The teams at Eco-Cycle and CoPIRG have jointly released the 6th annual State of Recycling and Composting in Colorado report showing little to no change in statewide recycling rates over the past year. Leading communities for recycling diversion have five common elements of success:
Universal curbside recycling programs provided alongside trash carts, at no additional charge to residents
Volume-based pricing for trash that encourages recycling and sometimes composting
Convenient drop-off centers or curbside programs for food and/or yard debris
Strong education programs
Dedicated staff and funding for waste diversion infrastructure, services and programs.
Locally, the towns of Breckenridge and Frisco adopted Pay-As-You-Throw and Universal Recycling ordinances that will create economic incentives to reduce trash and recycle more, making them communities more in line with Colorado recycling leaders. Those programs will roll out in 2023.
Despite the grim news statewide, 2022 will be remembered as the year Colorado took bold steps toward becoming a national leader in recycling—not yet as measured by our recycling rate, but rather as a leader in recycling policy. Colorado is poised to at least double its recycling rate thanks to local actions in communities like Breckenridge and Frisco, and nation-leading state actions, including the passage of a transformational Producer Responsibility policy for recycling packaging and paper and legislation to create a Circular Economy Development Center, which will support businesses that use recycled materials to make new products.