The city of Denver has started gathering public input for an idea many Denverites have talked about for years: Pay as you throw. The latest proposal to charge for trash collection in the city is led jointly by the city’s climate action office and the transportation and infrastructure department, which is responsible for trash pick up. Climate action office executive director Grace Rink said the city has heard for years that people want weekly recycling, which the proposal would provide. “The people of Denver know climate change is an issue and they want us to work on it,” Rink said.

Under the proposal, monthly rates would range from $21 to $9 a month. It would be based on three bin sizes:

  • Large: $21 for a 95-gallon bin (seven to eight kitchen bags)
  • Medium: $13 for a 65-gallon bin (four to five kitchen bags)
  • Small: $9 for a 35-gallon bin (two to three kitchen bags)

In addition to trash pick up, the new fees would cover weekly recycling, composting, equipment operators, inspectors, trucks, carts and other costs. A rebate would discount these rates and, in some cases, cover the costs for low-income households. Rink said people will be able to decide what size recyclable or compost bins they get as well. Right now, recycling is picked up every other week, and compost is collected weekly for a $9.75 monthly fee.

The idea to pay for trash collection isn’t new. Councilmember Jolon Clark said he’s been pushing for the idea since he took office in 2015, and the pay as your throw idea was one Mayor Michael Hancock advocated for during his 2019 reelection campaign. The current proposal would need to be approved by the full Denver City Council to become law. Clark said a vote on the proposal could come as early as this summer.

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Author: Esteban L. Hernandez, Denverite
Image: Kevin J. Beaty, Denverite