Denver Trash Cart Conversions Starting in August 2014

As a way to improve efficiency and streamline municipal trash collection in the City and County of Denver, Public Works’ Solid Waste Management division is working on a multi-phase project to eventually transition all residential customers to a cart-based trash collection service.    

The standardization of trash collection services is a key initiative that was outlined in the 2010 “Master Plan for Managing Solid Waste in the Mile High City” aimed at improving the quality and efficiency of trash collection services.  The 2014 conversions, which begin this month and continue through November, will convert 20,000 households around the City from manual or dumpster collection to cart collection service. The neighborhoods and the months in which they will be transitioned are as follows:
  • August- Elyria Swansea, Globeville, parts of Clayton and Cole
  • September- Barnum, Barnum West, Westwood, part of West Colfax
  • October- East Colfax, east portion of Park Hill, east portion of Montclair, part of Hale
  • November- Platt Park, Overland, Rosedale, southern part of University

Currently, the City provides trash collection services using three different systems that each require a different set of equipment. The standardization of trash collection services to a cart-based system provides many benefits to the residents of Denver and the City.  They include: 

  • Improved Collection Efficiency: Moving all residents to cart-based trash will allow for standardization of trucks and containers, thus reducing the miles driven and fuel consumed by collection trucks.
  • Equal Services City-wide:  The trash cart conversion will lead to an equitable trash and recycling system that is the same Citywide, no matter where you live.
  • Decreased incidence of illegal dumping: Neighborhoods with cart-based trash service have less illegal dumping issues than those with dumpster or manual service. In fact, 80% of the reported illegal dumping in the City is from the 35% of the City with dumpster-based service!Personal Accountability:  Each household is responsible for their own waste, services are not shared.
  • Cleaner and safer Alleys and Neighborhoods: The cart trash service will help decrease litter, graffiti, overflowing trash containers or bags, and overall mess. It will also decrease hiding spaces for illegal activities and allow law enforcement officers to better monitor alleys.
  • Increased Recycling: Despite incredible participation in the recycling program, only 14% of our waste is being recycled, compared to 34% nationally.  The new cart based trash service will help encourage residents to recycle even more.
 For more information on trash and recycling services or the upcoming trash cart conversion process, please visit

4 Great Recycling Tips for the Summer Months

Recycling in Denver this summer is easy and free! Here are a four different ways you can save money, reduce the waste disposed in your home and maximize the use of free recycling services offered through Denver Recycles:
  • Free Compost Classes: Take a free two-hour class and learn how you can get your backyard composting pile kick started, then apply your knowledge and your garden will thank you! Backyard composting is a fun way to reduce the amount of yard waste you throw away and improve your lawn at the same time.  In partnership with Denver Urban Gardens, Denver Recycles offers “Learn to Compost” classes through October at the Denver Compost Demonstration Site (13th and Colorado). To review the class schedule and register for a class, visit or call 303-292-9900.
  • Free Appliance Recycling: Recycle your unwanted household appliances by scheduling a free pick up through Denver Recycles. Discarded appliances not only take up a lot of space in the landfill, they are also completely recyclable! All Denver residents serviced by Solid Waste Management are eligible for free appliance recycling collection service. By scheduling your collection through Denver Recycles you  ensure that all metals are recycled and Freon gases from refrigerated appliances are handled in an environmentally safe manner.  To schedule a pick-up, visit or call call 1-800-479-4159.
  • Free Recycling at Parks: If your travels take you to Washington Park, Cheeseman Park or City Park this summer take the opportunity to recycle your materials in one of the new large purple recycling containers. Denver Recycles is partnering with Denver Parks & Recreation to pilot this recycling program in three parks.  Recycle your cans, plastic bottles and containers, cardboard, paper and other items. Remember, plastic bags, pet waste, Styrofoam, food or trash are not recyclable and should not be placed in these containers.
  • Free Residential Recycling: Of course, Denver residents can always recycle at home in their purple carts.  In 2013, 71% of eligible Denver households had recycling services. While this number is high, it still means that nearly 30% of eligible households in Denver are not recycling at home! If you live in a single family home or multi-family home with 7 or less units, you can get free recycling. If you already have service, please let your neighbors know that they can get free recycling too. Remember, you do not need to own your home to sign-up for service.
To take advantage of any or all of these FREE recycling opportunities offered by Denver, call 311 (720-913-1311) or visit

Grasscycle: Leave Your Grass Clippings on Your Lawn

Feed your lawn and reduce your waste simply by leaving your grass clippings on your lawn after mowing. It’s called Grasscycling, and it is the natural way to recycle grass clippings and return valuable nutrients back into your lawn. Grasscycling also returns needed moisture to your lawn, which is especially important in dry summer drought conditions.

Tips for Grasscycling: 
  1. You can grasscycle with any mower. Just remove the mower collection bag to allow clippings to drop on the lawn. If your mower does not have a safety flap covering the opening over which the bag fits, then you may need to purchase a retrofit kit from your local hardware store.
  2. Mow your lawn when it’s dry. When lawns are wet, the grass clippings clump together and do not feed your lawn as well as dry grass clippings.
  3. Follow the “1/3” Rule. To foster healthy grass, do not cut more than 1/3 of the length of the grass and leave clippings no more than one inch long. Lawns are most healthy when they are mowed to a height of 2 ½ to 3 inches.
  4. If you use a landscape service, be sure you ask them to leave the clippings on your lawn. 
Benefits of Grasscycling:  

  • Grasscycling benefits you. The United States EPA references a study showing that by not bagging clippings, mowing took about 38% less time, all the more time to be playing and lying on your grass! It also reduces your work load when you mow because it saves you the hassle of bagging, hauling, and disposing of grass clippings.
  • Grasscycling benefits your lawn. Leaving the grass clippings on your lawn will shade the roots of your grass and help keep the soil cool so it requires less manual watering. Grass clippings are more than 85% water and they return valuable moisture to the soil. Grasscycling is also a great way to recycle important nutrients like nitrogen back into the soil which reduces the need for supplemental nitrogen fertilizer. Grass clippings break down quickly and do not cause thatch. Contrary to popular belief, thatch comes from grass roots not mown grass blades because the roots contain lignin, a substance that decomposes slowly causing thatch.
  • Grasscycling benefits Denver. During the growing season, up to 37% of what Denver residents put in the trash is yard debris, which is largely made up of grass clippings. When you grasscycle you dispose of less trash, saving space in the landfill. 
  • Grasscycling benefits the environment. Finally, by grasscycling you can help reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. When organic materials such as grass clippings go to landfills they decompose under anaerobic (without air) conditions that create methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. 

This summer, take your recycling efforts to the next level and try grasscycling for a few weeks to see what you think! Visit for more information about grasscycling or other opportunities to create less waste.

FREE Learn to Compost Classes

Compost is a crumbly, nutrient-rich soil amendment that is great for your plants, lawn and garden. Learn how easy it is to make compost in your backyard from food scraps and yard waste at Denver Recycles’ and Denver Urban Gardens’ FREE Learn to Compost classes. Making your own compost not only improves your lawn and garden, it also saves you money, reduces the materials you send to the landfill, and increases your overall soil quality.

Classes start at the end of April and are offered until the middle of October at the Denver Compost Demonstration Site located in the Gove Community Garden at 13th and Colorado Blvd. For a complete list of class dates and times, visit

Each hands-on, two-hour Learn to Compost class teaches the basics of backyard composting. Special in-depth Worm Workshops and Build-a-Pile classes are also offered.

  • WORM WORKSHOPS focus on vermicomposting (worm composting) and will be held once each month, May through October.
  • BUILD-A-PILE CLASSES give participants hands-on experience building an entire compost pile, including incorporating different ingredients, chopping materials, watering and turning the pile. Five Build-a-Pile classes will be held throughout the season.

Class registration is first come, first served.  Registration for each class opens one month prior to the class date.  Pre-registration is required to attend the classes.

Composting is a fun, easy activity that allows the whole family to participate in recycling and results in a nourishing soil amendment that holds moisture in the soil for extended periods of time. Compost also opens clay soils, allowing better drainage, and closes sandy soils, preventing water from leaching away too quickly.

Organic materials like leaves, branches, grass clippings and food scraps make up more than half of what Denver residents send to the landfill every year. You can help reduce that amount by learning how to compost these items in your backyard and help your plants, lawn and garden thrive!

To review the class schedule and register for a class, go online to or call 303-292-9900. 

This program is sponsored by Denver Recycles (a program of Denver Public Works/Solid Waste Management) and Denver Urban Gardens.  For more information about this program or other Denver Recycles programs call 311 (720-913-1311) or visit us online at

Back to School with Recycling and Composting in Mind

Spotlight on Denver Public Schools (DPS) – Denver Recycles is proud to partner with DPS to provide recycling services and recycling education to all eligible Denver Public Schools facilities. Last year DPS students and teachers recycled 700 tons of recyclables that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill! 

With a growing number of schools in the DPS system also adding compost collection to their lunchrooms through the Food to Flowers Lunchroom Composting Program, the number of total tons diverted from the landfill is growing even larger. Last year, the 18 schools enrolled in the school compost program diverted  128 tons of food waste from the landfill, bringing the DPS total waste diverted from landfill disposal to 828 tons!   

Whether you attend a DPS school or another school or university, the back to school season offers a unique opportunity for all students and parents in Denver to reduce waste and support recycling. 

Here are some helpful Reduce, Reuse, Recycle tips for your back to school shopping this month: 

  • Use reusable containers when packing lunches and snacks. You don’t even have to purchase these new- consider reusing yogurt containers and other food packaging.
  • Purchase recycled-content products. Many school supplies are now being made with post-consumer content. Read labeling carefully and look for paper and plastic products made from recycled materials.
  • Save money and purchase second-hand. Thrift stores generally have great selections of school supplies. Often times you’ll find their products to be unused or only lightly used.
  • Keep your purple carts in mind.  When purchasing food for school lunches, consider purchasing products that have minimal packaging or come in packaging that can be recycled through the Denver Recycles program. For example, juice boxes can be recycled in purple carts, but juice pouches cannot. The Denver Recycles website has detailed information that can help inform your purchasing decisions: 

Sign up for Electronic Service Reminders and Never Forget Your Collection Day Again

Have you ever lost track of your recycling or trash collection days? Do you ever have trouble remembering you large item pick-up schedule?  Now remembering your recycling and trash collection days is easier than ever for Denver residents. Solid Waste Management/Denver Recycles has upgraded the electronic reminder service capabilities and now residents can quickly look up their service schedules, sign-up for service reminders, or download a free trash and recycling phone app. Sign-up today for one of the convenient reminder options! 

Denver Recycles now offers 3 easy ways to get a reminder:

  1. By Email: Select whether you want to receive emails the day before collection or day of collection, as well as the time of the day you want to be sent the email. 
  2. By Phone: Select whether you want to receive calls the day before collection or day of collection, as well as the time of the day (must be between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.) to receive the call. 
  3. By Calendar updates: Choose this option to import your unique service calendars into iCal, Outlook, or Google calendars. For residents that want to print out copies, a downloadable service calendar is also available. 

Get the Free Denver Trash and Recycling Phone App: The “Denver Trash and Recycling” phone app is now available for free on both iTunes and Google Play


Please take a moment to download the free app and you will never forget your trash or recycling day again. The phone app sends reminders directly to your Smartphone and allows you to quickly look up your service calendar at any time as well as identify which week your large items will be collected. To sign up for the trash, recycling, and large item pick-up service reminders call 311 (720-913-1311) or visit the “Recycling Reminder” web page at

Editor's Note:

The Denver Recycles’ Roundup is a periodic news column sponsored by Denver Recycles, a program of Denver Public Works/Solid Waste Management. It includes updates on seasonal and ongoing activities related to the City and County of Denver's recycling programs. Editors are invited to publish all or part of the column; however, we request that you run major edits by our staff to ensure accuracy of the information. Questions may be directed to Denver Recycles.