Denver Continues its Expansion of Citywide Compost Service

Published on January 02, 2024

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DENVER –  Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) is encouraging 19,100 residents of Montbello, Green Valley Ranch and Gateway to look for a letter in the mail, letting them know compost collection service is starting soon in their neighborhoods and requesting they let DOTI know what size compost cart they’d like to receive.

Montbello, Green Valley Ranch and Gateway make up Denver’s Solid Waste Collection (SWC) District 4 - an area with approximately 400 compost customers currently.  Per instructions they’ll receive in the letter, residents will have until January 26 to choose their cart size to be part of an initial round of cart deliveries. DOTI will deliver carts to these customers in February along with a small kitchen pail and compost how-to guide.  Collection starts the week after a customer’s cart arrives.

Earlier this year, DOTI completed a rollout of compost collection service to residents in SWC District 2, which included City Park, City Park West, Clayton, Cole, Elyria-Swansea, Five Points, North Capitol Hill, Skyland, Whittier, and parts of Globeville.  About 11,000 households in that area received a cart and DOTI followed up with auditing and educating customers.  This process involved checking carts for contamination and tagging those carts to let people know what they put in their carts that shouldn’t be in there. The education piece is critical to the success of the program and the goal is to make sure residents are using the service correctly before moving on to the next area.  Contaminated loads of compost can be turned away by the city’s compost processor.

DOTI is rolling out weekly compost service district by district, focusing on helping customers understand what items to place in their newly delivered green carts.  The department is prioritizing neighborhoods with lower diversion rates in its rollout, with SWC Districts 5, 8  and 3 next in line in 2024, and is developing a rollout schedule for the remaining districts in 2025.  Residents will continue to receive a credit on their invoice until compost service starts in their neighborhood.

In January 2023, Denver moved to a volume-based pricing model for trash collection service to curb the amount of waste the city sends to the landfill. Residents pay for what they throw based on their trash cart size, with weekly recycling and composting included at no additional cost. Denver’s diversion rate is up three percent from last year to 26%, with 5,257 more tons of recyclable material diverted from the landfill through November of this year compared to last year.