Denver Recycles Roundup

January 18, 2021 / Comments Off on Denver Recycles Roundup

Community Updates Composting & Recycling Sustainability

Editor’s Note: Denver Recycles’ Roundup is a monthly news column written by Denver Recycles, a program of Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Solid Waste Management division. The column includes updates on seasonal and ongoing programs of the City and County of Denver’s residential recycling program. Editors are invited to publish all or part of the column, but we request that major edits are reviewed by our staff to ensure accuracy. Questions may be directed to Denver Recycles at 303-446-3557.

Give Thanks and Save the Food! The team at Denver Recycles is very thankful to have such an amazing community of recyclers and composters in Denver. Did you know that nearly 15% of Denver households are voluntarily opting to participate in the Denver Composts program and helping to keep food scraps and yard debris out of the landfill? We’re thrilled with the growth that we’ve seen in this program and want to acknowledge that we can’t do what we do without all of you. This Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for you!

As a small token of our thanks and gratitude, we’ve put together a list of tips and resources that will help your home save money and get the most out of Thanksgiving (and your leftovers). After all, the flip side of not being able to gather with large groups of friends and family means that there’s potential for even more leftovers!

Here are some tips for not letting leftovers go to waste: Be realistic. Use the Guest-imator tool to plan for your small group size this year (don’t worry – the tool lets you account for the desired ratio of food to leftovers).Clean and organize your fridge now. Your future self will thank you.Stock up on clear storage containers (these can be new or repurposed jars, tubs, etc.). If you can see your leftovers, you’ll be less likely to forget about them.Label containers. The more organized, the better.Go easy on the post-Thanksgiving grocery shopping and plan to eat leftovers. As needed, stock up on ingredients that will pair nicely with your leftovers.Make turkey stock and then compost your turkey carcass.Visit for more ideas and inspiration for reducing food waste!When you no longer trust your leftovers to be safe and delicious to consume, trust your senses to make the call. Your sense of smell and taste are some of the best tools for determining whether food is still edible. If no longer edible, be sure to compost spoiled discards. After all, every onion peel and celery top counts, so don’t let your spoiled leftovers, turkey bones, or veggie trimmings waste away in the landfill. Compost them instead! The Denver Compostsprogram accepts all types of food scraps (including prepared foods, meat, bones, and dairy products). And, the kitchen compost pail delivered with each new Denver Composts cart is perfectly sized for being a countertop companion during meal prep and for scraping plates after your meal.

Each new Denver Composts customer receives a kitchen compost pail, which is perfect for collecting prep scraps and plate waste.Not a Denver Composts customer? Learn how to become one at

For more information about all programs and services offered by Denver Recycles, please visit us at or call 311 (720-913-1311).

America Recycles Day is November 15 Do you know where your recyclables go after you toss them in your purple cart? In honor of America Recycles Day, we figure there’s no better time than now to take a deep dive into where Denver’s recyclables end up after they’re placed in your purple recycle cart. After all, placing your bottles, cardboard, cartons, and cans in a recycle cart is just the first step in the process of turning our discards into new products.

For starters, Denver’s purple carts are emptied by Denver Solid Waste Management employees. It’s hard to believe, but our truck drivers and crew members empty nearly 23,000 recycle carts each day (90,000 per week), which equated to over 40,000 tons (80 million pounds) of recyclables collected last year.  Once collection carts are emptied, the recyclables are taken to what is called a material recovery facility (‘MRF’ for short, pronounced “murf”). In Denver, the MRF is operated by GFL Environmental, which employs both people and sophisticated equipment (including the recycling industry’s first robot!) to separate all our bottles from cans and cardboard from paper, etc. Once separated into ‘like’ materials, these items are baled and then sold to companies that use the material to manufacture new products. The Recycle Cycle video, linked below, does a great job of showing this process. Be sure to check it out! VIDEO: The Recycle Cycle While the destination of recyclable materials from Denver’s carts does change through time, below is a quick summary of where materials could be going next. Glass: Colorado, turned back into bottles right here in Colorado! Steel: Midwest Aluminum: Midwest and Southeast, turned back into beverage cans Paper: Asia, often turned into boxboard (such as tissue or cereal boxes) Cardboard: Midwest Cartons: Midwest, turned into tissues Mixed Plastic: Canada, turned into railroad ties HDPE Plastic (#2): Midwest or South, turned into piping, packaging, and/or pellets PET (#1): Midwest, turned into carpet and synthetic textiles Polypropylene (#5): Southeast, turned into plastic paint cans, and/or pellets. This America Recycles Day (and every day for that matter), continue recycling all items accepted by Denver Recycles. And, consider taking your recycling efforts to the next level by purchasing products made from ‘post-consumer recycled content.’ Both actions are equally important in reducing our impact on the environment and supporting efforts that keep valuable resources out of our landfills.

For more information about all Solid Waste Management programs and services, visit  or call 311 (720-913-1311).