Denver expands composting program

8:52 AM, Jan 14, 2014   |    comments
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 PDF Document: Composting Map

DENVER - Twice as many Denver residents can now compost since Denver Recycles has expanded its pilot program by adding a second route.

Residents must opt-in for this program. If they do, they get a large green cart for yard trash and a two-gallon kitchen pail for inside waste.

A number of things which you can't recycle can be composted. They include: almost all organic material, like leaves, grass clippings, weeds and tree branches. You can also compost food scraps, coffee filters, teas bags and various paper products. For example, Kleenex, paper towels, food cartons, napkins and wax cups.

"We found that 57 percent of what Denver-residents throw away is organic material, so the potential to reduce waste through composting is huge. Its actually much bigger than recycling," Charlotte Pitt, manager for Denver Recycles, said.

Like the city's recycling program, items for compost are picked up weekly. They're taken to a commercial facility, where in about 90 days, they become high-quality soil. That soil is then sold to agriculture companies and landscapers. In the spring, there is a one-day sale, so residents can buy it.

"One of the things about recycling that's so great is that you see an aluminum can go back to an aluminum can. Well, in this case, you're seeing your food waste, your paper products, your yard debris actually being turned into what looks like dirt, but is actually a high quality," Pitt said.

However, unlike recycling, there is a separate fee for composting and the program is not available city-wide.

To learn more about Denver's composting program, including if your neighborhood is eligible, go to

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