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Apply Now to Become a Denver Master Composter!

Are you interested in becoming an expert composter and recycler? 

The Denver Master Composter Training Program offers Denver residents a unique opportunity to learn about composting and recycling topics, as well as the opportunity to give back to the community by sharing waste reduction information with others. Through classroom seminars and hands-on experiences, Master Composter program volunteers learn about a broad range of topics, including compost science, compost pile construction, conservation, the recycling industry and more! In return, Master Composters share their newly acquired knowledge with the broader community by leading “Learn to Compost” workshops and participating in outreach events at community gardens, schools and local farmers’ markets.  

No prior composting experience is required.

However, program participants must be able to commit to the following:

> In-Depth Compost Training (40 hours) February – April.

> Hands-On Sessions (Ongoing).

> Community Outreach Give-Back (40 Volunteer Hours) May-October.

Master Composter training classes are held on Monday evenings from late February to early April.  The program also includes one all-day (weekday) tour of recycling and composting facilities in early April, and two Saturday morning work days at the Compost Demonstration Site. Volunteer give-back hours are self-paced, but must be completed between May and October. Some evening and weekends may be required.

Applications for the 2016 program are accepted now through January 2016. To view more detailed program information and application details, visit or call 303-292-9900.




Denver Recycles and Ace Hardware Unite to Increase Leaf Composting

This fall, keep your leaves out of the landfill by composting them through Denver Recycles’ LeafDrop program!  Denver Recycles and Ace Hardware stores are once again partnering to give away 20,000 paper lawn & leaf bags to make LeafDrop as convenient as possible for Denver residents. Unlike plastic bags, brown paper bags can be composted along with the leaves, saving time and reducing plastic waste.  By participating in the LeafDrop program you can save space in the landfill, decrease your environmental impact, and help keep our streets clean. Materials collected during LeafDrop are composted and then made available to Denver residents, for purchase, at the Denver Recycles’ Annual Mulch Giveaway & Compost Sale in May.

To get your FREE 5-pack of paper lawn & leaf bags, you’ll need to visit and print out the special LeafDrop coupon.  Then take your coupon to any of the participating Denver area Ace Hardware stores to get your free bags (no purchase necessary; while supplies last; limit one free pack per household). Additional paper lawn & leaf 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 the specified dates and times listed below.  Dropping off leaves at other times is considered illegal dumping.

WEEKDAY DROP-OFF SITES: MONDAY – FRIDAY October 5 - November 30, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
*Closed on Thanksgiving Day
WEEKEND DROP-OFF SITES: SATURDAYS & SUNDAYS November 7-22, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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


Battling Recycling Myths with the Truth!

Over the past several weeks a few publications around the country have chosen to print op-ed pieces opining that ‘recycling is dead’ and advocating to throw certain recyclable materials in the trash as opposed to recycling them. While these same fallacies have been around for the last 20 years and disproven by scores of peer-reviewed publications and scholarly articles, the opinion pieces still tend to get more press than any of their fact-based counterparts. To dispel some of the potential confusion about the benefits and costs of sustainable materials management, Denver Recycles would like to share a few facts about recycling. Here are four of the most common myths on the recycling industry.

Myth 1: Recycling does not make sense economically - it’s costly and ineffectual. (FALSE)

  • Denver recycles gets paid a revenue for every ton of recyclables we deliver to the recycling processor. Conversely, the City pays money for every ton of trash we throw away in the landfill.
  • Recycling, reuse, and composting sustains more than 85,000 jobs in Colorado alone.
  • State and local tax revenues generated from waste diversion activities amount to nearly $1.3 billion per year. The industry accounts for approximately 5 percent of Colorado’s overall economic output.

Myth 2: Recycling has no real positive environmental impacts, people just do it to make themselves feel good. (FALSE)

  • Recycling results in a net reduction in ten major categories of air pollutants and eight major categories of water pollutants. Last year alone, Denver recycled enough materials to reduce as much greenhouse gas as removing over 24,000 passenger cars of our roads annually.
  • Ninety-four percent of the natural resources America uses are non-renewable (up from 59% in 1900 and 88% in 1945). Recycling provides non-virgin inputs to manufacturers, helps conserve non-renewable resources, and reduces energy and water use in manufacturing. These benefits far outweigh the costs and impacts of collection and processing.

Myth 3: Recyclables end up in the landfill anyways so why bother. (FALSE)

  • Prices may fluctuate as they do for any commodity, but domestic and international markets exist for all materials collected in our residential recycling and composting programs. The materials in your purple cart are sorted and sold as commodities on the open-market.
  • The aluminum cans in your purple cart can be recycled and returned to a store shelf as a new can in just 60 days.

Myth 4: Recycling is the best materials related activity you can take reduce your environmental footprint. (FALSE)

  • Recycling is easy to do and it has great economic and environmental benefits, but it is not the absolute best materials related activity you can do to help the environment. Reducing what you use in the first place, and then reusing materials or donating them to charity, are the best ways you can make a positive impact on materials management in Denver.

For more information about recycling, background and sources for the recycling facts in this article, or if you want to ask more questions about recycling, please contact Denver Recycles at

Past Issues

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.