Beginning this summer, Denver Recycles staff and facilities staff have been working diligently in order to implement one of the first ever Zero Waste programs in a municipal office building.
Since most of the waste generated in office buildings can be recycled or composted, the Wastewater building at 2000 W. 3rd Ave. is aiming to prevent 75-90%
of the its waste from ever reaching the landfill. To do so, Denver employees are focusing on techniques that reduce the amount of waste generated in the first place and then diverting as much of the resulting waste stream as possible to recycle and compost. Many of the methods employed so far at Wastewater can be easily implemented in other workplaces around Denver:
- Conservation Techniques: Examples include making double-sided copies and encouraging employees to use reusable mugs and food containers
- Consolidated Waste Receptacles: Zero Waste stations are placed throughout the building. These include side-by-side recycling, compost and trash receptacles that make it easy for employees to sort their waste correctly
- Paper Towel Composting in Bathrooms: Compost isn't just for food waste. Paper towels from hand washing create a large volume of waste coming from office buildings and are easily compostable.
- Mini Trash Cans Exchange: Many employees have exchanged their large 4-gallon desk-side trash cans for mini half-gallon cans that fit on top of their desks. These smaller trash cans help to make employees more aware of their personal waste generation and encourage good recycling and composting habits.
- Zero Waste Events and Catering: Employees are encouraged to utilize responsible products and services that reduce total waste generation at events.
Keep an eye out for ongoing information about the City and County of Denver’s Zero Waste efforts and start thinking about the ways in which you
can implement some of these tactics in your workplace. The City hopes this pilot program will lead to the expansion of this program at other City buildings and that it will set a new stand for Zero Waste throughout Denver.