A recently released annual report by the organizations Eco-Cycle and CoPIRG shows that Colorado’s recycling and composting rate remained at around 16% in 2022. That was only about half of the national average. The report didn’t have a breakdown by county this year, but Pitkin County officials said the local diversion rate continues to climb. Pitkin County’s diversion rate was 48% in 2022.

Pitkin County has also focused on going above and beyond recycling and composting. It focuses on increasing recycling and re-use rates from construction and demolition projects in unincorporated Pitkin County. When that program is factored in, the amount of material that comes into the landfill that isn’t buried climbs to 62%, according to Cathy Hall, solid waste center director.

“For such a small community, we do divert a lot,” Hall told the Pitkin County commissioners last month in an update on landfill operations. The county started single-stream recycling, where everything can be mixed into the same bin, in 2014. There were 26,881 tons of single-stream recycled materials collected at the landfill and by the two primary waste haulers in 2022, Hall said. The landfill sent 1,681 tons of recycled materials to Denver.

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