November 18, 2021
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Cathy Hall, Solid Waste Director, (970) 429-2882, Cathy.Hall@PitkinCounty.com
Pitkin County’s Waste Diversion and Recycling Rate Remains One of the Highest in the State
Pitkin County, CO- Pitkin County remains at the top of the list for waste diversion and recycling in the State of Colorado with a 38% recycling rate. The fifth annual State of Recycling & Composting in Colorado Report was released on November 15th, coinciding with America Recycles Day.
The report takes into account the amount of waste diverted from the municipal solid waste stream, which is the everyday garbage generated by households and businesses. Pitkin County’s waste diversion stream includes keeping curbside recyclables, books, mattresses, electronic waste, and textiles. The biggest contributor to the County’s diversion rate is the composting program; the County composted nearly 13,000 tons of material in 2020.
Cathy Hall, Pitkin County Solid Waste Director, said “we are extraordinarily proud of our waste diversion rate, especially because we have the extra challenge of getting most of our recyclables over to Denver for processing. To have one of the highest recycling rates in the State with the distances we have to go is a big accomplishment.”
Materials diverted from the construction and demolition waste stream are not included in the annual report, but are nonetheless a priority at the Pitkin County Solid Waste Center. The County launched a construction and demolition diversion ordinance in 2020. The ordinance requires recycling or reusing 25% of materials from construction and demolition projects in unincorporated Pitkin County. The County currently has a 71% diversion rate of construction and demolition materials, far exceeding the 25% goal.
The State of Recycling & Composting in Colorado Report also contains some discouraging news. Colorado’s 2020 waste diversion rate was 15.3%, failing to improve over recent years and remaining well below the national average of 32%. In 2020, Coloradans buried over 5.9 million tons of materials in the state’s landfills that could have been reintroduced into the economy as recycled materials for manufacturing and as compost to rebuild local soils.
“While a handful of cities and towns continue to lead the way, Colorado’s bottom-of-the-barrel recycling rate is an embarrassment,” stated Suzanne Jones, Executive Director of Eco-Cycle. “Our 15% state diversion rate means we aren’t providing equitable access to recycling services for residents across the state and instead are burying millions of dollars of recyclables and hundreds of green jobs in the landfill each year. It’s time to transform our recycling system to benefit our people, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, and generate profit.”
“While Pitkin County leads the state, we still have a lot of work to do to capture the remaining recyclables and organic waste still buried in the landfill on a daily basis,” said Hall. “The launch of the Motherlode Mercantile in 2022 will be the next step in diverting more waste from the landfill.”
For more information on Pitkin County recycling and waste diversion programs, visit www.LandfillRules.com or call at 970-429-2880.