Mayor Hancock’s Solid Waste Management Master Plan

Dear Resident –

In Denver, we take pride in our city. Whether it’s cleaning the riverbanks, making our homes energy efficient or conserving by watering our lawns less – I see residents taking significant steps to uplift this community every day.

As a community, we constantly strive to improve the quality of life here, thinking not only of today but of generations we may never meet. To keep Denver healthy, clean and beautiful, I am excited to reenergize the city’s Master Plan for Managing Solid Waste next year.

About 75 percent of what Denver residents are throwing away can actually be composted or recycled. We are too conscientious of a community to continue on that path.

The strategies laid out in the solid waste plan aim to make it simple and easy for Denver residents to recycle and compost while significantly reducing what gets thrown away. Our target, set out in our 2020 Sustainability Goals, is to reduce by 20 percent the waste disposed of in landfills.

One approach we are taking is to encourage residents to use a three cart system – black trash, purple recycling and green compost carts.

To reignite this work, which was stalled by the recession, the city will be undertaking its biggest conversion in collection methods in 15 years by transitioning 20,000 homes from dumpsters and manual trash barrels to black trash carts. Beginning in mid-2014, this move will help reduce illegal dumping while cleaning up our streets, alleys and neighborhoods.

We will also be expanding the composting collection service in January to double the number of people eligible to participate. In addition, we will be working to expand participation in the Denver Recycles program.

And that is just the beginning. I am assembling a group of city staff, solid waste experts, and community and city council members who will work to put the next steps in place for further implementation of the solid waste plan into our neighborhoods.

My administration also continues to work with Councilwoman Debbie Ortega to explore policies to address plastic bag waste. I believe it is critical to consider other plastic bag litter and waste diversion solutions that will not impose a fee for the use of a material that makes up a relatively small portion of our overall solid waste. We must stay focused on solutions that empower residents – solutions that are right for Denver.

Together, we can ensure the city’s resources are affordable and available for all residents now and in the future. I ask that you stand with us as we embark on a new chapter of sustainability for Denver.

Michael B. Hancock

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