Report says Denver and Colorado lag behind in recycling rates

DENVER – Tuesday marks “America Recycles Day” in the U.S., but a new report says Colorado in general and Denver, in particular, aren’t doing a very good job of recycling themselves.

The report, authored by workers for the CoPIRG Foundation and Eco-Cycle, two environmental companies, says the state recycling rate is just 12 percent, compared to 35 percent nationally.

The report says Denver fares just better than the state average, recycling 18 percent of its waste.

But it sits far behind other municipalities in Colorado’s Front Range: Loveland has a 61 percent recycling rate; Boulder’s sits at 54 percent and Louisville recycles at a 48 percent rate.

Just Westminster (11 percent) and Thornton (14 percent) have recycling rates worse than Denver’s, according to the report.

And nationally, Denver lags behind other cities of similar size. Fresno, California has a rate of 71 percent; Seattle’s is at 64 percent and Phoenix even has a better rate, at 20 percent.

The report points to a lack of access to recycling services for people living in apartments and condos – as do many of the city-dwellers in Denver.

But it says that businesses often don’t have recycling services and points to the city’s trash rate system as a reason some people don’t have incentive to recycle.

People are required to request recycling services in Denver, and the report says that 23 percent of single-dwelling homes don’t have a bin for recycling.

However, the city’s goal is to have a bin at every single-family home by 2018, according to its 2015 annual report.

The report calls on the city to set a zero-waste goal. It currently has a goal of upping its recycling rate to 34 percent by 2020.

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