Want to be greener? Learn more about sustainability in the Yampa Valley:

Zero Waste

Recycle Zero Waste symbol Food Waste Reuse symbol Repair symbol





Zero Waste is looking for 2017 sponsors. Find more information here.

What is Zero Waste?

Zero Waste is a growing concept, spreading fast across the globe. Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. We couldn’t do this program locally without the help of Twin Enviro and Waste Management.  Twin’s Industrial Compost Facility is at the Milner Landfill, 20 miles west of Steamboat, where all of our organics materials from events (food waste and compostable plateware, etc) are turned into high grade compost/dirt that is used by most of our local landscapers and garden centers, as well as many businesses and individuals.

History and Stats
Our own Zero Waste program started in 2009 in partnership with the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation’s Food&Beverage Department with a goal to divert food waste from the landfill at 8 on-mountain dining facilities.  Immediately SSRC’s dumpsters went from filling daily to filling only weekly, and other ski areas began to take notice, calling F&BDirector Liz Wahl for recommendations. This was only the beginning! In 2010 YVSC’s Zero Waste program expanded and we headed out to public events with the help of our legion of Zero Hero volunteers.  The program made waste into resources at 23 community events, impacting approximately 30,000 attendees in just one summer. From the Summer Free Concert Series to many school events, Zero Waste was diverting 90% of the waste at our events already.

In 2011 the Zero Waste program doubled to meet the demand from the community and YVSC hired a program coordinator to manage the immensity of this growth. In total for 2011, YVSC worked to make 55 community events and 16 school events waste-free. These Zero Waste events impacted more than 60,000 adults and children, and engaged 210 volunteers who donated 764 hours of their time! As a result of our pre-event consulting and on-site efforts, these events diverted 18,144 gallons of recyclables and 14,560 gallons of compostable materials from the landfill—resulting in a 97% diversion rate!

In 2012, Zero Waste began a consistent fee-for-services system, and although we saw a slight decline in total numbers, we welcomed an overall outreach of a broader audience.  Because of the expansion of our Sustainable Schools program, and the Zero Waste efforts going on in the schools, those socials (and their subsequent statistics) no longer fall under the scope or reports of the Zero Waste program.  It’s a new dawn when Zero Waste is a daily reality and not just a per-event add-on!  Despite this, the ZW statistics continue to impress: in 31 events and 185 staff hours, Zero Waste’s 2012 season reached over 56,000 locals and visitors and maintained the excellent diversion rates of above 95%, keeping 13,600 gallons of recycling and 1140 gallons of compost from the landfill. This year we also added one Water Monster (learn more about these 120 gallon reservoirs) to cut down on plastic bottle consumption. Two more Water Monsters were added in 2013.

Each year, Zero Waste continues to grow, adding events, expanding our reach in the schools and at summer events, and also adding two more Water Monsters to the team. As of season-end 2014, the Zero Waste program has diverted over 95,000 gallons of waste, and reaching over 200,000 locals and visitors!

Food businesses that donate surplus food, consider become Food Recovery Network Certified! Learn more here.

We want to commend the following local businesses that have “Gone Zero” with Twin pickups: Animal Healing Center, CMC, City of Steamboat Springs City Hall and Community Center, Creekside Cafe, Haymaker, Rio Grande, Steamboat Grand Hotel and Ski and Resort Corporation, Sheraton Steamboat Resort, Smartwool, Trapper’s Crossing, Truffle Pig

Businesses that have reported to “Go Zero” on their own through community shares and efforts: Mountain Brew Coffee, Mountain Soap Company If you have Gone Zero on your own and want to be mentioned, send us your stats! It takes a village, and we’re excited to be part of it!

Zero Hero volunteer trainings May 6 and June 9 (powerpoint)
December 7 and 8 for Food Industry Professionals 


Who’s been using the dirt and loves it!? Community Garden, Gecko, SSRC (ski area) facilities Dept, Routt County… got a testimonial? Email us!

See our other pages for more ZW Tools Water Monster ZW Calendar ZW Trainings ZW Heroes

Support this great program! 2014 Zero Waste Sponsorships Zero Waste Facebook group

ZW in the Media YVSC in the NewsSSRC’s Zero Waste Initiative highlighted (CNN, Feb 13, 2012)

2016 Sponsors
City of SSlogo Steamboat magroutt_logo

Waste Management
The Green Company
Go Alpine

Water Monster Sponsor for 2016

cleanlogo2cGoldGL (4)



Zero Heroes in Action and more!