Kate Hawthorne For Immediate Release: 08/31/2016
Spring Back Colorado Wins Competitive Grant to Bring Mattress Recycling to Northern Colorado
State-sponsored grants divert waste from landfills and create new green-sector jobs
Fort Collins, CO (8/31/16) – Spring Back Colorado has been awarded a $297,500 grant in recognition of plans to expand its recycling program to Northern Colorado and create new green-sector jobs. The funding is part of the Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity (RREO) competitive grant program, which is administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
Colorado has made strides when it comes to diverting trash from landfills by reducing, reusing and recycling waste, but there is room for improvement. According to CDPHE, in 2007 the state diverted only about 7 percent of the nearly 10 million tons of household and commercial trash generated that year. Seven years later, numbers have improved as 11 percent of roughly 9 million tons of waste was diverted from landfills in 2014. The state lags behind the national average of 35 percent for waste diversion.
The RREO grant program gives for-profit, nonprofit, and local entities the infusion of funds they need to expand access to recycling and help Colorado surpass the national average. However, grantees must demonstrate more than a plan for better managing waste. Each company must also show how it will help build local economies and create permanent jobs for Coloradans who are ready to get to work.
More than $11.5 million in RREO grant funds have gone to making a positive impact on the quality of life in towns, cities and regions across Colorado. “As a 501(c)3 social enterprise we are so grateful for the funds and sustainable support that we’ve received through the RREO grant program,” says Christopher Conway, Spring Back Colorado’s Executive Director. “This makes it possible for us to provide convenient, affordable, and environmentally responsible mattress and box spring recycling to schools, businesses, and the general public in Northern Colorado.”
But it’s not just about the environmental benefits. “What sets us apart is that we provide jobs, training, and support to people who have barriers to sustained gainful employment” says Conway. “We’ve had amazing support and a very warm welcome from the City of Fort Collins, where our new warehouse is located. It’s satisfying when people realize that employing the disenfranchised to recycle mattresses not only helps the environment but can give people a second chance on their journey of recovery.”
Spring Back Colorado has been recycling mattresses in Denver since 2012 and offers both scheduled pick-up and drop-off services from residences and commercial spaces alike. In Denver they now fully recycle 4,000 mattresses per month while creating meaningful job opportunities for the disenfranchised, formerly incarcerated, recovering addicts, homeless veterans and others facing barriers to employment. Eighty-four men have benefited from the program in four years – seven of them U.S. veterans. So far, Spring Back has kept over 90,000 mattress sets out of Colorado landfills.
“We are pleased to recognize Spring Back Colorado for its dedication and commitment to reducing the amount of waste sent to Colorado landfills and creating new jobs in the local economy,” said Eric Heyboer, RREO Grant Program administrator at CDPHE. “Through our RREO grants, we incentivize partnerships that are a win-win for Colorado’s economy and the environment and this project exemplifies that mission,” said Heyboer.
A recent study commissioned by CDPHE titled Economic Study of Recycling in Colorado revealed that the state’s recycling industry sustains more than 85,000 jobs and accounts for approximately 5 percent of Colorado’s overall economic output. This generates nearly $1.3 billion per year in state and local tax revenue.
For more information about Spring Back Colorado, please visit http://www.springbackco.org/ and for more information about RREO grants, visit www.colorado.gov/cdphe/recyclinggrantrebates.
About Spring Back Colorado
Spring Back Colorado, a 501(c)3 nonprofit social enterprise, recycles 4,000 mattresses per month while creating meaningful job opportunities for the disenfranchised, formerly incarcerated, recovering addicts, homeless veterans and others facing barriers to employment. Its employees are rebuilding their lives while gaining skills that restore purpose, value, and hope. The program assists with probation requirements, offers counseling, and a conduit back to society. Eighty-four men have benefited from the program in four years – 7 of them U.S. veterans. Retailers, universities, hotels, governments, and the public work with Spring Back Colorado to recycle post-consumer mattresses while supporting transitional, redemptive employment, and training. Spring Back has kept over 90,000 mattress sets out of Colorado landfills.
About the RREO Grant Program
The Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity Act (HB 07-1288) created the RREO Grant Program with the intent to fund implementation projects that promote economic development through the productive management of recyclable materials that would otherwise be treated as discards. Projects that meet this goal are designed to implement recycling, composting, anaerobic digestion, source reduction, and beneficial use/reuse for a wide variety of materials. Funds are awarded to businesses, local governments, nonprofit groups, and schools and universities throughout Colorado. The grant program is under the authority of Colorado’s Pollution Prevention Advisory Board.