According to a recently published report, Denver’s recycling rate is 18%. The national average is 34%. Shocking, considering how “green” and “outdoorsy” Denver likes to portray itself.
The report comes courtesy of two nonprofits, Eco-Cycle and Colorado Public Interest Research Group, whose director Danny Katz told CBS, “One of the biggest reasons for that is we’re just not offering the services that Denver residents need and want.”
Scrolling down through the article one quickly arrives at what Katz is talking about. In Denver, about 82% of households recycle. Huh? So how is the rate so low? Turns out, apartment buildings fall under “commercial recycling,” meaning they’re not included in the city’s recycling service.
I probably should have realized this, because when I briefly lived at the Lex at Lowry (or the “absorption center” as it’s laughingly referred to) recycling was done by a private company. From looking at the low overall recycling rate, I am deducing that not every apartment building owner is spending the extra money providing recycling services.
If Denver, and the Hancock administration, truly want to increase recycling rates, the solution seems simple: Provide recycling services to apartment buildings.
I can’t figure out why residential properties are considered commercial when it comes to recycling — especially after speaking last week to a residential property owner who told me that apartment buildings’ property taxes are assessed at residential rates. Why should a renter of a single family home have access to public services that an apartment dweller does not?
If Denver’s wants to keep being seen as “green,” it’s going to have to back it up with real policies and programs.
Recycling for all Denver residents seems a good place to start.
Shana Goldberg may be reached at email@example.com
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