Representative Lisa Cutter, a Democrat from Evergreen and the chair of the Zero Waste and Recycling Interim Study Committee, and her fellow committee members voted on October 22, to approve two draft bills aimed at improving Colorado’s recycling rate, which lags far behind the national average. The 5.8 million tons of waste that Coloradans dump into landfills every year amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars of lost recyclable material, state officials say, and leads to negative impacts on Colorado’s environment and the climate.
“Our state’s low recycling rate means we rely heavily on landfills, which can harm our environment and will leave a lasting impact on the natural beauty that in many ways defines our state,” Representative Meg Froelich, a Democrat from Englewood, said in a statement. “Our legislation will reduce waste by helping create new markets for recycled materials, establishing a public education campaign on recycling and increasing compost use in agriculture and other sectors.”
Interim committees, which meet in the intervals between the legislature’s four-month regular sessions, allow lawmakers to study issues in greater depth and recommend legislation to be considered during the following session. Cutter, a first-year lawmaker who unsuccessfully championed a zero-waste bill during the 2019 regular session, won approval for the ten-member interim committee in April.