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Pay-As-You-Throw & Universal Recycling

Town of Breckenridge and the broader Summit County community are considering changes to trash and recycling service. Summit County's current recycling rate is 20%, which is well below both the state and national average. This means 80% of the waste we produce is landfilled, and our landfill is slated to close in 2056 at our current pace.

Enter: Pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) and Universal Recycling. These are two programs that have proven to increase recycling. PAYT is in place in over 7,500 communities across the U.S. In Colorado, PAYT communities include Vail, Durango, Pitkin County, Carbondale, Aspen, Boulder, Ft. Collins and additional Front Range towns. Many PAYT communities have recycling rates between 33% and 38%, compared with Summit County’s low recycling rate of just 20%. The Town of Vail doubled its recycling rate with PAYT and Universal Recycling Programs!

So what do these two programs entail?

Pay as You Throw (PAYT) - Applies to those with an individual bin for curbside trash collection

Pay as You Throw incentivizes recycling through a utility model similar to how you pay for electricity– the more trash generated, the more a person pays for service. PAYT applies to residents with curbside trash collection with individual bins/carts (see picture at top of page).

  • Recycling service will be included with all trash service.

  • Residents will be offered three different bin sizes for trash collection, with the smallest bin costing the least. The new program will provide an economic incentive to waste less and recycle more. In our current system, residents pay a flat rate for trash services with an additional fee for recycling, so there is no incentive to reduce waste.

  • Residents will continue to use the same trash/recycling providers that they currently utilize.

  • Estimated program start is in early 2023.

Universal Recycling - Applies to all commercial entities and HOAs with dumpsters for trash service

Universal Recycling increases recycling by giving access to recycling to all local residents and businesses. This program will apply to businesses and residents that share dumpsters for trash and/or recycling service. With Universal Recycling, all residents and businesses that have trash collection must also have single-stream recycling service.

  • For businesses that have a liquor license – including restaurants and bars – glass recycling collection will also be required. Recycling collection will need to be 50% (by volume) of trash service.

  • There will also be additional requirements for public spaces and hotels.

  • Estimated program start is early 2023 with a phase-in period during the next 18-24 months.

*Please note: these programs will not apply to residents who do not have trash service at their homes.

Community Feedback

Our partners at the High Country Conservation Center have been helping us engage and get input from the community through a series of public forums, as well as an online survey.

Frequently Asked Questions:

And In case you missed the public forums, you can watch the recordings below:


Universal Recycling:

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