A Master Plan for Managing Solid Waste in the Mile High City

The Master Plan provides the City with a vision — and options for implementation — for Denver’s future collection, transfer and disposal of solid waste, recyclables and organics. The Plan also assesses what is required by Public Works’ Solid Waste Management section to achieve Denver’s waste management goal of a 30% reduction in landfill tons, using 2004 as the base year.

Download the 2010 Solid Waste Master Plan








Trash Collection Services to Change in Select Neighborhoods

In 2014, Denver Public Works will begin the first phase of a plan to move the City of Denver to automated cart trash collection. In 2010, the City outlined strategies to improve waste services in its ‘Master Plan for Managing Solid Waste in the Mile High City’. The plan called for a number of service improvements designed to make waste collection more efficient and to reduce waste disposal by providing options to divert waste to better uses like recycling and composting. 

Starting this summer, the City will begin to convert approximately 20,000 homes with dumpster or manual trash collection to cart based trash service. The transition will take place in the following neighborhoods: Globeville, Swansea Elyria and parts of Cole and Clayton; Barnum, Barnum West and Westwood; a portion of West Colfax; Platt Park, Overland, Rosedale and part of University; part of Hale; and, East Colfax and part of Park Hill.

In addition to improving the equity of services across the city and increasing collection efficiency, the cart conversion process provides many other benefits to the residents in impacted neighborhoods.

BENEFITS OF CART BASED TRASH COLLECTION          

  • Improved Collection Efficiency: The City currently operates three types of trash collection service that requires specialized vehicles for each one.  Moving all residents to cart based trash will allow for standardization of trucks and containers.
  • Equal services citywide: Right now, there are three different types of trash services in the City. The trash cart conversion will lead to a 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 illegal dumping in the City is from the 35% of the City with dumpster trash service!
  • Cleaner alleys and neighborhoods: The cart trash service will help decrease litter, graffiti, overflowing trash containers or bags, and overall mess.
  • Safer alleys and neighborhoods: Dumpsters obstruct alley views and provide a hiding place for criminal activity. Removing dumpsters will give police patrols clear sight lines in the alleys and help keep the alleys and our neighborhoods safer.
  • Increased recycling: The new cart based trash service will help encourage residents to recycle more.
   
To the right is a map showing the neighborhoods that will be part of the transition in 2014 (Click on map to download) and below is a list of frequently asked questions.  A schedule for the transition will be posted as soon as it is finalized, but nothing is expected to change until this summer.  We will also post updated information here as it becomes available, so please visit this site for updates.  Solid Waste Management will be attending neighborhood meetings as well as scheduling special community meetings to answer questions and discuss the changes, the schedule of those meetings will also be posted here.  If you have questions that are not answered here, please call us at 311 (720-913-1311) or email us at DenverRecycles@denvergov.org.


To download a flyer about the cart conversion or trash cart size options click on the images to the right.







 

General Questions

The new trash cart is a black, city-issued, wheeled container that is almost exactly the same as the purple recycling carts you can see all over the City. The standard issue will be a 95-gallon cart, which is larger than many recycle carts. However, the City will also offer a smaller 65-gallon cart to those homes that feel they need less capacity.
Yes. About 58,000 homes in the City already have cart based trash service and the program works extremely well everywhere it is in place.

There are a number of reasons the change is being made to cart based trash collection including:

  • Improved Collection Efficiency: The City currently operates three types of trash collection service that requires specialized vehicles for each one. Moving all residents to cart based trash will allow for standardization of trucks and containers.
  • Equal services citywide: Right now, there are three different types of trash services in the City. The trash cart conversion will lead to a trash and recycling system that is the same City-wide 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 illegal dumping in the City is from the 35% of the City with dumpster based service!
  • Cleaner alleys and neighborhoods: The cart trash service will help decrease litter, graffiti, overflowing trash containers or bags, and overall mess.
  • Safer alleys and neighborhoods: Dumpsters obstruct alley views and provide a hiding place for criminal activity. Removing dumpsters will give police patrols clear sight lines in the alleys and help keep the alleys and our neighborhoods safer.
  • Increased recycling: The new cart based trash service will help encourage residents to recycle more.

The first round of cart conversions will be in the neighborhoods of:

  • Elyria-Swansea/Globeville
  • Barnum, Barnum East and Westwood
  • East Colfax and East Park Hill
  • Hale
  • West Colfax
  • Platt Park, Overland, Rosedale, and part of University

Eventually, all households in the City will have cart based trash service. View the map to see if you are in the planned conversion for 2014.

This year’s cart conversion will begin after July 2014 and continue through the end of the year. As the schedule for conversion is finalized it will be posted on this site. Solid Waste Management staff will also be providing on-going education to areas affected by the change.  Tools like direct mail information, special neighborhood meetings and events, neighborhood list serves, neighborhood newsletters, and others will all be used to make people aware of when and how the transition will take place.

In 2009/2010 the City spent a significant amount of time researching and developing recommendations to help residents reduce waste and allow the City to provide an efficient trash collection system.  The planning process gathered public input through a series of neighborhood meetings and an online survey.


The 2010 Master Plan for Managing Waste in the Mile High City was supported by City Council.  Unfortunately, at the same time support was received, the recession hit the City of Denver and implementation was delayed.  In 2013, City Council set this plan as one of its top 10 funding priorities and we are now beginning implementation.

No, in order for the program to work efficiently and for the residents in your neighborhood to see the benefits of cart based service the program must be consistent for all homes in the neighborhood.
Detailed instructions will be delivered to you with your new trash cart, including your day of service.  While the City will have to make some minor service changes to accommodate the new system, it is expected that most residents that currently have trash collection in the alley will continue to receive trash cart service in the alley. Changes to where trash is collected will be kept to a minimum and only made in areas that are absolutely necessary.
Solid Waste Management ‘s guidelines require residents to store all trash and recycling containers on their property out of public view when possible.  We recognize that it is not always possible to get the cart out of public view.  Carts may not be stored in the public right of way such as the alley or at the curb.
No, the trash cart will be delivered to your home for no fee.

The standard issue will be a 95-gallon cart that can hold 7-8 tall kitchen trash bags a week.  The City will also offer smaller carts to those who need less capacity. There is a 65-gallon cart that holds 4-5 bags per week and a 35-gallon cart that holds 2-3 tall kitchen bags per week.

 
Cart dimensions are as follows:

  • 35 gallon: H = 40”, W = 21”, D = 23”
  • 65 gallon: H = 41”, W = 27”, D = 28”
  • 95 gallon: H = 46”, W = 29”, D = 34”


Yes. The 95-Gallon trash cart is the default size. 

If you would like a 35 or 65-Gallon trash cart call 311 and ask for Solid Waste Management.

  • Larger households, those that generate a lot of trash, or those that do not recycle should order a 95-GALLON trash cart. This is the default size.
  • Most average size households that recycle on a regular basis should consider a 65-GALLON trash cart.
  • Smaller households, those that generate little waste, or households that recycle or compost most of their waste should consider the 35-GALLON trash cart.


Overall, the transition to carts is being made when dumpster or manual trucks reach their end of life and would have been replaced anyway, so instead of buying a new dumpster truck Solid Waste Management will buy a new cart truck.  The cost of each truck is about the same, so this is an expense the city must incur regardless of the type of collection. 

The efficiencies gained by servicing the City with one method of trash collection will help to reduce the overall costs within our fleet department and Solid Waste Management will gain efficiencies through not having to manage dumpsters, manual collection, and carts. The City also expects to save money from the reduction in illegal dumping clean-up and increased route efficiencies.

Dumpster to Cart Only Questions

No.  In areas with dumpster service the City collects almost double the amount of waste as those with carts. The reduction in waste associated with cart based collection will allow trucks to stay on-route longer with fewer trips to empty the trucks, thus speeding up collection.  Also, cart collection trucks are faster than dumpster collection trucks so each cart truck will service about the same number of homes in a shorter time.

No.  Unless residents were using more than their share with the dumpster, the capacity of an individual household level is actually the same.  We also provide every three-week overflow collection – that means every three weeks cart customers can set out extra trash bags that didn’t fit in their cart.

Also, people with carts will take more responsibility for using the cart properly because its assigned to them, and if stored properly they will not be subject to the unauthorized disposal of waste from people who don’t live in the neighborhood or aren’t eligible for our service. Currently, 80% of the illegal dumping in the City is from the 35% of the City with dumpster based service and areas of the City with cart based trash service are overall much cleaner.

In areas with dumpsters, usually one dumpster is split between four homes.  Four trash carts are about the same size as one dumpster.  Each resident is not losing capacity if they have been using their share of the dumpster.  For those who generate a lot of waste, please call us of visit our website to learn how you can recycle more and reduce waste.

Manual to Cart Only Questions

The parts of Denver that have switched from manual to cart based trash collection have seen a large improvement in the amount of overflowing trash containers and overall cleanliness of the alley. The new carts will have lids and each cart is the same size as three normal sized trash cans. The carts also have wheels.

One trash cart will hold the same amount of trash as three 32 gallon trash cans. In addition to the lidded wheeled, cart, each household will be able to set out any trash that does not fit in the cart every third week for collection. Finally, you will continue to receive large item, pick up every 9 weeks (6 times a year) for items that are too big to fit in the carts.

2015 Cart Conversion Areas

Neighborhood areas scheduled for conversion to trash carts in 2015 include portions of:   Athmar Park, Auraria, Clayton, Cole, Cory-Merrill, Lincoln Park, Mar Lee, Ruby Hill, Skyland Sloans Lake, University, University Park, Valverde, Villa Park, Washington Park, West Colfax and Whittier.

 

CLICK HERE to view a map of the Cart Conversion Areas for 2015

The dates for when specific areas will undergo Cart Conversion are still to be determined.

2015 Trash Cart Conversion Public Meeting Schedule

An education and outreach campaign is conducted for each area as it is transitioned. About 8 weeks prior to the change, Solid Waste Management hosts a community-wide meeting to describe the process and answer questions. There are also a series of direct mail postcards and flyers sent directly to homes impacted explaining the delivery process and cart size selection. As carts are delivered to homes each cart is left with a service guide and collection information.
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