Denver Trash: What You Should Know

Whether you are new to Denver or have lived in the city your whole life, it is important to be up-to-date on the latest in Denver trash policies and news. Here is a comprehensive list of what you need to know about waste in Denver.

Opportunities to be green in Denver

Recycling bin

Recycling bin in Denver

By 2020, the city of Denver wants to increase the rate of recycling in communities by at least 34%. However, the recycling rate of Colorado is a mere 12%. Because of this, Denver is making it easier for residents to implement greener practices when it comes to waste disposal.

  1. Take advantage of composting services 
    1. First of all, neighborhoods in Denver are all eligible to receive composting services. As of April 1, 2019, there were 18,486 people signed up for the composting program. Signing up for the composting program is easy! Check out the City of Denver’s website to help keep Colorado green!
      1. Composting is a simple way to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste that ends up in dumps. For more on composting check out this blog post that covers the basics on how to start!
  2. Recycle
    1. Believe it or not, about 95% of the items you throw away could be recycled, according to experts. In other words, a HUGE amount of recyclable items end up at the dump. So, if you have not taken advantage of the recycling programs in Denver, now is the time to start. Signing up is simple and can be done quickly online. Above all, don’t get overwhelmed by the thought of recycling. Recycling is easily incorporated in to the everyday routine for most people. Here are just of the things you can recycle:
      1. Aluminum cans
      2. Glass bottles
      3. Plastic bottles
      4. Cardboard boxes
      5. Newspaper
      6. Paper towels tubes
      7. Pizza boxes
      8. Magazines
      9. Paper cups
      10. Shampoo bottles
      11. And much more!

Use the correct dumpster size

The city of Denver offers three trash bin sizes. The smallest holds 45 gallons, or about 2-3 tall kitchen trash bags. The largest is 95 gallons, which holds 7 – 8 tall kitchen trash bags. The most popular size is the 65-gallon trash than holds 4-5 bags. Do you have the right size bin for your needs? Here are some things to consider:

  • If you notice that your trash bin is typically half-full when it is time to take it out for collection, it may be too large for your needs. Consider having it replaced with a smaller option.
  • If you are normally not able to close the lid on trash collection day, your bin is probably too small for your needs.
  • Some trash companies charge less for smaller bins. Smaller bins can save you money and space.
  • If your trash bin is full of recyclable items such as cardboard boxes, milk jugs, newspaper, glass bottles, etc., take advantage of the recycling program the city of Denver offers. You may find you actually need a smaller bin size than you think.

Denver residents can request a new dumpster size by calling 720-913-1311

Take out trash the correct way

dumpsters lined up next to each other

Example of correct placement of dumpsters

Taking out your trash the right way will not only help the trash crews but will also ensure that the process is seamless and efficient.

  • Get your trash out early. The city of Denver requires trash bins to be out by 7am the morning of collection.Therefore,  if you are not an early riser or want to make life easier, set the bin out the night before.
  • Location matters. Believe it or not, dumpster placement is very important. Denver requires at least 2 feet of clearance around each side of the bin. Be sure items like poles, cars, fences, or other trash items are not blocking the way.
    1. The trucks used to collect trash are equipped with special arm that easily lifts the bin and empties it in to the truck. With your help, trash collection can be easy and efficient with bins that are placed correctly.
  • Bag the trash. Bagging your trash reduces litter that may escape during pick-up.
  • Close the lid. This might not always be possible, but if you are unable to close the lid consistently, it may be time for a bigger size.
  • Don’t compact your trash. Leave this part to the dump. Bags should be easily moved from the bin to the trash truck. If the bin is too full bags may get stuck or not come out even when the bin is tipped over. This can cause crews to get backed up because they may have to manually pull out the bags.
  • Look out for overhangs. If the trash bin bin is not easily accessible or covered by an overhang, it won’t be easy for a trash crew to collect it. Therefore, it is important the bin has plenty of space around and above it for pick up.

Know when the trash is not coming

Sometimes a holiday will delay trash pick-up. Usually it will only be delayed by one day. For instance, if a holiday falls on a Monday and trash is usually picked up on Mondays, it will be picked up on Tuesday instead. Therefore, Tuesday trash will be picked up on Wednesday, and so on.

  1. Holidays that will affect trash pick-up:
    • New Year’s Day – Monday, January 1, 2019
    • Martin Luther King Jr. Day– Monday, January 21, 2019
    • Presidents’ Day– Monday, February 18th, 2019
    • Cesar Chavez Day– Monday, March 25, 2019 (observed)
    • Memorial Day – Monday, May 27, 2019
    • Independence Day– Thursday, July 4, 2019
    • Labor Day– Monday, September 2, 2019
    • Thanksgiving Day– Thursday, November 28, 2019
    • Christmas Day – Wednesday, December 25, 2019
    • New Year’s Day: Wednesday, January 1, 2020
    • Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Monday, January 20, 2020
    • Cesar Chavez Day: Tuesday, March 31, 2020
    • Memorial Day: Monday, May 25, 2020
    • Independence Day: Saturday, July 4, 2020
    • Labor Day: Monday, September 7, 2020

Large appliance pick-up

Denver provides large trash pick-up to their residents. It is easy schedule a pick-up online or by calling 1-800-479-4159

  1. Appliances that are acceptable include:
      • Refrigerators
      • Washers and dryers
      • Hot water heaters
      • Stoves/Ovens
      • Dishwashers
      • Microwaves
      • Freezers
      • Furnaces

Helpful phone numbers

Finally use the phone numbers below for additional questions or concerns about Denver trash and recycling:

    • Denver Help Line: Dial 311
    • Outside Denver? Dial: 720-913-1311
    • TTY Service: 720-913-8479