After watching a segment on Denver Composting on the PBS News hour, I have been obsessing about how I can start composting without actually having to manage a composting bin myself. I have to admit my attempt at a home compost bin was aborted as soon as I saw a rat scurrying around the area. So why does Denver have a composting program and Greenwood Village does not? After contacting GWV, I learned the reason: budget.
Since trash and recycling costs are part of our city taxes, we feel like we have a free service and people are not willing to spend more for composting. Denver charges just $10/month for its service and has only 13% participation. That sounds like a bargain to me because outside of Denver, we have to contract independently and pay a lot more with a much smaller collection bin.
So here are some reminders on why this service may be a great way to conserve our resources and have a tremendous impact on the environment. If you look at the landfill in Denver, 25% is recyclable and 50% is compostable. That is a 75% reduction in waste right off the bat. When organic material is mixed into the landfill, it generates a tremendous amount of methane gas, which is 26 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Landfills are the single largest contributor of US generated methane emissions. We as a country generate 40-million tons of food waste and only 6% is composted. By using this amended organic material into our soil, it will help our ever-decreasing topsoil layer build back the nutrients that we have been robbing from the earth.
Is this an incentive to separate food and organic materials? I hope so! Denver and Boulder are two of a handful cities that offer a curbside composting services – let’s use it!
For those of you looking for contract services for composting services outside of Denver, check out Compost Colorado, and Wompost.
Also, click here if you want to watch the PBS segment on Denver Composting.
What can I compost? Check out this guide.