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Denver wants to double recycling, composting over next 5 years

Denver has announced a plan to double recycling and composting by 2027.

DENVER — The City and County of Denver unveiled a plan Tuesday to divert 50% of all solid waste away from the landfill and to recycling or composting by 2027.

The city's Sustainable Resource Management Plan — which also calls for the recycling rate to increase to 70% by 2032 — represents a collaboration between the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency (CASR), the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) and the Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE).

> Above video: Recycling 101: How to help reduce your carbon footprint.

"Achieving a 50% diversion rate will create a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that would be comparable to taking more than 600,000 cars off the road," said a release from the city. "The plan also calls for bolstering the principles and practices of a circular economy, or minimizing or eliminating waste, such as composting organic material that can be used to increase soil health rather than sending it to the landfill."

"Through focused efforts over the last ten years, Denver has been able to increase its diversion rate from 13% in 2010 to 26% in 2020," said Grace Rink, Denver’s Chief Climate Officer.

"While we have made progress, this rate has remained stagnant and falls well below the national average of 34%. Reaching a higher diversion rate will require new strategies, and this plan will get us there."

Credit: adobe.stock.com

Denver's Sustainable Resource Management Plan has short- and long-term goals including: 

  • Advancing policy at the local level that would increase recycling and composting, while continuing to advocate for policy at the state level that could limit the use of certain materials and prevent waste at the source.
  • Improving operations between city agencies and with other partners throughout the city to create economically viable waste diversion solutions and programs.
  • Educating residents and businesses on responsible waste habits that promote a more sustainable future, including how to properly manage our individual and collective waste.

The plan said Denver will explore the possibility of a cardboard disposal ban. Denver's plan said that it is estimated that 47% of cardboard is sent to landfill from the residential waste stream and 57% from the commercial waste stream.

The ban would prohibit disposal and collection of cardboard in waste receptacles and could lay the groundwork for future disposal bans such as food waste.

> Video below: A Jefferson County sixth-grader raises awareness about plastic pollution by attempting two recycling records, aired November 2021:

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