Horton was recognized for his commitment and leadership in waste reduction at the association’s annual Summit for Recycling in June.
Horton worked at Western Disposal for 33 years, and he was at the helm from 2000 to 2013. He continues as a special adviser to the company.
He has spent his career on the forefront of the recycling business, continuously embracing change as an opportunity to innovate.
“From the beginning, one of Western’s core guiding principles has been to adapt the scope of our services to meet the changing needs of our customers,” Horton said. “We started our business in 1970, the year of the first Earth Day, when the environmental movement and recycling in particular really became mainstream ideas. We viewed environmental leadership as a responsibility and an opportunity. Almost 44 years later, it’s foundational, part of Western’s DNA; we consider impact on the environment not just in our core business but in everything we do.”
The hallmark of Horton’s tenure at Western Disposal is integration of local environmental stewardship with business practices.
Through a comprehensive suite of curbside collection services, Western has enabled Boulder and surrounding communities to achieve some of the highest diversion rates in the state.
Horton’s legacy also includes building the only Class II composting facility in Boulder County, tapping advanced technology to reduce route vehicle miles traveled, constructing the largest solar awning in the state to power operations buildings, and putting the company on a path to replace all diesel collection vehicles with low-emissions compressed natural gas trucks by 2018.
“We wouldn’t be who we are today without Gary’s leadership and vision,´ said Danny Souders, founder and owner of Western Disposal. “First as CFO, then as president, Gary has kept us on a path that balances the soundness of our business with the environmental priorities of the community.”