Jun 13, 2022 - News

What Denver will need for new trash pickup

Illustration of a recycling symbol made of dollar bills.
Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

With the pay-as-you-throw proposal moving forward, the city has work to do before the system becomes reality.

State of play: Denver residents currently don't directly pay for their trash pickup. The service is covered by the city's budget, which is funded by taxes. This change would be a fundamental shift for something most people use every day without considering its costs.

  • The new system would give people three options, costing from $9 a month for the smallest bin up to $21 for the largest.
  • The proposal would provide free composting and weekly recycling.
  • The city's current system costs about $25 million a year.

By the numbers: To implement the new proposal, the city would need to add 15 trucks and 22 drivers.

  • Department of Transportation and Infrastructure spokesperson Nancy Khun said the new system would be rolled out in a phased approach starting in 2023.

What they're saying: Khun said the city is "confident" it can implement the proposal and expand collection services to help improve its trash diversion rate.

Yes, but: Some Denver City Council members, who will have the final say on the proposal, aren't convinced it's a good idea.

  • "This is the wrong time to ask people for another $220 a year," council member Kevin Flynn told Axios Denver.
  • Flynn doesn't support the proposal, and said a majority of his constituents in far southwest Denver don't either.
  • Other council members believe the city needs to do a better job of informing the public.

What's next: The proposal will be up for a final City Council vote on June 27.

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