In 1976, Tim McClure founded Summit Recycling Project (SRP) as “a non-profit educational-experimental organization to promote resource recovery and to reduce wastefulness.” Tim’s program flourished for seven years as he and volunteers collected recyclable materials from county residents and began to foster the conservation ethic that still exists today. Unfortunately, Tim’s lobbying for government assistance and funding was met without success, forcing him to close SRP’s doors in February 1983. Two years later, Tim died in an avalanche.
In 1989, Bob and Rose Wentzell took on Tim McClure’s philosophy to renew SRP’s operations. One day per week, two recycling centers began accepting nine recyclable materials. Since then, the program has expanded to accept more than 20 different recyclable materials and has grown to address emerging waste streams like used electronics and wood waste from fire mitigation efforts.
In 2006, the Summit County Government institutionalized the nonprofit’s recycling operations into a stable government department. To formalize this change, SRP changed its name to the High Country Conservation Center (HC3) in January 2006. After careful thought, the organization’s board and staff realized that even with this significant shift in recycling operations, our work is not done and our mission is not complete. In fact, this change gave us the perfect opportunity to do more work on waste reduction education and more formally address other resource conservation issues.
Our current focus areas include waste reduction, energy efficiency and clean energy, water conservation, and sustainable food production. Just a few of our programs include Composting in the Schools, home energy audits and ratings, community gardens and sustainable business programs.
In the late 1970s, Tim McClure struggled to convince the County Government that it should embrace and support recycling. Today, we have finally reached that point, and we are proud of our successes. We think Tim would be proud too.