The pending packaging fee to fund expansion of recycling efforts across Colorado could more than double statewide diversions from landfills for just fractions of a penny per consumer item, according to recycling advocates reviewing a key baseline study for the law. But then again, those fractions add up in a state with nearly 6 million residents consuming retail goods every day. The study, meant to set out options for how to run a new “producers responsibility fee” to promote more recycling, shows that the highest-cost scenario would need to raise $290 million a year by 2035.

Still, recycling advocates were excited by the potential they say the report shows for improving Colorado’s dismal landfill-diversion rates. The new study is part of the process set up by the legislature when it authorized a producer-guided recycling fee on consumer packaging. The study estimates the current diversion rates at 22% to 28% of Colorado’s covered packaging waste. (Consumer advocates like CoPIRG, which include a wider variety of waste to calculate their ratios, say Colorado is only diverting about 16% of its waste.)

Using the packaging fees to  introduce curbside recycling in Colorado communities that do not offer it would boost diversion to 47% to 54% of the waste stream covered by the rules under the low-case scenario, and to 54% to 60% diversion if the Cadillac version of the three scenarios moves forward.

To read the full story, visit
Author: Michael Booth, The Colorado Sun
Image: Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun