ENVISIONING A LESS WASTEFUL DENVER
Let’s face it, Denver— it’s about time that we address our city’s massive waste problem.
Compared to other major cities, Denver has one of the worst recycling rates in the country, and many of the city’s current policies are making it difficult for residents to do the right thing.
TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE
Waste accounts for 21% of Denver’s greenhouse gas emissions. That is because a huge amount of fossil fuels are used to produce virgin packaging and construction materials like paper, cans, bottles, and concrete. In addition, when organic matter is sent to the landfill, it releases methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas. Increasing Denver's recycling and compost rate is one of the fastest, easiest steps we can take to reach our climate goals.
RECYCLING FOR ALL
Everyone in Denver should have the ability to recycle and compost, yet currently the city doesn’t require apartment complexes with eight or more units to provide either service to residents. To cut costs, many apartment property managers choose to only provide trash service, leaving residents feeling disempowered or forced to drive their recyclables to a drop-off facility or seek out a private composting service.
ZERO WASTE FOR BUSINESSES
Denver businesses generate around 55 percent of the city’s municipal waste, yet aren’t required to recycle or compost. Waste No More would require all businesses — including apartment buildings, condos, restaurants, hospitals, hotels and sporting arenas, to provide compost and recycling pickup services. It would also mandate that all construction and demolition waste must be properly disposed of and it would require recycling and composting at all permitted events.
An increase in recycling will help Denver’s economy as well as our environment. Recycling creates nine times more jobs per ton than sending trash to the landfills. Despite China’s decision to stop importing U.S. recyclables, recyclable materials are still being recycled in Denver, and there are no reports of Denver recyclables being sent to landfills.
In fact, the Momentum Recycling facility in Broomfield remains at less than 70% capacity because it does not receive enough recycled glass from residents and businesses in the Front Range.