb has represented Denver City Council District 10 for ten years, and was re-elected for a third term in 2011. She has been a resident of the district for more than thirty years. Councilwoman Robb’s overall awareness and support of waste diversion have been a huge asset to the City of Denver.

Robb has been instrumental in supporting Denver’s recycling and waste diversion programs. Robb is a staunch advocate for the Solid Waste Master Plan, which calls for standardized trash collection, citywide organics collection, and increased recycling. In 2012 and 2013, she was a strong advocate in making the Solid Waste Master Plan a top City Council budget priority, which resulted in 2014 funds to transition 20,000 homes to trash-cart service (removing dumpsters). In 2013, Robb aided the Department of Public Works in securing a $2-million loan to expand composting services to more homes. As a part of that process, Robb helped establish a formal advisory committee to support and advocate for the implementation of the Solid Waste Master Plan. Robb now serves as a member of that committee.

In addition to supporting solid waste management, Robb also took action to improve the availability of recycling in her district. Robb represents a district that has a high concentration of multi-family buildings that are not serviced by the Denver’s recycling program. In 2011, in response to resident demand, Robb and her staff established a recycling drop-off center for her residents at the corner of 16th Avenue and Josephine in Denver. Her staff and a dedicated volunteer have been maintaining the site since then. Robb and Solid Waste Management now work in partnership to provide collection of containers, site maintenance and education. This is the only such site in the City of Denver.

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Outstanding Media Coverage

Jerry Powell, Resource Recycling

Jerry Powell has had a long and illustrious career – although there are some who may argue otherwise. That, of course, is one of the signs of a good journalist. When you dig deep enough and into areas some folks may not want you to dig, not everyone will be your fan!

Jerry is the owner of three magazines: Resource Recycling, Plastics Recycling Update and E-Scrap News. Jerry has been in the business for more than four decades and started Resource Recycling in 1982. Today, that magazine has a monthly readership of more than 13,000 in North America, and the company’s three electronic newsletters have a weekly readership of almost 50,000.

These magazines and newsletters are the go-to sources of information for a large portion of the population involved in waste diversion. Jerry and his staff work tirelessly each day to find new, interesting and educational stories, and tidbits of information to ensure that each edition is fresh and exciting. He realized early on that e-scrap and plastics were diversion worlds unto themselves so he created Plastics Recycling Update and E-Scrap News. Next, it could be the Used Diaper Diversion Update and, somehow, he would make that useful and riveting too!

In addition to providing information over the decades, Jerry had the brilliant foresight to get into the conference business, developing the E-Scrap Conference and Exhibition and the Plastics Recycling Conference and Exhibition. (At the words “brilliant foresight,” Jerry's face may have a sort of pained look. He might call the conferences money-sinks.) When the National Recycling Coalition was unable to hold their annual conference any longer, Jerry stepped up and offered the Resource Recycling Conference and Exhibition to take its place.

His three conferences are the largest in their respective fields — municipal recycling, plastics recycling and e-scrap recycling — and have been instrumental in bringing various aspects of the recycling industry together on a national stage. "Not a day goes by that I don't talk with someone about how Jerry's publications and conferences are the best in their industry," said Dylan de Thomas, editorial director of Resource Recycling.

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Mereth Meade Volunteer of the Year

Eric Heyboer

You may know Eric Heyboer as the recycling grants administrator for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Or you may know him as a member of the CAFR Board of Directors. In either role, Eric is as part of a marvelous group of people and professionals who work long and hard on behalf of the recycling industry in Colorado.

As a volunteer for CAFR in 2013, Eric was part of the Executive Committee, acting as Secretary of the corporation. Additionally, he offered to co-chair the Summit for Recycling Planning Committee, by far the most complex committee within CAFR. The Summit is CAFR’s main fundraiser, so the pressure is on to meet sponsorship goals, attract attendees and essentially raise the funds that fuel much of the organization’s programs. This is accomplished by overseeing numerous subcommittees including sponsorship, scholarships, recycling awards, program development, logistics, host committee, marketing, silent auction...

Initially, Eric was a co-chair of the Summit. However, due to personal circumstances, his co-chair had to bow out of that position, leaving Eric as the new kid on the block, all alone to cope with this many-headed hydra. He spent hours learning the ropes, picking up the pieces and ensuring that things were not going to fall apart on his watch. Eric went beyond ‘coping’ to lead with grace and style, never faltering, helping others as needed, using humor to keep all on an even keel and pulling off a very successful event.

Despite those trials and tribulations, he came back and volunteered for the same position for the 2014 Summit. This time he has a co-chair who is sticking around and doing a bang up job. At CAFR, we are fortunate to have all of our volunteer board members – they give so much of their time, passion and resources – but Eric took on an extra load.

Eric’s real boss, Patrick Hamel of CDPHE, says that despite the time Eric has put into CAFR and despite the fact that he too suffered a personal trauma this past year, Eric’s work has never suffered. In fact, Eric stepped up and filled in for not just one but two employees who were on leave. He is truly an inspirational volunteer.

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Recycler of the Year

Kristen Bertuglia, Town of Vail

Kristen Bertuglia is the environmental sustainability coordinator for the Town of Vail, a community of 5,000 residents, 300 businesses, and 2,000 households. She only started working for the town in 2008, but she has accomplished much more than many Colorado communities that have been working at recycling much longer – and she did so in the face of resistant haulers, tough geography and economics, the challenge of second homes and other obstacles. Kristen’s program is a model for other communities in the state – in the mountains and beyond.

Kristen had a vision: to make significant progress in recycling. She takes to heart that if things don’t work the first time, you’ve learned something for the next time! As a result of her determination, Vail adopted a mandatory recycling ordinance in March 2014. The road to this accomplishment went something like this:

The ordinance will go into effect July 1, 2014, and its key elements include embedded rates for commercial and residential service, PAYT for residential single-cart service, mandatory recycling. These three elements are a key trinity in boosting residential recycling. And mandatory commercial with PAYT/embedded fees is the crème de la crème! Although the adopted goal is just 25% diversion by 2019, the ordinance requires 100% participation and no recyclables are allowed in the trash. So, if the ordinance is effective, Vail will far exceed the 25% goal. Kristen was the driver, and her ordinance, her politic approach, and her persistence, is a model for other communities.

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Lifetime Achievement

Gary Horton, Western Disposal Services

Gary Horton, the long-time president of Western Disposal Services, and now the “Special Advisor to the Owner and President,” is a genuine leader and visionary. For more than 33 years, he has been an asset to recycling in Colorado. He is one of a very few haulers around the country that has seen recycling as an opportunity rather than a business threat, and this outlook has brought many benefits to Boulder County and the State.

Gary has worked in partnership with Boulder-area communities to move recycling, composting, and waste reduction forward, and has done so in a sustainable way – Western Disposal makes money, and, as Martha Stewart would say, “…that’s a good thing”! Furthermore, he doesn’t just “talk,” he “does” – building a compost site, exploring construction and demolition waste options, innovating with compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks, and harnessing the power of data and technology. Gary shares what he learns, which is a benefit to all Colorado recyclers.

Western’s service and known commitment to “green” has won them the vast majority of Boulder’s residential subscribers. The dramatic improvement in recycling rates that Western and its PAYT, data-savvy, and experienced collection management has brought to Lafayette and Louisville serves as a model to other communities.

Even though Western-delivered programs and services are largely responsible for getting Boulder to the highest diversion levels in the State (50% plus), Gary is always looking for new or different strategies that could be implemented to move diversion even higher. Western and Gary pursue excellence in their field every day, and it is evident in every aspect – whether you tour their transfer station, recycling areas, collection, or other operations.

In all, Gary has 45 years of business experience. He was a CPA at internationally-known Ernst & Ernst, a controller at Leprino Foods, and he joined Western in 1980. Gary brought a new and broader business perspective to Western, a small local company. Under Gary’s leadership, Western strives to achieve the right blend of big and small business attributes to be a leader in the region, and an example around the country.

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