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A Denverite’s Guide to Composting Methods: Find What’s Right for Your Home!

graphic of composting optionsEven though Denverites are recycling and composting more and more each year, an alarming amount of “good stuff” (otherwise known as recyclable and compostable material) is still ending up in Denver’s landfill. As shocking as it may sound, more than half of the materials Denver residents currently send to the landfill are organic (once living) materials and could have been composted. Denver can certainly do better, and doing so starts with decisions made in your home!

Denver Recycles offers a number of tools to help Denver residents reduce the amount of material ending up in Denver’s trash. Not every approach is feasible or appropriate for every home, but there is something that can work for everyone. To maximize the benefits of keeping this “good stuff” out of the landfill, Denver Recycles encourages residents to choose one, two, or all of the compost options outlined below.

The options below can and should be combined for best results at your home and for maximum benefit to the environment:

  • Denver Composts! Enroll in Denver’s fee-based compost collection program and receive a green kitchen compost pail, a green compost cart, and weekly collection service. This program accepts food, non-recyclable paper products, and yard debris. Denver Composts! is now offered in all Denver neighborhoods!
  • Backyard Composting. Backyard composting is a fun and rewarding way to reduce waste and create a useful compost product in your own backyard. To learn more about the backyard composting process, build skills, or just boost your confidence in your ability to turn food scraps and garden debris into compost at home, consider signing up for one of Denver’s FREE Learn to Backyard Compost (offered May through October at Denver’s Backyard Compost Demonstration Site). Or, just make a trip to Denver’s Backyard Compost Demonstration Site to find inspiration, and to check out the various methods and containers that can be used for backyard composting.
  • Worm Composting. Worm composting, also known as vermicomposting, is an indoor composting option available to everyone, and an ideal option for apartment dwellers and anyone else with limited space. A healthy worm box full of red-wiggler worms will happily consume their weight in veggie scraps and leaves each week, producing a high-quality soil amendment that can be used to feed gardens and houseplants alike.
  • Cherry Creek Recycling Drop-off (CCRD). The Cherry Creek Recycling Drop-off accepts single-stream recyclables and all material accepted in the Denver Composts! program. The site is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is especially helpful for the occasional surplus of compostable (or recyclable) materials.

No matter how it’s done, composting is an approachable and meaningful action that helps Denver residents decrease their impact on the climate, conserve resources, reduce pollution, and improve soil health. And, composting is essential for Denver to be able to meet its 2020 Sustainability Goal of keeping 34% of its waste out of the landfill.  For these reasons, Denver Recycles encourages residents to choose one or all the above options for managing organic waste at home! 

Don’t delay-- start composting even more, today! For more information about backyard compost, Denver Composts!, and other Denver Recycles programs, visit or call 311 (720-913-1311).

Sign up for FREE Learn to Backyard Compost Classes!

graphic of Learn to Backyard Compost bannerSpring is here, and it’s time to take your recycling and gardening efforts to the next level by learning how to compost in your own backyard! Get started today by signing up for one of Denver Recycles’ and Denver Urban Gardens’ FREE Learn to Backyard Compost classes. These hands-on classes will show you just how easy and fun it is to make your own compost from food scraps and yard debris such as leaves, brush, and even weeds!

Organic materials such as leaves, branches, grass clippings and food scraps make up more than half of what Denver residents send to the landfill each year. Making and utilizing compost at your home not only puts these resources to good use and sends less material to the landfill, but it also improves lawn and garden health, conserves resources, saves money, and increases overall soil health.

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Free Learn to Backyard Compost classes begin on Sunday, May 6th and are offered through mid-October at the Denver Compost Demonstration Site, located within the Gove Community Garden (on the southwest corner of 13th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard).  Each of the regular two-hour Learn to Backyard Compost class includes the compost basics—such as how to prepare organic material for composting, how to create the proper ratio of browns to greens (carbon to nitrogen), and how to properly water and turn your compost pile, container or tumbler. A total of six classes throughout the season are flagged as Worm Workshops, and specifically focus on vermicomposting (worm composting) techniques. Registration for all classes is on a first-come, first-served basis and will open one month prior to each class date. Pre-registration is required. To sign up for classes, visit or call 303-292-9900.

Denver’s FREE Learn to Backyard Compost classes are sponsored by Denver Recycles and Denver Urban Gardens.  For more information about backyard composting and other programs offered by Denver Recycles, please visit or call 311 (720-913-1311).

The Three Easy Steps for Proper Cardboard Recycling

Online shopping is growing faster than ever.  In 2017, online shopping increased 16% over 2016 and projected to continue growing. As Americans continue to purchase a wide variety of online goods, this growing appetite for one-click shopping translates into lots and lots of cardboard boxes arriving on Denver doorsteps every day.

Fortunately, cardboard boxes are recyclable, and Denver Recycles is happy to accept cardboard in its purple recycle carts. However, the growing quantity of cardboard delivered to Denver homes has made managing this material for recycling a little more challenging.

To ensure that cardboard from your home is properly and efficiently recycled, simply follow these three easy steps:

STEP 1: Remove packaging from inside cardboard boxes, and flatten boxes completely. This only takes a minute! Keep in mind that not all packaging found inside cardboard boxes is recyclable – check the Denver Recycles guidelines before making a decision on how to manage the packaging found inside cardboard boxes.

STEP 2: Reduce the size of cardboard to pieces no larger than 2 ft. by 2 ft.

STEP 3: Place cardboard inside your purple cart, or stack cardboard neatly beneath the cart lid so that the lid is open no more than 45 degrees.

image of steps to properly setting out extra cardboard

It is also important to remember the following:

¨  Your purple cart is your collection container. Only materials inside your cart will be collected for recycling. Cardboard that is left on top of the lid or outside of your purple cart will not be collected. Cardboard stacked against your cart may even result in your cart not being emptied on collection day.

  • Clean pizza boxes are accepted in purple carts. However, greasy pizza boxes do not belong in recycle carts but are accepted in Denver’s green compost carts. Not signed up for the Denver Composts program? Learn more and sign up for compost collection service at or by calling 311.
  • Following our cardboard recycling guidelines not only maximizes space and prevents cardboard jams inside your cart, it also maximizes the efficiency of Denver’s recycling program overall.
  • Denver Recycles does offer the option to upsize existing 65-gallon recycle carts to the larger, 95-gallon cart size, and the ability to deliver a second recycle cart to homes needing even more capacity.
  • Cardboard and all other single-stream recyclables are also accepted at the Cherry Creek Recycling Drop-off for no charge.

For more information about recycling guidelines, the Cherry Creek Recycling Drop-off, and all other programs and services offered by Denver Recycles, visit or call 311 (720-913-1311).

Make Yours A Healthy Home - Schedule A Hazardous Waste Collection Appointment

Make Yours A Healthy Home logoHow healthy is your home? The average U.S. home generates about 20 pounds of household hazardous waste per year. Many common products, such as garden chemicals, adhesives, various cleaners and automotive fluids, have toxicity levels that make them dangerous to people, pets, and the environment if stored or disposed of improperly.

Cut your risk of exposure to toxic chemicals in your home and schedule a Household Hazardous Waste Collection appointment. Scheduling an appointment is easy, and it only takes a few minutes to prepare your items for collection.

Here’s a quick list of items accepted in the Denver Household Hazardous Waste Collection Program and items that you should NEVER put in the trash or pour down the drain, toilet, or storm sewer:

Automotive Fluids, Batteries, Chlorine Bleach, Cleaners, Corrosive Chemicals, Drain Openers, Fluorescent Bulbs & Tubes, Fertilizers, Gasoline, Glue Adhesives & Hobby Chemicals, Herbicides, Insecticides & Pesticides, Mercury & Lead, Mercury Thermometers & Thermostats, Motor Oil & Used Filters, Acid & Bases, Latex & Oil-Based Paint, Paint Thinner & Stripper, Polishes & Wood Preservatives, Pool Chemicals, Rust Remover, Stain, Spray Paint, Varnishes & Waxes, and Weed Killer.   

Denver residents are eligible for one collection appointment per calendar year. To schedule a collection appointment, call 1-800-HHW-PKUP (1-800-449-7587). Please note that there is a $15 co-payment and to make an appointment, a resident must have a minimum of three different types of material from the accepted materials list included above.

For more information about Denver’s Household Hazardous Waste collection program and all other programs and services offered by Denver Recycles, visit or call 311 (720-913-1311).



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