The Carts are Here and the Results are Impressive!

Currently, Denver’s trash is collected in dumpsters, in manual trash cans, or in city-issued trash carts, depending on your location in the City.  Last summer, Denver Solid Waste Management began the four to five year process of converting all Solid Waste Management customers to a standardized trash collection system utilizing city-issued trash carts. The switch to trash carts is part of the City’s Master Plan for Managing Solid Waste and is happening for many reasons, including:
  • Cleaner alleys and neighborhoods- Carts reduce illegal dumping and litter.
  • Increased recycling- Carts are leading to more recycling.
  • Improved collection efficiency- Switching to one type of service city-wide helps increase the overall efficiency of the City’s Solid Waste Management system.
  • Safer alleys and neighborhoods- Removing dumpsters gets rid of potential hiding places in our alleys. 

CARTS ARE WORKINGNow that more than half the City has trash cart collection, Solid Waste Management is happy to say that the results indicate the program is working as planned. Observations in transitioned neighborhoods coupled with analysis of trash collection data show that:
  • Illegal dumping has decreased significantly in neighborhoods that have been transitioned to carts.
  • Recycling participation has increased by more than 13% in the new cart neighborhoods.
  • The pounds of trash thrown away are down by about 10 pounds per household, per week in the new cart neighborhoods, helping to reduce the overall transportation and disposal costs. 

The webpage is dedicated to providing information on the cart transition process. It includes maps, answers to frequently asked questions, and updates on upcoming public meetings. The public meetings are a great opportunity to talk to the trash collection crews and supervisors, and to get answers to any question you may have. Some of the common questions are: 
  1. When is this happening in my neighborhood? The entire City will have cart collection by the end of 2017 or early 2018. The neighborhoods impacted in 2015 include portions of:  Athmar Park, Auraria, Baker, Clayton, Cole, Cory-Merrill, Lincoln Park, Mar Lee, Ruby Hill, Skyland Sloan’s Lake, University, University Park, Valverde, Villa Park, Washington Park, West Colfax and Whittier.  
  2. How does it work? Each household is provided with one black 95-gallon trash cart. Trash is collected weekly and overflow trash is collected every three weeks. There is no charge for service. 
  3. Where do I store my cart and how do I set it out? Carts can be set out the day before your collection and must be returned to your property the day after collection. Carts must be stored on your property on non-collection days. 
For more answers and to stay up-to-date on the cart conversion, 
visit or call 311 (720-913-1311).

Cherry Creek Recycling Drop-Off Now Open in Southeast Denver

Denver Recycles is pleased to announce the opening of the NEW Cherry Creek Recycling Drop-Off.  The free drop-off provides a convenient way for Denver residents to keep extra recyclables out of the landfill and to compost yard waste, food scraps, and non-recyclable paper. The facility is the first of its kind in Denver and marks another milestone in completing the City’s Master Plan for Managing Waste in the Mile High City. 

The recycling drop-off is located near the intersection of East Cherry Creek Drive South and South Quebec Street (follow the signs) and is open Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The drop-off is closed on Sundays and Mondays (CLOSED JULY 4TH and on other City holidays).

The drop-off is open to Denver residents only, no commercial or landscaping company material will be accepted at this site. 


  • Bottles, Cans, Paper and Cardboard (all the same materials taken in Denver’s purple carts).  No plastic bags.


  • Yard debris including grass clippings, leaves and branches.  
  • Food scraps and non-recyclable paper (napkins, paper towels, greasy pizza boxes)).
  • Branches no longer than 4 feet in length, no larger than 4 inches in diameter and no pieces weighing more than 50 pounds. 
  • Paper bags are okay, but again no plastic bags.


  • Trash, plastic bags, electronics, appliances, household hazardous waste, furniture, sod, dirt, rocks or other non-recyclable or non-compostable materials. 
For more information about the new drop-off facility call 311 (720-913-1311) or visit  

Take a FREE Learn to Compost Class

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 mid-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 are held once-per-month, May through October. 

  • BUILD-A-PILE CLASSES give participants hands-on experience building an entire compost pile, including how to incorporate different ingredients, chop materials, water and turn the pile. Five Build-a-Pile classes are offered throughout the season.   

Class registration is first come, first served.  Registration for each class opens one month prior to the class date and 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, visit 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

Give Yourself a Break This Summer by Grasscycling

Grass is growing very quickly from all the recent precipitation. Save yourself some time and energy this summer by Grasscycling, or just leaving your grass clippings on your lawn after mowing. 
Grasscycling makes mowing quicker and easier, and is the natural way to return nutrients back to your lawn. 

Grass clippings are consistently one of the most wasted materials from April to September, and more than one-third of Denver household trash is composed of yard debris and grass clippings. By Grasscycling, you can help stop this material from ending up in landfills and have a real impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This summer, take your recycling efforts to the next level and try Grasscycling for a few weeks to see what you think!   

  • USE ANY MOWER. Remove the mower collection bag to allow clippings to fall back 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. 
  • MOW WHEN IT’S DRY. Wet grass clippings clump together and do not feed your lawn as well as dry grass clippings. 
  • FOLLOW THE “1/3 RULE.” To foster healthy grass, do not cut more than 1/3 of the length of the grass at any time,  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.

 If you hire a landscaper to mow, be sure to ask them to adopt Grasscycling methods when mowing your lawn. 

 Visit for more information about Grasscycling and other opportunities to create less waste this summer.

Recycling Continues to Grow in Denver's Parks

Thanks to a successful 2014 parks recycling pilot program, Denver Parks & Recreation and Public Works Solid Waste Management are once again partnering to bring recycling to more City parks.  The 2015 expansion means that single-stream recycling is now available to visitors in a total of 11 of Denver’s regional parks.  

Recycling is available in the following parks:

  • Washington Park
  • Cheesman Park
  • City Park
  • Sloan’s Lake Park
  • Kennedy Ballfields Complex
  • Kennedy Soccer Complex
  • Lowry Sports Complex
  • Rocky Mountain Lake Park
  • Berkeley Lake Park
  • Cook (Judge Joseph E) Park
  • Congress Park 

The large purple recycling containers are for park visitor use only and accept all of the same recyclables as accepted in Denver’s residential purple carts. Some of the easiest items to recycle in the parks include plastic water bottles, aluminum cans, paperboard, and plastic cups. Non-acceptable items include: Styrofoam®, plastic bags, pet waste, food waste, food soiled paper and trash. 

Each year, nearly 6,000 tons of materials are sent to the landfill from parks in Denver and more than half this material could easily be recycled. On your next park visit keep an eye out for the new purple recycling containers and do your part to reduce the amount of waste we send to the landfill each year. 

For more information on what is accepted in the Denver Recycles program, call 311 (720-913-1311) or visit

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.