BY MICHAEL ELLIS

There’s no better way to take part in Compost Awareness Week (in the month of May) than by signing up for compost service in Denver! All neighborhoods citywide are now eligible for compost collection service – Denver Public Works has expanded its program this year to help increase Denver’s current recycling and compost rate of 22% to 34% by 2020.

Residents who sign up for the Denver Composts program will receive a large green compost cart and a two-gallon kitchen pail to collect organic material like food, non-recyclable paper and yard debris for composting. Denver Public Works has found that 19% of what most residents throw away is food waste, while 17% is yard debris, 40% of food in America is wasted and the average family of four throws away close to $1500 worth of food each year.

Composting this organic material is so much more than just reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfill. Composting prevents methane production, a powerful greenhouse gas. In addition, composting also helps produce a valuable product that increases overall soil quality and reduces the need for synthetic fertilizers.

The Denver Composts program is a fee-based service and residents have two options for payment: a quarterly payment plan of $29.25 every three months or a one-time payment of $107 for the entire year. (There is a discount for paying annually.) Some of our neighbors share the cost and the bin. This is a great option for smaller families and single residents.

There are about 176,000 eligible homes in Denver, and currently only about 15,000 of those households participate in the Denver Composts program. Which is astonishing to us, since the program is seriously so easy! Simply put your organic material in the green cart and set it out for collection each week. Do your part to send less waste to the landfill. More than 50% of what the average Denver households put in the trash is organic material.

If this sounds like reason enough for you, it is simply a phone call away. Denver residents can call 311 to sign up for service for the new routes or go to denvergov.org/compost. Denver Public Works will deliver the compost carts at the end of the month, and then start collection the following month.

Kim Kobernusz, long term Wash Park resident has been with the program since its pilot in 2014. “Since our family introduced composting to our everyday routine, we have noticed a significant decrease in our waste. Our family of four only discards one trash bag per week, because the majority of our waste can either be composted or recycled.” The same goes for our household, so just imagine the impact if every house on the block began composting. With that in mind, we would love to see a wave of green bins in our alley ways before the end of the summer. It can be done!

For more information on the Denver Composts program, please visit denvergov.org/compost.

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