How to make a great recycling city even better? That was the question Denver Public Works took on this year with The Recycling Partnership, a national nonprofit organization that applies corporate partner funding to improve the recycling system in cities and towns across the nation, thus increasing supplies of clean materials for manufacturing.
Over the next three months, The Recycling Partnership will work with Denver Public Works to increase the city’s already notable ability to recover materials. Denver’s residential recycling program is already outperforming the national average in terms of quality of material collected, but there is more material to be recovered.
The goal of the pilot is to find the best way to increase the amount of recyclables residents put in their purple carts, starting with a focus on aluminum and steel cans. Together with Denver Public Works , The Recycling Partnership will implement an education program on four pilot routes. On-the-ground recycling experts will tag trash carts with an information card that instructs residents to put cans in their recycling carts. Residents will also receive the message through mailers, signs, and social media. Success will be measured by the escalation in the number of steel and aluminum cans coming from the pilot routes, which are infinitely recyclable.
“We plan to use this project to help increase our citywide recycling rate from 20 percent to our 2020 goal of 34 percent,” said Charlotte Pitt, Manager at Denver’s Solid Waste Management. “This will not only benefit our residents and our environment, but keeping recyclable material out of the landfill will also save at least $1 million in landfill fees .”
“We are excited to be working with the committed residents and city officials in Denver,” says Keefe Harrison, CEO of The Recycling Partnership. “The standard of residential service is already excellent, but there’s always room for improvement. Success in boosting Denver’s recycling performance will not only help locally, it will provide communities across America with the tools and proof points they need to make the most of their programs.”
A number of The Recycling Partnership’s 30 funding partners have a strong presence in Colorado, and are committed to making the most of local recycling. “Corporations are increasingly interested in achieving far-reaching sustainability goals, and recycling is a direct path to healthier communities, more jobs and climate action,” says Harrison. “Companies with a local presence, like Ball Corporation, Anheuser Busch, and DanoneWave, are dedicated to directly supporting recycling in Denver, while also building the circular economy.”
The Recycling Partnership is the only organization in the country that engages the full recycling supply chain: from the corporations that manufacture products and packaging, to local government charged with recycling, to industry end markets, haulers, material recovery facilities, and converters, positively effecting recycling at every step in the process and transforming recycling in towns all across America. Between 2015 and today, The Recycling Partnership has assisted more than 420 communities with tools, resources and technical support. It has provided 400,000 recycling carts, reached 17 million households, and helped companies invest more than $27 million in recycling infrastructure. In doing so, it has achieved results in the form of: 382 million gallons of water saved, 164,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas avoidance, reductions in targeted contamination rates, and an energy savings of 2.0 trillion BTU / year. For more information about The Recycling Partnership and its work in Denver and around the country, visit www.recyclingpartnership.org
Denver Recycles, a program of Denver Public Works Solid Waste Management, provides every-other-week recycling collection, and limited access weekly composting collection to single family homes (seven or fewer units) within the City and County of Denver. Denver Recycles also provides an array of special services, seasonal programs, and resources to aid residents in recycling and composting as much as possible. In 2016, Denver residents successfully recycled and composted more than 46,000 tons of waste. For more information about recycling and composting in Denver visit www.DenverGov.org/DenverRecycles.