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Denver begins its 'pay as you throw' program

The city's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure said that there is a 6 week wait for delivery if you want a different sized trash bin.

DENVER — Let's talk trash.

If you're a Denver resident, you might be talking about it already – or you will once you get a new bill in your mailbox this month.

The city has begun charging for residential trash pickup as part of a plan to expand its solid waste program that began at the start of the year. As part of the program, the city has begun weekly recycling pickup and will roll out weekly composting pickup starting this summer.

It will also start charging people for trash pickup, with the amount charged depending on the size of a resident's curbside bin.

"We’re trying to get people to rethink how they think about how they produce waste and waste in general," said department spokesperson Vanessa Lacayo. 

Lacayo said the goal of the program is to reduce the waste Denver sends to landfills – currently 74% – and increase the amount sent to recycling and composting facilities.

"We're hoping that by offering weekly composting and recycling, the amount of trash going into those black bins is going to go down," she said.

The city is also expanding education efforts to help residents understand the changes. "There’s always a learning curve for introducing something new," said Nina Waysdof, the city's waste diversion and recycling manager.

"For a lot of people, composting is going to be new, recycling can be confusing or has this misconception of being confusing, but there are resources out there to really know what can be put into which bin," she said.

The largest size bin will cost $21 per month, the medium size will cost $13, and the smallest $9. The amounts will be billed quarterly.

The department said most people have the largest size bin currently – and about 30,000 have already asked for a different size, which comes with about a six-week wait for delivery of a new bin.

"We realize there’s a lot of excitement to move to a smaller bin, and we’re excited because that’s the goal of the program," Lacayo said. "If somebody makes a request today for a smaller bin, we’re going to go ahead and make sure we’re billing them based on the time they made that request."

The department said there are three ways to request a differently sized bin. Residents can request a smaller size on pocketgov.com or through a Denver Utilities Online account, which is where they can also pay their quarterly bill. Customers can also bring their current trash cart to the city's cart maintenance facility at 2013 S. Osage St. and exchange it on the spot. 

More 9NEWS stories from reporter Cole Sullivan:   


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