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Is Colorado as green as it can be?

Posted: 5:07 PM, Jul 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-18 00:21:07Z

Editor's Note: Denver7 360 stories explore multiple sides of the topics that matter most to Coloradans, bringing in different perspectives so you can make up your own mind about the issues. To comment on this or other 360 stories, email us at  360@TheDenverChannel.com . See more 360 stories  here .  

DENVER — Colorado has a reputation for being a green state that cares about its outdoors. But are we green as we can be?

Colorado recycles only 12 percent of its waste —far less than the national average of 34 percent, according to the State of Recycling in Colorado report from CoPIRG and Eco-Cycle.

And the city-by-city analysis of recycling rates across the state shows Colorado’s biggest city continues to lag behind other cities and the rest of the country when it comes to recycling.

Loveland leads the pack among Colorado cities, with a recycling rate of 61 percent. Boulder comes in second at 53 percent.

Denver is far behind at a mere 20 percent. But some metro cities are even worse -- Westminster and Northglenn wound up at the bottom of the list with recycling rates of just 11 percent.

Here’s a city-by-city breakdown (Note: CoPIRG and Eco-Cycle only looked at the 18 cities for which recycling data is publicly available. The rates only include residential recycling):

  • Loveland – 61%
  • Boulder – 53%
  • Louisville – 48%
  • Lafayette – 38%
  • Longmont – 35%
  • Golden – 34%
  • Lyons – 33%
  • Fort Collins – 30%
  • Greenwood Village – 28%
  • Superior – 22%
  • Denver – 20%
  • Sheridan – 18%
  • Thornton – 18%
  • Lone Tree – 17%
  • Commerce City – 16%
  • Arvada – 13%
  • Northglenn – 11%
  • Westminster – 11%

Charlotte Pitt oversee's Denver's recycling program. She knows it needs work.

“We really look at how we can get our recycling and composting rates up," Pitt said.

In her view, the city is making progress. She points to its new education and composing program.

The report includes several suggestions for boosting recycling rates, including better tracking of data, expanding curbside recycling and composting programs, removing barriers to recycling such as cost, and ensuring that apartment buildings and businesses can recycle just as easily as single-family homes.