What to Know About Denver’s New Compost Carts

Beginning July 31, greater than 10,000 Denver households will obtain inexperienced compost carts within the first wave of deliveries for town’s new Pay as You Throw trash system authorized by Denver Metropolis Council in June 2022.

Denver efficiently carried out weekly recycling for all residents served by the Division of Transportation and Infrastructure in January; that is the subsequent step towards the purpose of diverting waste from landfills to recycling or composting.

The primary residents to obtain composting carts are in Stable Waste Assortment District 2, which incorporates Metropolis Park, Metropolis Park West, Clayton, Cole, Elyria-Swansea, 5 Factors, North Capitol Hill, Skyland, Whittier and elements of Globeville. Town is prioritizing neighborhoods that at the moment have low diversion charges.

“New clients will obtain a compost cart, a small kitchen pail and an up to date compost how-to information to get them began,” DOTI introduced. The kitchen pail is designed so that individuals can instantly toss scraps there earlier than taking them out to their inexperienced cart.

Town estimates that fifty to 75 p.c of what folks at the moment put within the trash may very well be recycled or composted.

“To assist residents put together and perceive find out how to use their carts accurately, the workforce has been attending group occasions, doing Spanish and English door-to-door outreach and direct-messaging by means of our app and in ReCollect,” says Nancy Kuhn, advertising and marketing and communications director for DOTI.

To compost or to not compost?

The principles for composting are literally fairly easy: if it’s meals or yard scraps or plant trimmings, it belongs in compost. Every little thing else ought to both be recycled if doable and trashed if not.

“Paper merchandise together with tissues, paper towels, napkins, tissue paper, brightly coloured paper, paper scraps and shredded paper, tea baggage and low liners … pizza containers,” are all not compostable or recyclable, DOTI notes. Nevertheless, espresso grounds themselves will be composted if dumped out of the filter.

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Inexperienced bins are for meals and yard scraps solely!


Even packaging and merchandise equivalent to cups, plates and takeout containers which might be licensed as compostable don’t belong in Denver-provided compost bins, town says. Compostable baggage do not both, except they’re three gallons or smaller or Compost Manufacturing Alliance licensed.

“No plastics, glass, metals, diapers, pet waste (even in compostable baggage), handled wooden, rubber bands, twist ties, produce stickers, sod, mulch, or filth,” DOTI requests.

However don’t fear: DOTI has composting ideas and a Waste Listing.

When you’re confused about what bin to toss some waste in, simply sort it into the listing and it’ll inform you precisely what to do. Plus, DOTI isn’t treating residents who contaminate their recycling or compost like trash. It would ship an inspector out to properties which have contaminated waste or overfilled trash bins earlier than issuing any quotation.

Training is essential, Kuhn notes.

“Our audits are additionally proving to be a great way to speak with folks,” she continues. DOTI has audited 1,458 recycling and compost carts within the metropolis and tagged 386 as contaminated. Of these tagged, 75 p.c of individuals corrected their errors on the primary strive.

“We’ve not issued any formal citations however when contamination is discovered a tag signifies to the driving force that they need to not gather the cart and educates the client about what ought to and shouldn’t be within the cart,” Kuhn says.

The division plans to audit Stable Waste Assortment District 2 as compost rolls on the market. The expanded waste providers ordinance permits fines between $500 and $999 for contamination ought to DOTI ever attain that time.

Recycling is on the rise in 2023

This system’s goal of getting extra waste out of landfills appears to be reaching its goal, with a 12 p.c enhance in recycling in Denver thus far this yr. That accounts for two,443 extra tons of recyclable materials making it into recycling as a substitute of heading to the landfill.

Of DOTI’s 30,000 current compost clients — who’d signed up for composting carts earlier than the ordinance handed — compost assortment is up 6 p.c this yr.

The expanded waste providers ordinance permits folks to choose what measurement trash can they need, paying for that measurement. Then everybody will get recycling and compost as a part of the deal. The choices are 35 gallons, which inserts two to a few tall kitchen baggage, for $9 a month; 65 gallons, which inserts 4 to 5 baggage, for $13 a month; and 95 gallons, which inserts seven to eight baggage, for $21 a month.

To date, 31,100 households have 35-gallon trash carts, 55,946 households have 65-gallon carts and 88,818 households have 95-gallon carts. DOTI recommends folks wait to get their compost carts earlier than adjusting their sizing, which will be finished on Denver Utilities On-line.

Those that are paying for trash service however haven’t obtained composting but are getting a $9 quarterly credit score on their payments till their neighborhood will get inexperienced carts. “As soon as service begins in that neighborhood, we’ll take away the credit score on future invoices,” Kuhn says.

Residents don’t have to be dwelling to get their carts and may use them the week after they’re delivered. After Stable Waste Assortment District 2, DOTI plans to roll compost carts out to Stable Waste Assortment District 4, which incorporates residents in Montbello, Gateway and Inexperienced Valley Ranch.