Photo taken at the Ribbon cutting event June 27th, 2018. The Drop is the only public trash and recycling facility on the east side of Grand County. Located in Fraser on County Road 72.  Photo by Casey Malon

The Town of Fraser has fast become a leader in community sustainability efforts. From reducing residential water usage to managing the only pay-as-you-throw trash and recycling center in the valley, the Town of Fraser is committed to lessening our carbon footprint and conserving precious resources. “We are proud to look back on 2019 with several sustainability accomplishments,” said Assistant Town Manager Michael Brack. 

Brack provided an update on the Town’s programs and accomplishments for 2019, saying, “Great strides have been made to pursue a more sustainable community and lower our impact on the environment.”

The Drop: Pay-As-You-Throw Trash and Recycling Facility

The Drop, Fraser’s pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) trash and recycling facility, finishes out its first full year of operations in 2019. The Drop has seen a 38% increase in recycling utilization since last year and a 17% increase in PAYT trash bag sales. As of November 25, The Drop has received over 230,000 lbs. of recycling in 2019 alone! 

The Drop was also home to the Town’s first solar system that will help power the facility and increase the level of service to the community. Due to a few site improvements (propane heater, 2.5kw solar system, road base) 2019 revenues from PAYT trash bag sales and donations covered about 70% of all costs (Labor, Capital Improvements, Dumpster Service) incurred for The Drop.

The Drop is located at 440 GCR 72 in Fraser, about a quarter mile south of US 40 on CR 72 and is open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am – 7 pm. 

During the holidays, The Drop will be closed on Christmas Day (Wednesday, December 25), and New Year’s Day (Wednesday, January 1). 

High Efficiency Blowers at Wastewater Treatment Plant

The Town of Fraser’s wastewater treatment plant has had their new efficient blowers online since June of 2019, which use less power than the older blowers. The blowers require the highest power demand than any other piece of equipment for the Town of Fraser and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the wastewater treatment plant by about 100 metric tons every year.

New Rate Structure for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

In August 2018, the town’s first EV charging station, a level 2 type, was installed in front of The Foundry Cinema & Bowl. The charging station has seen steady use from local and unique users. On September 6, the Town initiated a fee of $1.25 per hour and $5 per hour after idling 15 minutes, to cover the costs of providing the service to the public. On average, it takes between 7-12 hours to fully charge a vehicle at a level 2 station.

Town staff, with assistance from the Colorado Energy Office, worked with Mountain Parks Electric Inc to establish a rate structure for level 3 fast-charging stations for electric vehicles for all of Grand County. The Town applied for and was awarded a $30,000 grant from the Colorado Energy Office to install Grand County’s first public level 3 electric vehicle charging station next year at a location to be determined. A level 3 fast-charging station can charge a vehicle in as little as 30 minutes.

Disposable Bag Fee Adoption

Since the adoption of the Town of Fraser’s disposable bag fee on April 1, 2019, disposable bags have been reduced by 72%, resulting in a cleaner environment and encouragement of a more sustainably-focused community. Brack reports, “We haven’t received much input from the guests that visit the area, but several locals have said that ‘it’s the right thing to do’ and are proud of the implementation.”

So far, Brack said, “the bag fee revenues total $14,825.15, but we anticipate the total will be around $20,000 for the year.” Funds generated from the fees are used to offset the costs of the Town’s sustainability initiatives.

Water use decreases 18%

The Town of Fraser produces a lot of water to serve the residential and business community. This water is tracked on an annual basis, called a ‘water year’. The water year runs from November 1 of one year to October 31 of the next calendar year.

In water year 2019, Fraser diverted/produced and used 18% less water than it did in 2018. Repairs to a leaky water main and a wet summer made a difference in Fraser’s overall water use, decreasing it by about 15 million gallons. The Town reports about half of that savings can be attributed to less irrigation. Additionally, Fraser implemented a new tiered water rate structure designed to conserve residential water use. 

In the west, where water conservation is paramount and every drop matters, small changes make a big difference. 

While some of the Town’s sustainability initiatives are focused on waste diversion, the Town of Fraser remains committed to reaching its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% below 2014 levels by 2025. 

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