Help Denver make the switch to composting.
Help Denver make the switch to composting.
In recent years, recycling has become a less effective solution to reducing waste. Composting is a better alternative that Denver needs to adopt in order to reduce their waste production.
China’s Anti-pollution Campaign
At the start of this year, China started its broad anti pollution campaign which vastly limits the amount of garbage it will receive from foreign governments. A problem for the US as it exports a majority of its trash and recyclables to China and now has nowhere but landfills to move the recyclables to.
As a result many recycling companies now must send their recyclables to landfills. For instance a whopping 6.3 billion metric tons of plastics have become waste with only nine percent being recycled and the rest incinerated or dumped in landfills. These companies have to now pay to get rid of their recyclables, and have no incentive to keep recycling; everyday citizens are now bearing the burden of that payment through increased prices as these companies try to make ends meet.
Waste in Recycling
Aspiration recycling poses yet another problem facing the US. This means that we tend to recycle things that we hope are recyclable. We found that frequently, a metric ton of recycled product may be wasted if it contains even 0.5% food contaminant. Two-thirds of what actually makes it to the recycling facilities ends up being turned over to landfills or burned.
Growing up, practicing recycling was ingrained into our everyday life. It was therefore a disappointment to learn that not every business or facility encourages or practices recycling. For instance my apartment complex does not even offer recycling to its inhabitants: Unfortunately a common occurrence in Colorado. Other apartment complexes make it hard to even practice recycling due to charging a fee that most inhabitants won’t pay.
What is Composting?
Composting is a method of recycling in which organic wastes are turned into compost which can then be used as fertilizer for plants.
Composting is Easier Than You May Think.
While composting may be foreign to most people, it is easier than you think. Hundreds of everyday items that are normally thrown away or put in the recycle are easily compostable. If we compost instead, we could reduce the amount of recyclables ending up in landfills or incinerated. You can compost anything from lawn clippings to paper or even to latex balloons. Many companies are starting to make other products compostable such as plastics.
Where it’s worked
Many cities around the country have made efforts to explain their composting programs and have been met with great success. Boise, Idaho exceeded expectations when it offered free composting to its residents. It's one composting plant designed to only take in 95 tons of waste a day has already went far past that and takes in 112 tons a day. After the compost is ready it then gets sold to private business or given back to Boise residents. The best part about it’s composting program is that it completely pays for itself. If Denver made efforts for a similar system we could also see excellent results.
Where Denver Stands
Colorado prides itself on being a green state with its green initiative campaigns, but falls far short of recycling rates comparatively. While the national average for recycling hovers around 35%, Denver’s average recycling rate in 2018 was 18%. According to Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s budget plan for the city of Denver in 2019 it would increase the recycling and compost budgets to 2.2 million. We should expand Denver’s recycling and compost budget to 4 million in 2020 in order to boost the use of compost bins across Denver.
What We Hope to Achieve
While at first we would need to increase the budget to kick start compost programs, the ability to sell nutrient rich compost back to the farmlands of Colorado will both pay for itself as well as reduce waste. By providing compost bins to Denver residents, we will be able to reduce their recyclables and landfill contributions as well.
Climate change is a problem that needs to be solved now. Implementing compost bins across Denver will greatly reduce our waste going to landfills, and help preserve Earth for future generations. Let’s recycle recycling. While recycling sounds better than throwing away garbage, it often ends up in the same place.
Please sign our petition to push for access to composting in Denver.
Check it out for yourself!