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Composting Food & Yard Waste

Every year Denver residents throw out tons of food and yard waste that could have been turned into beneficial compost. There are now several ways you can not only help reduce the organic waste from your household in the City and County of Denver, but also reap the benefits as well.

Denver Composting Stats

8,646,000 pounds of material was composted in 2016


Discover Denver Composts

Denver Composts is redefining what was once waste. This fee-based service collects household organic material like yard debris, food scraps, and non-recyclable paper. By signing up for compost collection you can reduce the amount of waste you throw away by as much as 50 to 75 percent! 

Why Join?

  1. IT’S SO EASY. Simply put your organic material in the green cart and set it out for collection each week.
  2. LESS WASTE SENT TO THE LANDFILL. More than 50% of what the average Denver households put in the trash is organic material.
  3. REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS. Composting results in less methane emitted into the atmosphere.

Denver Composts is a fee-based service paid for by the resident at the rate of $29.25 each quarter (every 3 months). More details available in the "Compost Service Payment Information" section.

Benefits of Composting

Composting is one way to keep organic material out of landfills, avoiding climate warming gases generated as these materials decay under anaerobic (without oxygen) conditions to create methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent in its heat-trapping capabilities than carbon dioxide.

Because methane is so much more damaging than CO2, the benefits of composting organic material far outweigh the environmental “costs” of collecting, hauling and processing organic material with trucks and equipment that burn fuel.

  • Organic material like food, yard debris and soiled paper makes up about 58% of what Denver residents send to the landfill.
  • The U .S. sent 25 million tons of food waste to landfills in 2005 — the greenhouse gas impact of composting this mass would be the equivalent of removing 7.8 million passenger cars from the road.

Using Compost

Composting is nature’s way of recycling and returning valuable organic matter and nutrients to the soil to be used again. It can be used for gardens, lawns and even houseplants, to conserve moisture and add nutrients to help plants thrive.

  • Incorporating compost into the soil can help to increase the soil's ability to retain moisture and reduce the need for fertilizers, herbicide or fungicide on farms, gardens and landscaping.
  • Compost increases infiltration and permeability of heavy soils, thus reducing erosion and runoff.
  • Compost can retain 100% of its weight in water and is an important component of gardening in a drought.

If your neighborhood isn't yet eligible to participate in Denver Composts, you can help keep organic material out of landfills by composting in your own backyard.

Learn more about how to get started »


Contact Us

Call 311 (720-913-1311), visit online at 311 Help Request or PocketGov.

Outside Denver Call (720) 913-1311
Emergencies: 911
TTY Service: 720-913-8479

For a more in depth look at the environmental benefits of using compost in landscaping and agriculture, and facts on composting and greenhouse gas reductions, visit the following links:

Browns and Greens Make Gold! A Guide to Backyard Composting (PDF - English/Spanish)

Worms Are Our Buddies (PDF - English/Spanish)

Grasscycle (PDF - English/Spanish)

The Master Compost Training Programs offers Denver residents a unique opportunity to not only learn about composting and recycling topics, but also a great way to give back to our community. Through hands-on sessions, Master Composter program participants learn about a broad range of composting, recycling and resource conservation topics, and then share their newly acquired knowledge with the broader community through outreach events and by facilitating Learn to Compost classes.

Click here for program details and how to apply.

graphic for sign up for free composting classes

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