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Discover Denver's Compost Collection Program

Redefining what was once waste

chasing arrows of with compostables insideDenver Composts makes composting household organic material as easy as recycling, by providing a green cart that is collected weekly. Households separate out organic material like yard debris, food scraps and non-recyclable paper and place them in the green cart instead of the trash. The organic material collected is sent to a commercial facility where it gets turned into a high quality soil amendment known as compost. 

By signing up for compost collection you can reduce the amount of waste you throw away by as much as 50 to 75 percent!

Denver Composts is a fee-based service paid for by the resident at the rate of $29.25 each quarter (every 3 months). See "Compost Service Payment Information" below for details.

The number of participants is limited, and only households within specific service areas are eligible for this program. Check your household's eligibility or enroll in the Compost Collection Program today:

Why Join?

  1. IT’S SO EASY. Simply put your organic material in the green cart and set it out for collection each week.
  2. LESS WASTE SENT TO THE LANDFILL. More than 50% of what the average Denver households put in the trash is organic material.
  3. REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS. Composting results in less methane emitted into the atmosphere.

info-graphic of accepted and not accepted compost material

Helpful Composting Tips and Resources

image of grass clippingstYard debris: Grass clippings, leaves, plant trimmings, branches (no larger than 4 feet in length and 4 inches in diameter), flowers, houseplants, weeds and garden trimmings.


Food: Baked goods, bones, bread, butter and margarine, cake, candy, cereal, cheese, coffee grounds, cookies, corn cobs and husks,  couscous, dairy products, eggs and eggshells, fish and fish parts, flour, fruits, grains, gravy and sauces, herbs and spices, image of breadjams and jellies, mayonnaise, meat and meat products, nuts and nut shells, oatmeal, pasta, peanut butter, pizza, popcorn, poultry, pumpkins,  quinoa, rice, salads, shellfish, sugar, syrup, tea bags, vegetables, watermelon, yogurt and other processed food like left over pizza or burritos, and more.


image of tea bagsNon-Recyclable Paper: Used paper plates, paper cups, tea bags, coffee filters, facial tissue greasy pizza boxes (non-greasy pizza boxes should go in your recycle cart), paper towels, paper napkins, wax paper and waxed cardboard (like waxed produce boxes, not regular corrugated cardboard boxes).
image of toothpicks


Other Miscellaneous items:

Cotton balls, feathers, hair (pet and human), wine corks (natural), wooden chopsticks, wooden popsicle sticks and wooden toothpicks.

Due to the wide array of non-organic material it is hard to develop a comprehensive list of unacceptable items.

Here are some examples materials NOT to go in your green cart:
  • image of red circle with no plastic bagsGLASS or METAL
  • Styrofoam
  • Glass or metal
  • Dryer lint or vacuum cleaner waste
  • Liquids, cooking oil or grease
  • Diapers
  • Dirt, sand, sod, rocks or stone
  • Cat litter or pet waste
  • Lumber or construction debris
  • Treated or coated wood
  • PLASTICS - No plastics of any kind, including plastics marked as "PLA" or made from plant based materials (*see "Examples of Approved Compostable Tableware Products" on this page)
  • Plastic-coated paper products, such as to-go coffee cups and glossy paper plates
  • Foil-lined cartons (Typically these are juice boxes for kids or broth and soy milk cartons with plastic spouts. But you should tear the carton to determine if it is foil lined for sure.)

  • image of food waste in kitchen pailWhen preparing meals or cleaning up after a meal, scrape food preparation scraps and leftovers from your plate into your kitchen pail. You can even include your paper plates, paper towels and napkins.
  • Store your kitchen pail under or in the sink or on the counter to make it easy to access while preparing food or cleaning up after a meal. Find a new spot for your garbage pail so that you have to think before you throw something away - ask yourself, "Can this be composted?"
  • When filling your kitchen pail, remember to include other items in your house that can be composted such as facial tissue, microwave popcorn bags, paper towels, popsicle sticks and all the other things found on the Accepted Items list.
  • Dump the contents of your kitchen pail into your green cart at least once a week.
  • Drain as much liquids as possible from food before putting it in your kitchen pail.
  • Rinse out your pail after you empty it or run it through the dishwasher on the top shelf to keep it clean and fresh. (WARNING: Running your pail on the bottom shelf of your dishwasher will cause the pail's lid to warp and not close properly.)
  • Line your kitchen pail with newspaper or a brown paper bag to help keep it clean. Or, purchase compostable bags to use to line your kitchen pail.

Only specific types of biodegradable products actual break down in the composting process.  Products marked “planted-based” or made from plants has nothing to do with the products true compostability.

The listing below does not imply an endorsement of these products by the City & County of Denver, other than to indicate that these products meet the compostability requirements for the Denver Composts program.

Plain "Non-Glossy" Paper Plates

Available at nearly all stores. 

image of plain paper plate

Chinet® “Eco-Friendly” plates

Availabe at regular grocery stores and Costco.
mage of Chinet compostable paper plates

Image of Denver Com-Post newsletter logo

A Biannual Newsletter of the Denver Composts Program


Click below on newsletter issue to download copy:

August 2017 (1.23 MB)

December 2016 (800 KB)

March 2016 (382 KB)

July 2015 (764 KB)

January 2015 (1.21 MB)

July 2014 (1.12 MB)

January 2014 (720 KB)

Please be sure to contact Solid Waste Management at 311 (720-913-1311) prior to moving to update your account status. Outdated account information could result in you continuing to be billed for services, payments made under the wrong account number or lost compost carts.

  • TRANSFERING SERVICE: If you are moving to a Denver address within an existing compost collection area, your account can be transferred to the new address by calling Solid Waste Management.
  • DISCONTINUING SERVICE: If you are moving to an address located outside a compost collection area or out of town, please call Solid Waste Management to close out your account.


Compost Collection Areas and Payment Information

There are three ways to find out if your home is within a compost collection service area.
1. CLICK HERE to go to the Compost sign up page and enter your exact home address.  If your address comes up as eligible, you may then proceed with enrolling in the program.  
2. Call us at 311 (720-913-1311) and we'll look up your home address to see if you are eligible for compost services.
3. CLICK HERE to look at the map of the compost collection service areas.  Eligible areas are within the green zones on the map.
thumbnail image of map of compost eligible zones in Denver

Compost collection services are now available in portions of the following neighborhoods: Auraria Lincoln Park, Bear Valley, Belcaro, Berkeley, City Park West, Congress Park, Cory-Merrill, Country Club, East Colfax, Five Points, Goldsmith, Hale, Hampden, Hampden South, Harvey Park, Harvey Park South, Hilltop, La Alma, Lowry Field, Mar Lee, Montclair, North Park Hill, Overland, Platt Park, Rosedale, Ruby Hill, Skyland, Sloan’s Lake, South Park Hill, Southmoor Park East, Speer, Stapleton, University, University Park, Virginia Village, Washington Park, Washington Park West, Washington Virginia Vale, Wellshire, West Highlands, Westwood and Whittier.

image of city issued green compost cartThe majority of participants choose to pay online. It saves paper and time!
  • 1 Quarter (3 months) at $29.25

A discounted annual payment option will be available in the 1st Quarter 2017 billings for services January 1 through December 31.

  • Visit and select your payment option and pay by credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover). Note: You'll need to know your Account Number.

image of Visa, Master card & Discover credit cards



  1. Fill out both sides of the payment slip at the bottom of your invoice and send in with your check**
  2. Make your check payable to "Manager of Finance"
  3. Write your account number in the memo line of your check
  4. Send in a stamped envelope to
Denver Composts
201 W. Colfax Ave.
Dept. 611
Denver, CO 80202

** Note:  A $50 fee will be applied to bounced checks and then sent to the City’s collection agency.

Quarterly schedule is as follows: 1st Quarter is January to March; 2nd Quarter is April to June; 3rd Quarter is July to September; and 4th Quarter is October to December.  The $107.00 Discounted annual payment option available for accounts with services January through December only.

Please note, if services are cancelled for non-payment the resident is responsible for contacting Solid Waste Manage to notify of payments submitted and to arrange for services to be restored.

Payment show up on credit cards as "CITY&CTYOFDENVERONLINE 720-913-9306 CO"

For questions about the Compost Collection program, please call 311 (720-913-1311) or email

When enrolling for compost collection service the resident hereby agrees to pay quarterly payments of $29.25; understands that no part of the service fee is guaranteed to be refunded when services are cancelled for any reason; agrees to contact the City & County of Denver prior to cancelling or transferring services; acknowledges that the green compost cart remains the property of the City and County of Denver; and acknowledges that the green compost cart may be removed for failure to make service payments or if its use is deemed inappropriate by the City & County of Denver.