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Denver to start charging for trash pickup

The ordinance will result in weekly recycling and compost collection for Denver trash collection customers.

DENVER — The City and County of Denver will soon charge a fee for trash pickup while adding recycling and composting service for no charge. Denver City Council approved the change Monday night.

The ordinance, which becomes effective in 2023, will result in weekly recycling and compost collection for Denver trash collection customers, said Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI).

The city, which services about 180,000 households or approximately two-thirds of Denver residences, said it heard from its customers who want expanded recycling. By providing recycling and composting at no additional charge, the city believes it can meet its goals of reducing landfill waste, addressing climate change and creating better waste habits.

The ordinance changes Denver's system of charging for compost collection, replacing it with a fee for trash that incentivizes recycling and composting. The ordinance charges for trash pickup based on the size of a customer’s trash cart and quantity of waste sent to the landfill.

Denver’s trash fee structure will be $9 per month for a small trash cart, $13 per month for a medium trash cart, and $21 per month for a large trash cart.

DOTI said it will also offer a rebate program for low-income residents who may be disproportionately burdened by a fee.

“Tonight’s vote represents more than a decade of planning and realizes an important step forward in Denver’s fight to address climate change and to protect our environment,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said. “I’m grateful to Council members Clark and Kniech for their partnership, to my administration for preparing this important expansion of recycling and composting, and to the people of Denver for their commitment to making Denver an environmental leader.”

Weekly recycling service will begin in January 2023 while composting service will be rolled out citywide over the course of the year, said DOTI.

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