Summit County recycling expands to include food scraps, mattresses, cartons and glass

Summit County is expanding the county’s recycling and composting capability with the addition of several new programs. The High Country Conservation Center announced that the county has added food composting along mattress, glass and carton recycling, all added thanks to the $1.6 million in annual funds generated by the Stronger Future ballot initiative passed by county voters last year.

The county started free composting back in August. To participate in the program, residents will need to register for it first by visiting HC3’s website at After registration, residents will receive the code required to open the bear-proof composting bins at the Frisco or Breckenridge recycling centers, with the code changing periodically to ensure the compost bins are only used by program participants and not contaminated by unacceptable items.

While supplies last, the conservation center will provide residents with free special buckets that can be filled with food scraps, locked and sealed until they are ready to be dropped off at the recycling centers. Residents can pick up their free bucket by visiting their office at 737 Ten Mile Drive in Frisco from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. Pumpkin composting is also live, and residents can drop off pumpkins at the recycling centers until Nov. 11.

While all food scraps will be accepted, no plastic, paper or other products will. That includes “compostable” packaging, utensils or bags. That is because the so-called compostable products are not made to break down in the dry, cold conditions present at high elevations, and wind up just contaminating the compost material.

Along with food scrap recycling, starting Monday, Oct. 28 the Summit County Resource Allocation Park in Keystone will start accepting mattresses for free recycling. Rachel Zerowin, High Country Conservation Center’s community programs director, said that 90% of mattress material can be recycled, but the allocation park will only accept clean and dry, non-mechanical mattresses.

Up to six mattresses can be dropped off without an appointment at the SCRAP, located at 639 County Road 66 in Dillon, from Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Recycling 7 to 20 mattresses requires a set drop-off time, which can be scheduled by calling the allocation park gatehouse at 970-368-9263. To recycle more than 20 mattresses at a time, call the allocation park gatehouse to schedule a pickup by contractor Spring Back Colorado.

Glass recycling stations will also being introduced at satellite locations outside the recycling centers. Zerowin said that sites have been identified in Summit Cove, the Town of Dillon, Dillon Valley, Blue River and SIlverthorne, but the exact locations are not currently available. 

A glass recycling station will also be installed at the Whole Foods Market in Frisco, but not funded by Stronger Future dollars. The increased availability of glass recycling is important, as glass is not accepted in Summit County’s single stream recycling program. Glass recyclables must be properly cleansed before depositing, with lids off.

Carton recycling is now live at the recycling centers in Breckenridge and Frisco. Milk, soup and juice cartons will be accepted, but not egg cartons or seltzer cans. Zerowin said most cartons with a gable-like triangle top and plastic caps (which must be removed) will be accepted. They also must be cleaned before dropping off.

Zerowin wanted Summit County’s voters to be assured that their funds for recycling are going to where they were meant to when Stronger Future was passed.

“As other communities are dropping their recycling programs, Summit County is prioritizing them,” Zerowin said. “Thanks to the voters, and thanks to the county for their foresight, recycling is really happening here. As long as people follow the rules and properly decontaminate their items, they will definitely be recycled.”