Denver Recycles and Ace Hardware Team Up to Increase Leaf Composting

This fall, keep your leaves out of the landfill by composting them through Denver Recycles’ LeafDrop program!  
Composting leaves not only saves space in the landfill, it also creates a valuable commodity and reduces your environmental impact. Denver Recycles is providing multiple drop-off locations during the months of October and November. The two weekday Leafdrop sites will be open October 1st through November 30th for residents to bring their bagged leaves for composting.  Weekend LeafDrop sites will be open for the first three weekends in November.  By participating in the LeafDrop program you can make less trash, keep our streets clean, and help to make compost for Denver Recycles’ Annual Mulch Giveaway & Compost Sale in May. Free paper leaf and yard bags available for Denver Residents! 

Break the plastic bag habit. Choose paper bags instead!  As an extra incentive for residents to compost leaves and to encourage the use of paper bags, Denver Recycles and Ace Hardware stores are partnering to give away 10,000 free paper leaf & yard bags.  Unlike plastic bags, paper bags can be composted along with the leaves, saving time and reducing plastic waste.  Starting October 1st, Denver residents can pick up a FREE 5-pack of paper leaf & yard bags at participating Denver area Ace Hardware stores with a coupon.  Visit to print your free paper bag coupon and to get a list of participating Ace Hardware stores.  No purchase necessary, while supplies last, limit one free pack per household. Additional bags can be purchased for about $2.50 per 5-pack at any Ace Hardware Store.

LeafDrop Locations and Dates.  Please only bring leaves to drop sites during specified dates and times.  Dropping off leaves at other times is considered illegal dumping.  

WEEKDAYS: MONDAY – FRIDAY, Oct. 1 - Nov. 30, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. All leaves brought during the week must be in secured bags. Paper bags are preferred.

  • Cherry Creek Transfer Station - 7301 E. Jewell Ave. (Quebec St. & Cherry Creek Dr. South) 
  • Havana Nursery - 10450 Smith Rd. (Just south of I-70 on Havana St.)

, NOV. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 & 16, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  
Dropping off leaves at other times is considered illegal dumping.
  • EAST: Cranmer Park - 3rd Ave. & Clermont St.
  • NORTHEAST: Smiley Middle School - 26th Ave. & Holly St.
  • NORTH CENTRAL: Argo Park - 48th Ave. & Clark Pl.  (NEW DROP SITE)
  • SOUTH CENTRAL: South High School - Louisiana Ave. & Franklin St.
  • SOUTHEAST: Cherry Creek Transfer Station - 7301 E. Jewell Ave. (Quebec St. & Cherry Creek Dr. South) 
  • WEST: Sloan’s Lake Park - 17th Ave. & Sheridan Blvd.
  • SOUTHWEST: Kennedy High School - Newland St. & Brown Pl.  
Help us manage the LeafDrop program by following these guidelines: 
  • Drop sites and free Ace Hardware paper bag offer is for Denver residents only.
  • Jack-O-Lanterns and pumpkins will be accepted for composting at drop sites after Halloween. 
  • Make sure leaves do not contain branches or other materials.
  • Never rake or blow leaves into the street, as this clogs storm sewers and street sweepers.

For more information on this year’s LeafDrop program call 720-865-6810 or visit

Full Circle Recycling: How Choosing the Right Products Can Support Recycling

Recycling is an easy and effective way for Denver residents to reduce their impact on the environment. However, placing recyclable material into Denver’s purple recycling carts is only the first step in the circular process of recycling which includes collection, re-manufacturing and consumer choice. When combined, these three phases of the recycling process are capable of preserving natural resources, reducing pollution, reducing the need for landfill capacity, and saving energy. Here are some examples of how the three-part recycling process works within the City and County of Denver:

  • Collection: Denver residents collect and recycle materials in purple carts. Then, Denver Recycles’ trucks pick up this material and deliver it to a material processing facility in north Denver where materials are separated and sorted for shipment to manufacturing facilities.   
  • Manufacturing: Recycled materials are re-processed and turned into new products. It’s hard to believe, but it only takes six weeks for an aluminum can to make it from a purple recycling cart to the grocery shelf as a new aluminum can!
  • Consumer: Consumer choices drive the market for recycled products. When possible, Denver residents are urged to purchase recycled content products that are made from the very material they recycle in their homes, offices and schools. 

Since being an informed consumer and purchasing materials produced from recycled materials is just as much a part of recycling process as is the habit of filling your purple cart, be sure to check the labels of the products you regularly purchase and make sure you choose the products made from recycled materials.  Here are some of the labels you may find: 

  • Post-Consumer Waste: This is the best choice and means that the product is made from materials that were discarded after their original use into recycling programs like Denver’s. For example, paper towels made from post-consumer waste contain fibers that were once part of office paper, cardboard or other materials Denver residents regularly put in their purple carts. 
  • Pre-Consumer Waste or Post-Industrial Waste: This means the product is made from waste generated in the manufacturing process. While this is a great form of recycling, the purchase of post-consumer content should take priority over pre-consumer content.
  • Recyclable: It’s great to buy products that are recyclable. However, this label doesn't necessarily mean that the product is made from recycled materials. 

Remember, most products that contain recycled material are labeled, so look for clues that you are purchasing products that help complete the recycling loop
. Some common products that often contain pre- or post-consumer waste include: paper, paper towels, toilet paper, carpeting, clothing, plastic bottles like shampoo and cleaning products, cereal boxes, and so much more.

 For more information about what can be recycled in Denver, visit, or call 311 (720-913-1311).

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

Tips for Greening Halloween

Halloween makes the list as one of America’s top consumer holidays. Last year alone, the National Retail Federation estimated that Americans spent nearly $7 billion on Halloween costumes, decorations and candy. To help reduce your consumer impact during the Halloween season, consider some of the following tips:
  • Rethink Your Costume: Halloween costumes are usually only used for one day and they are generally still in good condition the following year.  Instead of buying a brand new costume, consider trading with friends or otherwise finding second-hand costume components. Whether you need a whole costume or just a few accessories, thrift stores have a wide variety of gently-used costumes and inexpensive trinkets that will help complete your holiday transformation and save you some money in the process. 
  • Compost Your Pumpkins: During the month of November, all Denver LeafDrop locations will accept jack-o-lanterns and other pumpkins. Before the squirrels make a mess of your pumpkin artwork, deliver your jack-o-lanterns to one of the convenient weekday or weekend LeafDrop sites located throughout the City. Don’t forget to bring your paper-bagged leaves with you!
  • Get Creative and Decorate with a (Re)Purpose: Instead of spending scary amounts of money on disposable and one-time-use decorations, consider repurposing recyclables into spooky decor. For example, milk jugs can make great ghosts, just as egg cartons and toilet paper rolls can be transformed into bats or monsters.
  • Buy in Bulk: Are you anticipating a ton of trick-or-treaters this year? To reduce the amount of candy packaging you throw away, plan to buy in bulk or just look for treats with less packaging. Since candy wrappers and their plastic bag packaging are made of soft plastic, they are not accepted in the purple Denver Recycles recycling carts. 

For more ideas on how to reduce your impact this Halloween, try browsing the internet for other sustainable Halloween ideas.

City Tests Out “Zero Waste” Program at Denver Wastewater Building

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.

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.