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Developing a San Luis Valley Regional Waste Diversion Plan

Updated: Feb 22, 2021

Good news! SLVEC has received an RREO grant to develop a Regional Solid Waste Management and Recycling Plan for the SLV. This is to compliment a grant received by Conejos Clean Water (CCW), which is a two year grant for developing a similar plan.

Solid Waste Management is morphing from illegal dumping emphasis to developing a possible hub and spoke network for solid waste and recycling to reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill.

Removing recyclables and compost will reduce the amount of emissions that cause Greenhouse Gasses (GHG), which contribute to climate change, as well as satisfy the requirements set forth by the CDPHE regarding solid waste and recycling on the State level.


The first step to beginning the SLV Regional Waste Diversion Plan is to assemble a Task Force of solid waste experts, who will undertake baseline studies to determine what services and infrastructure are already in place to deal with waste diversion, and a gap analysis to see what is still needed to improve the situation.

The Task Force will also oversee a waste audit to determine how many recyclables are being thrown away instead of being recycled. This will require us getting our hands dirty! Several volunteers, over the course of two days, will sort through several loads of municipal solid waste at the landfill and categorize the trash items we find. In the end, they will be weighed and we will discover the percentages of recyclables and food waste in the current waste stream.

With the help of our project consultant and waste management expert, Laurie Batchelder Adams, we will then extrapolate this number towards the future and compare it to changes we can make that will help divert the recyclables and food waste. In the end, we hope to come up with three major options to pursue for change to the current system.

SLVEC is currently pursuing a second grant, from the USDA, Solid Waste Management 3, which will allow the Ecosystem Council to assist waste management entities (landfills, trash haulers) with writing grants for funding to implement the projects set forth by the SLV Regional Waste Diversion Plan.

Currently, SLVEC and CCW is assembling this Waste Diversion Task Force, and hope to have our first meeting in March. Throughout the process, stakeholders and the public are encouraged to keep informed through regular meetings.



The Waste Diversion Project (as it has been coined) is proceeding as planned, and the Task Force as well as staff have completed the Baseline Data and well as the Waste Audit (see photos below). The Baseline Data showed that the current rate of recycling in the Valley is 18%, and the Waste Audit showed that 65% of landfilled waste could have been recycled or composted!

Next, we held three stakeholder meetings on Tuesday, June 27th and Thursday, June 28th, 2017 in San Luis, Alamosa, and Del Norte respectively. Here we queried solid waste professionals and interested public citizens about the problems and possible solutions, or improvements. These were well attended, with about 50 participants throughout the Valley. 

Staff and our consultant are working currently on our Gap Analysis - using the Baseline Data and Waste Audit Data to extrapolate where we are vs. where we want to be in ten years with our waste diversion goals - these improvements will be ranked, and the top three chosen to be part of the Plan.



The final report is in! We finished the Gap Analysis and identified the top three "bang for the buck" improvements: education of North Conejos School District and public officials on recycling and waste diversion, locating and running up to 10 possible trash and recycling drop sites, and enhancements to the Rickey Recycling Center in order to receive recyclables from the drop sites. 

We held three Waste Diversion Stakeholder meetings this last week to present the summary of the results. They were held in Crestone, La Jara, and Alamosa. Thank you everyone who was involved with creating this report! Our Task Force was essential, as were Stakeholders and others. Thanks also to the SLVEC and CCW team, and our consultant Laurie Batchelder Adams.


Download the final PDF report here. (November 2017 final SLVEC Waste Diversion Report.pdf)

See the slideshow for November Stakeholder Meetings here.

For more information, contact:

Christine Canaly, 719.588.5127,, or SLVEC office (719) 589-1518.

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