The annual State of Recycling and Composting Colorado Report has jointly recognized Durango and Aspen for having the highest 2019 recycling rates outside of the Front Range. Both cities had recycling rates of 33 percent. Durango was among Colorado communities highlighted as “bright spots” in the report, which found that Coloradoans, overall, wasted more and recycled less in 2019 than in 2018. Durango’s recycling rate was significantly higher than the state average of 15.9 percent and far exceeds the 2036 goal for mountain and rural communities outside of the Front Range.
While Colorado is not on track to meet its statewide goal of diverting 28 percent of waste from landfills by 2021, the report shined a light on communities leading the way. Gold Medal Winners in the report also included the cities of Boulder, Fort Collins and Loveland, and Boulder and Pitkin counties.
The success of Durango’s recycling program is due, in large part, to the diligence of residents who prioritize waste reduction and follow guidelines on what can and cannot be recycled. Residents are automatically signed up for municipal recycling collection which, according to national studies, is an important factor in improving recycling rates. The City’s relationship with its private recycling partners has also helped make the program a success. More food waste is being diverted thanks to a growth in local private composting collection.
The State of Recycling and Composting in Colorado report is produced by the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG) and EcoCycle.