Major compost changes are coming to Colorado's Front Range
Composting across much of Colorado's Front Range is about to shrink.
What's happening: Starting Saturday, A1 Organics — Colorado's largest commercial compost company — is no longer accepting paper materials or compostable packaging.
- Acceptable items for residential and commercial composting will be limited to food scraps, plant trimmings, and 3-gallon certified compostable bags.
- That means products like paper plates, pizza boxes, napkins and takeout containers should go straight to the trash.
What they're saying: In late February, A1 Organics said the switch is in response to a surge in non-compostable look-alike products as composting efforts have taken off across Denver and much of the Front Range — the region the company serves.
The other side: Denver City Councilmember Jolon Clark called the decision by A1 a "terrible idea," arguing that the company is moving in the opposite direction of city voters who have "repeatedly asked for better [trash] diversion," even at the ballot box.
- "It would appear [A1 Organics] is unwilling to agree with how Denver is growing" and would rather adopt "draconian" rules than innovate like other cities and states, including California.
- Clark said this moment provides a "great opportunity for someone in our community to step up and say, 'Hey, I'm ready to run a big city composting outfit.' And for us to contract with them."
Zoom in: The city of Denver is racing to get the word out to its 30,000 customers, many of whom are still adjusting to the city's new pay-as-you-throw-away trash system that launched in January.
- However, Denver's transportation agency, which handles trash and composting, doesn't expect the changes will have a "huge impact … given that most of what people compost at home is food waste and yard debris," spokesperson Vanessa Lacayo told Axios Denver.
- She added that A1 Organics and the city have a "shared goal to tackle contamination and create quality compost that can then be used for our Denver residents."
Of note: A spokesperson for A1 Organics did not respond to our requests for comment.
What we're watching: Whether the city renews its contract with the company, which is slated to expire on Jan. 31, 2024.
More Denver stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Denver.