406 W Hwy 50, Salida, CO 81201

Sustainable Salida

Sustainable Salida grew from local grassroots efforts to conserve and protect the unique natural environment that defines our community. From the beginning, the Salida Chamber of Commerce embraced Sustainable Salida to help promote natural resource conservation and sustainable business practices. Sustainable Salida’s first project was a reusable bag campaign that distributed thousands of locally made reusable bags to help reduce the use of single-use plastic bags.

Since that first campaign against plastic waste, Sustainable Salida has sponsored numerous events that have recycled thousands of pounds of electronic and hazardous waste. During an 18-month period in 2021-22, Sustainable Salida recycled 150,000 pounds of electronics and appliances, preventing the improper disposal of these toxic materials and extending the life of the landfill.

Click here for our Local Recycling Guide, and check out these articles in Colorado Central Magazine and The Mountain Mail to learn more about local recycling.

Sustainable Salida also recognizes local businesses for their sustainable practices, things like:

  • Having a waste reduction/recycling plan.
  • Using alternative energy sources.
  • Practicing water conservation.
  • Eliminating single-use disposables.
  • Decreasing food waste through food bank donations and composting.

If you’re interested in learning more, joining the Sustainable Salida volunteer community or getting a free Sustainable Salida Business certification, please contact us using the form below.

Recycling in Chaffee County

In 1998, concerned citizens formed Citizens for Recycling and, in partnership with the Upper Arkansas Area Council of Governments, established the first free recycling drop-off service in Chaffee County.

A decade later, the success this ground-breaking recycling program prompted local entrepreneurs to establish Angel of Shavano Recycling, which was subsidized by local governments to take over the free recycling drop-off program. The new business also benefited from equipment purchased for the county by Citizens for Recycling.

With the shift to this public-private partnership, the founders of Citizens for Recycling came together with others to create Sustainable Salida, which sponsors free electronics and hazardous-waste recycling events and certifies “green” businesses.

Angel of Shavano went out of business in 2021, leaving Chaffee County residents with no options for dropping off recyclable waste. The loss of this service reduced local recycling rates, increasing pressure on landfill capacity.

Using funds allocated to support the defunct recycling program, Chaffee County commissioned a waste-diversion study, but no free recycling service has been implemented to fill the gap. Fortunately, all three Chaffee County waste companies now offer paid recycling service:

View Waste Management’s Recycling 101, What Is Recycling and How to Recycle for more information on how to recycle responsibly.

Chaffee County is also developing a Sustainability Plan and investigating additional options for recycling, and Sustainable Salida’s Recycling Guide details options for recycling a wide range of residential, business and automotive waste.


Elements Mountain Compost offers paid, self-service residential composting at drop-off sites in Salida, Poncha Springs and Buena Vista.

If you are interested in submitting your business as a Sustainable Salida Business, please complete the form below and submit it to Michael Kunkel: kunk.lws@gmail.com, Joe Stone: joe@joestone.net, or Karen Lundberg: kklundberg@gmail.com

Why Businesses Should Care About Sustainability

In today’s increasingly competitive landscape, more and more companies are realizing that being sustainable is more than an environmental gesture—it makes long-term economic sense.

1. Consumer demand. Being green creates new revenue by attracting customers who care about a company’s environmental footprint.

2. Leadership. Traditionally, companies adopted sustainability strategies in order to comply with government regulations and avoid fines. Now leading-edge corporations are embracing the concept of sustainability in order to be a part of the conversation on environmental policy. Taking a leadership role defines not only your organization, but also your culture and values.

3. Employee retention. Working for a bigger cause makes employees feel more invested in the company. Where sustainability is embedded in the business culture, it’s a selling-point to attract and retain workers.