NewsCovering Colorado


Despite its beauty, Colorado isn’t very good at recycling and composting

Posted at 7:41 AM, Nov 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-14 09:41:05-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Governor Jared Polis has declared this week as Colorado Recycles Week. It’s a time to promote recycling, zero-waste programs and keeping the planet green.

Despite its beauty, Colorado isn’t very good at recycling and composting. The most recent State of Recycling and Composting in Colorado Report found Coloradans buried about 5.9 million tons of materials into landfills in 2020.

The same report found Colorado’s statewide recycling rate is just 15%. That is less than half of the national recycling and composting rate of 32%.

While Colorado does have a plan to improve its recycling, numbers show the state is behind on that plan. The state intended to recycle 28% of its waste last year but failed. Looking ahead, Colorado plans to recycle 35% of its waste by 2026 and 45% of its waste by 2036.

I spoke with Chesney Thompson, an environmental expert at the Catamount Institute, a nonprofit that works to help our city become more sustainable through education. She says Colorado Recycles Week is a good time to remind people about the importance of recycling.

“It is so important to recycle because there are so many materials that go into every product that we purchase and every single product that we use, and when you think about it, all is single-use, and it’s constantly going into landfills and just being completely wasted,” said Thompson. “Recycling comes into play as so, so key and important in making sure that we can be a more sustainable society and all work together collaboratively, I know it seems weird, but recycling is a mutual thing that everyone has to work on in order to improve our waste.”

Chesney went on to say education is key to helping our state reach its recycling goals. Right now, the city of Colorado Springs is working to improve how it understands recycling. The state has issued Colorado Springs $350,000 to study how the city handles waste.

The study will also help the city develop better relationships with local waste companies since waste and recycling in Colorado Springs is completely private.

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