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Recycle Your Christmas Tree with Denver’s Treecycle Program

It’s as easy as 1,2,3!

Recycling your Christmas tree is as easy as 1, 2, 3 with Denver Recycles/Solid Waste Management’s annual Treecycle program. This year’s program will run January 4 through January 15, 2016.

By recycling your tree through Denver’s Treeycycle program, you can help keep trees out of the landfill, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help create mulch that is available to Denver residents for free at the Annual Treecycle Mulch Giveaway & Leafdrop Compost Sale in the spring.

Here’s how easy it is to recycle your Christmas tree:

  1. Remove all decorations, lights, and the tree stand. Natural (real) trees only! NO artificial or flocked trees.
  2. Set your tree out for collection during the two-week Treecycle collection period (January 4 - 15). Christmas trees are collected by tree-only collection trucks during this period.
  3. Reclaim free mulch made from your tree at the Annual Treecycle Mulch Giveaway & LeafDrop Compost Sale in the spring!

Treecycle set out instructions depend on your regular trash service type. Manual & Cart customers should set trees out at their regular trash set out locations by 7 a.m. on their trash collection day during the week of January 4th or the week of January 11th. Dumpster customers should set trees in the alley by 7 a.m. on either Monday, January 4th or Monday, January 11th and the trees will be removed during that week.

Do not place trees in trash carts or dumpsters. Trees placed in trash carts or dumpsters are mixed in with other trash and do not get recycled. Instead, trees should be placed at least two feet away from dumpsters, carts and other obstacles so that they can be accessed by the special tree-only collection trucks.

Last year, Denver residents recycled nearly 20,000 trees. Participate in this year’s Treecycle program and help us recycle even more!

For more information about Treecycle, the Annual Treecycle Mulch Giveaway and LeafDrop Compost Sale, or other Denver Recycles programs call 311 (720-913-1311) or visit

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.




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


Tips for Reducing Waste This Holiday Season

Did you know – Americans generate 25% more waste than normal between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day? This holiday season, get creative about reining in your holiday consumption habits by finding new ways to conserve resources. To do so, Denver Recycles encourages you to reduce what you generate in the first place and to actively recycle and compost as much as possible.  

Here are a few recycling reminders and waste reduction tips for the holiday season:

  • SAVE & REUSE WRAPPING PAPER AND GIFT BAGS – Save money, landfill space, and help the environment by keeping your gift bags, tissue paper and wrapping paper for use again this year or next.  Also, consider using re-useable cloth shopping bags as gift bags and give your family and friends two gifts in one!
  • KNOW YOUR RECYCLING OPTIONS – Plenty of gift packaging such as cardboard and plain wrapping paper is accepted in purple carts. Other materials, such as foam and plastic wrap, are not. If you’re unsure of what holiday gift packaging or wrapping is recyclable in your purple cart or elsewhere in Denver, consult the Denver Recycles’ Recycling Directory on our website or access the directory by downloading the “Denver Trash and Recycling” app.
  • REDUCE FOOD WASTE – Food is a huge piece of just about every holiday. Keep your food waste in check by reading up on the EPA’s food waste reduction tips at and by composting all kitchen scraps and uneaten food waste.
  • UPCYCLE – Many great holiday gifts are made from what could sometimes be considered waste. Consider purchasing handmade and upcycled gifts for your friends and family this year. Many local vendors sell jewelry from discarded food packaging, pillows from discarded textiles, and much more! You’re sure to impress friend and family with these unique finds!
  • RECYCLING DROP-OFF – If you find that you are generating more recyclables than usual with friends and family in town, consider bringing your extra recyclables to the Denver Recycles Cherry Creek Recycling Drop-off. Hours and directions can be found on or by calling 311 (720-913-1311).

As you clean up after your holiday festivities, be sure to recycle correctly by ensuring that only acceptable recyclables are placed in your Denver Recycles’ purple recycling cart.

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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.