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High Country Conservation Center 737 Ten Mile Dr Frisco CO 80443 PO Box 4506 Frisco CO 80443


(970) 668-5703


Dear Eartha, I’ve been noticing the strides our residents are making towards sustainability, but what about our businesses?

From glass recycling and selling eco-friendly products to the adoption of LEDs and low flow toilets, businesses are doing their bit – big or small – to maintain the beauty of Summit County, just like our residents do. In fact, several businesses were recently recognized by the Resource Wise sustainable business initiative for their commitments to sustainability. Let’s shine a spotlight on just a few.

The National Repertory Orchestra has reduced their impact by transitioning their office lighting to LEDs and recycling at their office. And, their most noteworthy effort engages over 75 visiting summer musicians. The NRO’s summer musicians live, work and perform in Breckenridge for a few short months. Along with being welcomed like locals, the musicians get a crash course in Summit County sustainability, a reusable water bottle and a shopping bag to cut down on single-use plastic. Plus, NRO staff maintains a gently used stock of household items including bedding and kitchenware for musicians to use during their stay to reduce the amount of buying and tossing for their short stay. At the end of the season, NRO staff ensure leftover items find another home in our community rather than the landfill.

For concertgoers, the NRO developed an app that provides digital tickets and concert programs thus reducing the need of paper programs. For all the efforts over the past year, and their ongoing commitment, the National Repertory Orchestra earned the title of Summit County’s Sustainable business program, Resource Wise, 2023 Rookie of the Year.

When it comes to sustainability, restaurants have a big role to play. Just think of all the potential food waste. Rootstalk in Breckenridge slashed their trash in half by composting food waste from their kitchen, bus stations and bar. That’s why they’re the Resource Wise 2023 Recycling Champion. Additionally, the staff has made sustainability a priority. Beyond being an energy-efficient restaurant and a diligent steward in reusing and recycling, Rootstalk hopes to go even further. Like many other restaurants, the eatery still had to battle a lot of trash — well, mostly food scraps. The addition of food scrap collection in the kitchen, at the bus stations and behind the bar helped slashed the business’ trash in half while also reducing greenhouse gases.

The AC Hotel by Marriott in Frisco took over the building that used to be Summit Suites. However, when they did their remodel, they created a construction and demolition plan to make sure to divert as much waste as possible — from scrap metal to old mattresses. They donated or recycled anything else that was applicable. When it came to heating and cooling the rooms, they upgraded to energy-efficient heat pumps. Saving energy and diverting waste during their remodel earned AC Hotels by Marriott the Resource Wise 2023 Most Improved award.

Also in Frisco, Prescription Alternatives enhanced the efficiency of their pharmacy through LED lighting, low-flow faucets and efficient heating. They minimized their impact on the landfill by recycling traditional items such as cardboard and paper in addition to adding a specialty waste box to recycle disposable gloves. On top of that, the community can safely dispose of old and expired prescriptions through the medication disposal box. Thanks to the company’s ongoing commitment and its recent improvements, Prescription Alternatives achieved the title of Resource Wise 2023 Peak of Sustainability.

And let’s not forget the homeowners associations! Mountain Plaza, a large association at Copper Mountain, swapped all of its common area and business lights for LEDs and bid farewell to their 40-year-old boilers, which has reduced the buildings’ energy use significantly. These efforts helped them win the Resource Wise 2023 Energy Champion award. Mountain Plaza officials also took a deep dive into the neighborhood’s high water use. A smart meter revealed leaky toilets, so the homeowners association systematically tested them all and fixed or replaced the culprits. The result? An 80% reduction in water loss, saving a whopping 600,000 gallons annually — that’s like 96 Americans skipping showers for a whole year!

These achievements represent just a fraction of the sustainability work thriving in our community. Whether your business occupies a huge building or a cozy office, the High Country Conservation Center can help you uncover simple and impactful ways to become more sustainable.

Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at