Northern Colorado communities seek new ways to combat high recycling costs

Dive Brief:

  • Tough commodity prices are taking their toll on some communities in northern Colorado and causing them to rethink their recycling programs, as reported by KUNC.
  • The city of Greeley closed its downtown recycling center in 2014 due to low prices and low participation. Officials have begun sending out postcards to gauge interest in a new program, possibly one which would require residents to pay a little more, and so far responses have been positive.
  • Fort Collins recently passed a new Community Recycling Ordinance to update its program and allow private haulers to add a "service surcharge" for residential collection starting in April 2017. Haulers are also required to offer seasonal yard waste service and organic waste collection for grocery stores next year, followed with multi-unit service by 2020.

Dive Insight:

Partnerships between municipalities and the private sector aren't new, though they have been gaining traction in other parts of Colorado recently. Depending on the arrangement this can be easier on municipal budgets and open up regional opportunities that help offset low commodity prices.

With assistance from a state grant, Phoenix Recycling recently opened a new material recovery facility in Durango that could eventually serve as a regional hub for multiple Colorado counties and has reduced local recycling costs. Alpine Waste & Recycling also recently upgraded its facility in Denver to enhance glass diversion capabilities through a partnership with Momentum Recycling

Like others throughout the country, more municipalities in Colorado are also beginning to focus on organic waste diversion though that comes with its own economic challenges. Pitkin County is hoping to extend its landfill's dwindling lifespan through composting and diverting more organic material is also seen as a key part of fixing Denver's "abysmal" recycling rate. Making these programs work, especially in a less densely populated state such as Colorado, will likely require even more creativity and private partnerships.

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Filed Under: Collections & Transfer Recycling Waste Diversion
Top image credit: Pixabay; tpsdave