Oct 17, 2022 - News

1-minute voter guide: Denver's Initiated Ordinance 306 on recycling

Denver composting and recycling bins pictured in 2008. Photo: Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Initiated Ordinance 306, dubbed Waste No More, aims to hold Denver's largest contributors to the city's trash stream accountable in an effort to combat climate change.

Details: If adopted, the measure would require Denver businesses — including airports, event venues, restaurants, hospitals and hotels — as well as special events, to offer compost and recycling services starting in 2023.

  • Under the ordinance, food trucks and construction companies also would be required to more sustainably dispose of waste materials, from grease and oils to concrete and scrap metal.

Of note: Denver's transportation department would be responsible for determining rules and fines for noncompliance.

  • The cost of implementation for the city is estimated at roughly $2 million, with annual ongoing costs ranging between $1 million-$1.87 million.

What they're saying: "This isn't making people create more waste. This is waste people are already creating, and we're diverting it," supporter Ean Tafoya, who is running for Denver mayor, told the Denver Post.

The other side: Opponents of the measure, including leaders in the apartment industry, share concerns over how the initiative would work and the extra costs associated. They worry the program would be too onerous to be managed by the city, which currently struggles to consistently pick up residential trash.

  • Critics also question what the process would be for ensuring bins for composted and recycled materials aren't contaminated.
  • The costs to comply with the city's requirements could push businesses to pass the additional costs to consumers, like increasing rent and condominium fees, opponents say.

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