Over the next three months, The Recycling Partnership will work with Denver Public Works to increase the city’s recycling rate.
The goal of the pilot is to find the best way to increase the amount of recyclables residents put in their purple carts, starting with a focus on aluminum and steel cans. Together with Denver Public Works, The Recycling Partnership will implement an education program on four pilot routes. On-the-ground recycling experts will tag trash carts with an information card that instructs residents to put cans in their recycling carts. Residents will also receive the message through mailers, signs, and social media. Success will be measured by the escalation in the number of steel and aluminum cans coming from the pilot routes, which are infinitely recyclable.
“We plan to use this project to help increase our citywide recycling rate from20 percent to our 2020 goal of 34 percent,” Charlotte Pitt, manager at Denver’s Solid Waste Management said in a statement. “This will not only benefit our residents and our environment, but keeping recyclable material out of the landfill will also save at least $1 million in landfill fees .”
“We are excited to be working with the committed residents and city officials in Denver,” The Recycling Partnership CEO Keefe Harrison said in a statement. “The standard of residential service is already excellent, but there’s always room for improvement. Success in boosting Denver’s recycling performance will not only help locally, it will provide communities across America with the tools and proof points they need to make the most of their programs.”
According to the partnership, Denver’s residential recycling program is already outperforming the national average in terms of quality of material collected. But recent reports have shown that the recycling rate is flagging.
A November 2016 study conducted by Colorado Public Interest Research Group and Eco-Cycle revealed that the City of Denver only recycles 18 percent of the waste generated by single-family homes and apartments with less than seven units
In 2016, the city expanded its composting program with the hope of easing the burden on the city’s landfills and in the beginning of 2017, the city announced that it had budgeted $3.3 million to add more recycling and composting routes and to fully switch from dumpsters to carts by 2018.
In May, a study conducted by nonprofits Colorado Public Interest Research Group and Eco-Cycle revealed that composting could be key to improving the city’s recycling rate. Approximately 50 percent of the waste that a typical Denver resident produces is compostable, but currently only 6 percent of Denver residents have a green compost bin that’s collected by the city every other week.