Denver residents share mixed feelings about city's new 'pay-as-you-throw' trash model

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Posted at 5:44 PM, Apr 29, 2023

DENVER – Hundreds of residents took the opportunity to exchange their trash bins and have their bills adjusted on-site at an event hosted by the city of Denver on Saturday at the Wastewater Management Building.

In January, Denver moved to a volume-based pricing model for trash collection to reduce waste the city sends to the landfill. Residents pay for what they throw based on the size of their trash cart, with weekly recycling and composting service included at no additional cost.

Residents have the option to choose between a large ($21, a month), medium ($13, a month, or small, ($9 a month) trash cart.

“To me, this is very good. It’s a good idea,” said Denver resident, Chris Apodaca, who stopped by to exchange his bin for a smaller one. “There are some weeks we don’t even fill our trash can."

Others are not too happy about the program. Ellen Jaramillo said she doesn’t like how the city has been implementing it.

“I think this is the worst idea they've had,” said Jaramillo, who adds she has had problems with this program since the beginning. “They’re billing me for a large cart, and since January 1, I’ve had a small cart.”

She stopped by the event to get help getting her bill adjusted.

The city says it swapped out more than 22,000 carts so far and increased recycling by 17% in the first quarter of the new program, diverting 1,624 more tons of recyclable material from the landfill compared to last year.

Denver residents share mixed feelings about city's new 'pay-as-you-throw' trash model

While exchanging trash carts was the main focus of the event, the city also had some recycling and compost carts available for exchange as well.

For all other cart repairs, lost/stolen cart issues, or if someone is a new resident, they can make those requests online or by calling 311 for assistance.

"We have a lot of recyclable and compostable material going to the landfill, so allowing people to choose trash cart size and take more ownership will help," said Nina Waysdorf, who is the Waste Diversion and Recycling Manager for the City and County of Denver.

She said the city will continue to deliver new trash carts to customers that request them online or by calling 311. Wait times for carts are approximately six to eight weeks. Once the cart is delivered, Denver's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) will adjust the customer's invoice based on when they made the request.

Residents can also visit the Osage facility at 2013 S. Osage St. Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., to exchange their cart.

To learn more about waste reduction, or for information on the program, including how to apply for financial assistance, you can visit the city's website.

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