Last night, Denver City Council voted to change Denver’s trash service to a volume-based pricing model. Bill 22-0685 repeals the fee on composting and implements a volume-based pricing system for trash, and includes recycling and composting services at no extra charge. I voted to support this change because my office receives requests from District 5 residents for weekly recycling all the time. And, in 2021, climate change was ranked the fourth-highest issue of concern among respondents in our Annual District 5 survey behind Crime, Traffic, and Housing Affordability. Over the past couple of months I heard from many District 5 residents who are concerned about the cost of this change; however, I also heard from numerous residents who support volume-based-pricing because of the positive benefits that it will create for our community. Please read below for specific information on why I supported this change. You can also find more information by clicking here to view Solid Waste’s website. In the end, I supported this ordinance because it is the right thing to do for our planet and future generations of Denverites. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our office with your feedback.
Gratefully, Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer District 5
Free Weekly Recycling
The ordinance creates weekly recycling for Denver residents who live in single family homes. Denver’s current recycling rate for single family homes is 26%. That is abysmally low compared to other cities of our size across the country. We must take action to divert more recyclable and compostable products from our landfill. Weekly recycling is the logical starting point for that effort. Without weekly recycling, I would not have supported this ordinance; but because the data clearly indicate that weekly recycling will successfully raise the amount of waste we divert from the landfill, this service change makes sense to achieve our climate goals.
Free Weekly Composting
Volume-based pricing also provides for free weekly composting for all Denver residents who live in single family homes. I signed up for composting last year so that I could determine for my own family whether composting actually reduces the amount of trash we produced. It did. Through the volume savings that weekly recycling and composting will provide, many residents should be able to reduce the size of their trash cans by at least one size, reducing the cost. Additionally, if you are a resident who pays for compost now and uses the smallest size trash bin, volume-based pricing will actually be 75 cents cheaper per month. And, we’re not losing any services with this change, so things like large item pickup will remain. Affordability Program
I also supported this change to our trash service because the cost structure acknowledges the financial challenges this change might create for some residents. City staff worked hard to find a solution to this issue, and created an affordability program for lower-income residents that is the first of its kind in the country. The prices charged for these services by the City are also lower than any commercial hauler that offers service along the front range.
Finally, our current system is unfair. This ordinance change creates a system where trash, recycling, and compost are treated like all other utilities, which is a standard best practice in cities across the country. As it stands now, residents in apartments and condominiums larger than seven units pay property taxes in addition to paying for trash services in their monthly rent or HOA dues. The reason Denver doesn’t offer trash service for commercial and larger buildings is because a Colorado State Law prohibits any city in Colorado from servicing those buildings and businesses. The outcome is that residents in condos and apartments are subsidizing trash service for single family residences. That’s simply not fair, and it isn’t a sustainable financial model for our city moving forward. View as Webpage
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