Denver to dump residential dumpsters

Conversion aims to keep out illegal dumping

DENVER - A different kind of alley fight is taking shape in Denver. The city is now poised to eliminate residential dumpsters.     

It's an effort to stop people from illegally dumping mattresses, couches, and other large items illegaly.        

The trash collection overhaul will roll out next summer.

"The residents in Denver have said, 'we're tired of having to deal with all this illegal dumping,'" said District 3 councilman Paul Lopez. Lopez said dumping is particularly troubling in west Denver and has been for decades. 

"Over the years, dumpsters have been a magnet for bad behavior," said Lopez. "Although they seem efficient, dumpsters can present a lot of problems for the community. They tend to overflow, lids go missing, they catch on fire, they attract graffiti."

Denver resident Katie Montoya won't necessarily be sad to see them go.

"Some people will just pull up their pick-up next to ours and sometimes they dump mattresses and all sorts of things, and so then that's kind of unsightly," said Montoya.

Jesse Fitzgerald said dumpsters offer convenience, while barrels are hard to manage.

"The narrow space that we have over there is really narrow and it's just a big hassle getting a barrel out," he said.

The move comes after years of the city trying to find the money to pay for the conversion.   

"It's finally in the budget," said Lopez.        

Currently, roughly half of Denver neighborhoods have alley dumpsters, the other half have individual barrels or manual pick-up.           

The neighborhoods closest to the city line on all four sides of the city will be first for the conversion in an effort to eliminate dumpers from coming across the city line to dump large items.

"We want Denver to remain the cleanest city possible by discouraging this behavior."

Apartments and businesses will keep their dumpsters.

The city believes this is a major upgrade.

"Our neighborhoods aren't dumping grounds," said Lopez.

Lopez said statistics show neighborhoods with individual barrels have far fewer problems with illegal dumping, graffiti and trash fires. 

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