HCR began in 2006 when a couple of residents and a local business owner met at a Sustainable Ways community meeting while sharing their concerns about the lack of local recycling opportunities. From that first meeting the group grew in numbers and created a mission, an overarching goal and four objectives along with the name High Country



To be a comprehensive, successful program that supports individual, business and governmental practices that reduces waste, promotes reuse and advances recycling throughout Custer County.


To be a role model for rural communities within & outside of Colorado.



 Promote Community Involvement
Educate & Raise Awareness
Expand Options
Role Model Zero Waste



CC Bobcats 5th grade students initiated a district wide weekly paper recycling collection program with HCR volunteers.  Subsequently HCR provided classroom and office paper recycling bins. 


Established a monthly plastic recycling drop off and volunteers transported all to a recycling vendor in Salida until 2012 - Purchased a metal shed for 24/7 collection in the parking lot of the Altitude Community Fitness Center.

2009 - 2010
Secured  50 gallon barrels to be used at nor cost as recycling collection containers at public and private events.  4-H youth refurbished and painted the barrels with supplies and tools provided by HCR. 

Authored two CO Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) award winning grants that provided for the purchase of a cardboard baler, construction of a Waste Minimization Facility at the County Landfill and established electricity via solar power previously not available. HCR volunteers built the facility using cardboard bales for walls/insulation with the top tier being plastic bales. This stucco building is currently being used as the landfills first heavy equipment garage. 

2010 - 2022

Volunteers have continually sorted and baled cardboard on a semi weekly basis.

2012 - 2020

Hosted an annual Mobile Record Shredder community wide event which sadly shut down due to COVID and is no longer available.

2020  - 2022

Partnered with Dundee Memorial Dog Park to save local aluminum and steel recycling when the UAACOG shut down 15 plus years of County wide aluminum, steel, paper and glass recycling services.  We purchased two horse trailers for drop off collection in the park and expanded their Cans for Canines project.  Volunteers meet weekly with what became our Check'em, Sort'em Bag'em project whereby all cans were hauled to Penrose and proceeds went to Dundee Memorial Dog Park. 

 22021 - 2022 ACCOMPLISHMENT 

On October 2, 2020 the then County's and towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff recycling vendor shut down all paper, aluminum, tin and glass recycling services. Since then HCR has focused all our efforts on re-establishing these services and expanding the County's cardboard recycling service.  Unfortunately we have not been able to identify any way to re-establish local glass recycling services.  

However, our efforts along with the involvement of County Commissioner Tom Flower, CC Economic Development member, Wilson Jarvis and CC Landfill Manager Brian Lockhart and WMV Rotarian, Mike Liebman resulted in a county owned and operated recycling service - Custer County Recycles with their new Joanie Liebman Recycling Center at the County Landfill, a new state of the art baler that can also handle plastic should the need ever arise and two drop-off sites: Recycle Round Up on Lake DeWeese Road, Westcliffe and Dundee Memorial Dog Park on Butler Road, Silver Cliff.

Custer County Recycles has two employees - Tim Harmon, Recycling Program Manager and Dennis Sprecher, Recycling Operations Manager. HCR continues provide volunteer staff and financial assistance.




Colorado's Plastic Pollution Reduction Act passed in 2021 is a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags going into effect January 2023 and a ban on single-use Styrofoam containers going into effect in 2024.  It does allow several exemptions including restaurants and shops with three or fewer locations in the state. Shops that are not exempted, must start a 10-cent bag fee on paper and plastic bags as of January, 2023.

HCR is exploring ways to ease the single-use plastic shopping bag ban for both local businesses and shoppers this coming year and for ways to prepare the community for the future Styrofoam single use container ban. Any ideas or suggestions will be most welcome. 


HCR meets monthly on the 4th Monday of the month at 9:30am in the West Custer County Community Room in Westcliffe. We are an all volunteer organization operating within Sustainable Ways, Inc 501 (C) 3.  
To contact us - email highcountryrecycling@gmail.com