- Denver is expanding its composting program in 2016, opening services to 7,500 more homes for a total of 17,500 homes by the end of 2016. New routes will be rolled out in the coming weeks and continue through summer according to the manager of Denver Recycles/Solid Waste Management Charlotte Pitt, as reported in Denver Post. The expansion will be in areas bordering established routes — largely in the city's southeast and southwest areas.
- Startup costs, including a new truck purchased in 2015, are about $400,000 per route; the 2016 budget is $660,000. Participants in this weekly curbside service, who receive a 2-gallon pail and large trash container, pay $9.70 per month per quarter or $107 for the entire year.
- Councilman Chris Herndon, who co-sponsored a bill to fund the expansion, hopes the city can offer the service for free within about two years.
Denver residents' composting rates rank relatively low. An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report showed Americans generated 254 million tons of waste in 2013, and diverted 87 million tons of it through both composting and recycling — amounting to a 34% diversion rate — compared to Denver's 16%.
The city is working on increased composting, having launched a pilot compost project in 2008, a fee-based service in 2010, and expanding to four routes in 2014. The newest expansion in the works is intended to motivate residents to get on par with the national average.
But, said Pitt, "Because it's still fee-based, we're not seeing the same level of participation as [the free] recycling [more than 70% recycle]. But it's a step in the right direction."