State health department celebrates Colorado Recycles week

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STATEWIDE — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is celebrating Colorado Recycles Week.

Colorado’s diversion rate of 15.3% lags behind other states, we are committed to achieving a 45% diversion rate by 2036. To get there, we are taking several actions to chart the course and move the needle.

  • We fund statewide waste diversion projects and provide rebates for community recycling centers through our Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity Grant Program. In 2020, the program funded 13 projects across the state for a total of $1,868,226 and gave $971,000 in rebates to support 31 community recycling centers with 84 free public drop sites.
  • A dedicated grant program specifically targeting this area through the Front Range Waste Diversion Grant Program. In the last year, the Front Range Waste Diversion Grant Program funded 14 projects for a total of $3,431,026.The program is actively soliciting projects that focus on reducing organic waste.
  • To increase the diversion rate, we must invest in creating a local demand for recycled materials to advance a circular economy, which is why we’re also supporting a third cohort of Colorado NextCycle, a program designed to boost remanufacturing solutions for recycled content in Colorado. CDPHE is now accepting applications from interested teams through Jan. 7. Businesses accepted into the program are provided individualized technical support and mentorships to refine their ideas and develop investable and shovel-ready business plans. 
  • To also advance recycling markets in Colorado, we have fully implemented all elements of Senate Bill 20-055: Incentivize Development Recycling End Markets. As authorized under this bill, we recently submitted our Producer Responsibility Literature Review and Policy Recommendations to the Colorado General Assembly. The report includes recommendations that can help inform future policy around producer responsibility programs for Colorado. The report also includes key principles of producer responsibility programs based on experience and recommendations from industry, trade organizations, and the department’s direct experience with implementing Colorado’s first producer responsibility program for the management of paint.
  • Because organic materials such as food waste and yard trimmings are the top waste streams contributing to landfills in Colorado and subsequently generate greenhouse gas emissions when disposed of in landfills, we are partnering with the Colorado Department of Agriculture and a team of experts to develop a statewide organics management plan. The plan, which will be developed with community and industry feedback, will be completed in 2022 with the goal of identifying methods to increase the collection and use of compostable materials, developing local markets to improve soil health with compost, and reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions which is generated from organic waste disposed of in landfills. 
  • We have launched a statewide information campaign, Erase the Waste, letting Coloradans know how they can help the environment through recycling. 

To make an impact at the local level, the following are some easy ways to do just that:

  1. Keep glass out of landfills. Glass food and drink containers are 100% recyclable. Your used glass can live on for many years in many useful ways. Not just as the next drinking bottle, but also as countertops, roads, tiles, and construction materials. Rinse, empty it and put it in the recycling bin every time. Join us by pledging to keep glass out of the trash at
  2. Capture your cardboard. It’s one of the easiest things to recycle. Just collapse and toss into the recycle bin.
  3. Aluminum can be recycled over and over. Aluminum foil is just as recyclable as aluminum cans as long as it’s clean and is bigger than your palm. Rinse your cans first and check with your local recycling center for any special requirements.

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