Ophir Composting Program Has Diverted Over 3,000 Pounds of Food and Waste From The Landfill

Telluride, CO (September 28, 2018) – After receiving a State of Colorado Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity (RREO) mini-grant on January 29, 2018, two Earth Cube composting units were ordered and delivered to Ophir, CO in early April. At the end of August, it was reported that over 3,000 pounds of food and waste were diverted from the landfill, and an additional 600 pounds was diverted in September.

“Ophir residents have really embraced composting!” says Heather Knox, Executive Director of EcoAction Partners who wrote and submitted the grant. “The RREO grant provided funding for the purchase of the two Earth Cubes, additional equipment such as a scale and a drill to mix the compost, and educational materials for residents. Each Earth Cube accepts up to 50 pounds of food waste per day,” says Knox.

Preliminary results are in and the 3,000 pounds of food and waste diverted from the landfill through August has offset approximately three metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2e).

Jacey Depriest, a local Ophir resident who sits on the Ophir Self Reliance Committee, has been a key contributor, as well as other community members, to the ongoing education and upkeep of the Ophir composting program. After the success she has seen in such a short amount of time, she encourages satellite towns to explore this grant to bring composting to their communities.

“The Town of Ophir has put in a lot of effort to make our government carbon neutral. We wanted to find a way to become more sustainable to further reduce our carbon footprint as a community,” says Depriest. “With the composting program we have not only been able to significantly reduce Ophir’s overall landfill waste, but we will use the soil resulting from the compost to feed our community gardens. We are excited to see our post-consumer waste support the growth of healthy, organic food.”

The Ophir composting program has received a lot of interest from the local community; multiple tours have been given, and are available to those interested.

“The next RREO Grant cycle will open in October and will be due a month later; the exact dates will be announced. We encourage towns to apply to bring composting to their communities,” says Knox. “Composting food waste significantly decreases methane that is produced from food decomposing anaerobically in the landfill. This is beneficial, because methane is approximately 25 times more dangerous as a Greenhouse Gas than Carbon Dioxide.”

A special thanks to the Ophir Self Reliance Committee, and Jacey Depriest, who generously assisted in the design and creation of all educational materials; Ophir Mayor, Corinne Platt; Ophir Town Manager, Randy Barnes for managing the facility to make room for the units and assisting with the day-to-day operations; Tyler Schultz, owner of Arborist Services, for supplying the bulking agent (wood chips); Kris Holstrom for supplying buckets for the community, and to the many others who helped this project come to fruition.

For more information about the RREO Grant visit: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/recycling-grants.