Green Evolution

Mountainfilm in Telluride has always been committed to preserving our fragile environment. We actively recycle or reuse everything that we can to minimize our waste output, and we collaborate with other organizations that share our beliefs, but in the past few years we've stepped it up a notch.

Low Impact Festival

Take special note and tell your friends: in an effort to reduce festival waste we are no longer providing single-use disposable containers of any type. For your morning elixir at Coffee Talks, bring your own coffee cup or mug. Bring a bowl and a spoon to the Ice Cream Social if you prefer not to eat your delectable sweet out of an edible cone. Bring a plate and silverware to the Closing Picnic or be prepared to eat lunch off of a leaf. If you are lacking reusable dishware, pick up great portable items at the Mountainfilm Store at BootDoctors and Paragon Outdoors. Rare exceptions: Some venues still sold concessions in their usual manner, and unfortunately, we cannot serve alcohol in to-go cups. By not using compostable single-use items, we went from 15 polycarts of compost in 2010 to only 3 in 2011, an 80% reduction in festival waste!

Green Screen

Beginning in 2007, Mountainfilm heeded the call to reduce our use of coal-generated electricity. Through the support of Telluride's New Community Coalition, local renewable energy pioneer Eric Jacobson and the San Miguel Power Association, we generated our own power with two grid-tied diesel generators and enough used-french-fry-oil-turned-bio-diesel fuel to electrify all aspects of Mountainfilm in Telluride. This reduced our carbon footprint from festival operations by 78 percent.

But why stop there? In 2008, we went the extra step of reducing 100% of carbon from festival operations by harnessing the power of water through SMPA grid-tied hydro-power. We also expanded our efforts to offset the carbon produced by our festival participants by:

  • producing enough hydro-generated electricity to power the festival weekend, as well as our festival offices for 12 months
  • offsetting 70,000 pounds of CO2 from automobile emissions
  • offsetting 200,000 pounds of CO2 from air-travel emissions
  • working with Telluride's New Community Coalition Green Fund to support local and regional renewable energy projectrs throughout San Miguel County
  • investing in local solar power for the R-1 school district

In 2010, we focused on local sustainability projects by participating in the TNCC Green Fund for local renewable energy projects, forest renewal through Carbon Zero and statewide investment in carbon offsetting projects through the Colorado Carbon Fund.

In 2011, we eliminated single-use disposable containers from all of our events.

Minimum Waste

The easiest way we can help reverse the effects of global climate change is to consume less. Each year, Mountainfilm strives to reduce waste through on-site recycling and composting programs. Ninety percent of festival trash was either composted or recycled. Attendees drank New Belgium beer (the nation's first wind-powered brewery) from cups made of corn. The Symposium lunch was a localvore's delight with the seasonal ingredients limited to a 100-mile radius from Telluride. During the Festival, organic meals were feasted upon with compostable forks and plates made from sugarcane. At the conclusion of the festival, a local farm made compost from the festival's organic waste. In due time, vegetables will grow from the soil fertilized by refuse generated by our past festivals. Additionally, most of the complimentary treats were natural, organic or shade grown and created by socially conscious organizations. And, of course, all of our printed collateral is on recycled paper with soy inks. In 2008, Mountainfilm decided to no longer provide any bottled water during the festival. We now encourage all festival guests to carry reusable water bottles and to use our water stations for refills.