Charlotte Pitt, Manager
Recycles/Solid Waste Mgmt.
City & County of Denver
all industries, the waste collection business is always changing and evolving.
New practices, new equipment and new technologies allow cities and other
service providers to make continual improvements.
Denver has been working to
improve and expand its service delivery to residents the past two decades, with
introduction of the recycling program in the early ‘90s, changing to cart-based
recycling service in 2005 and 2006, and introducing a pilot composting program
in late 2008.
Now, in 2014, the City is beginning to implement a plan to standardize
trash collection by transitioning every neighborhood to cart-based trash
service. Standardizing trash
services was a key recommendation of the “2010
Master Plan for Managing Waste in the Mile High City” to ensure equity of
service, improve efficiency, drive sustainability, and improve the cleanliness
of our neighborhoods.
In Denver, about 57,000 homes already receive cart-based trash service.
The plan is to transition the remaining homes that receive dumpster trash
service (about 65,000) and manual service (about 51,000) to cart-based service
in the next four to five years.
There are a number of reasons to change to a standardized cart-based
trash service. They are:
a. The city’s average recycling rate is 14 percent; the national average
is 34 percent. Homes with cart-based trash service recycle more and generate
b. In Denver, the average disposal in neighborhoods with dumpster
service is 1.53 tons per household per year. In areas with trash cart service,
the average disposal rate is 1.09 tons per household per year.
c. About 75 percent of what Denver residents throw away is “good stuff”
that could be recycled or composted.
a. Of the top 30 cities in the U.S., more than 27 of them provide some
cart-based trash service whether through the municipal government or through a
private company. That means technology improvements in trucks and containers
are focused around this type of cart-based service.
b. Cart-based trash trucks can hold more waste and service more homes
per route than other types of trucks.
Transitioning to this service will allow Solid Waste Management to
reduce the number of miles driven and fuel used, and will allow one truck to
service more homes.
c. Moving away from the current three types of trash service will mean
that the City does not have to maintain three types of trash collection
3. Cleanliness and Illegal Dumping
a. Illegal dumping and misuse of services occurs citywide. However, 80
percent of the reported misuse and illegal dumping happens in alleys that
receive dumpster service.
b. Litter is often a problem in areas that receive manual trash service,
so using city-issued trash carts will allow much of that trash to be
containerized and will aid in reducing litter.
4. Equitable Service
a. When dumpsters are placed behind someone’s home, they have the unfair
burden of living with their neighbor’s trash. Dumpsters smell, attract flies and
rodents, and thus affect the residents of the homes they sit behind. Many
residents who have a dumpster along their property line are also burdened with
keeping the area around that dumpster clean. Individual trash carts will allow
each home to be responsible
for their own trash.
b. Standardized trash service also means that each resident receives the
same level of service no matter where they live in the city.
The expansion of Denver’s cart-based trash collection service is
beginning this year, with one change made to the original rollout plan. The
transition to trash carts in East Washington Park and Cory Merrill will be
delayed until 2015 so that 2014 efforts can focus on transitioning the Platt
Park, Rosedale, Overland and University neighborhoods. The conversion in these
neighborhoods is scheduled to take place in November.
About eight weeks prior to the conversion of each neighborhood, Solid
Waste Management will be conducting a series of outreach efforts to residents,
including a public meeting to ensure people are aware of the service changes
and are able to get their questions and concerns answered.
call Solid Waste Management at 3-1-1 or email