Recycled news: Aspen not all trash |

Recycled news: Aspen not all trash

ASPEN ” Aspen is less wasteful than it has been in the past.

The 2008 recycling report released Wednesday by the city’s environmental health department shows an increase in the city’s recycling rate and a drop in the amount of overall trash produced.

Residents and businesses reduced the overall amount of trash produced by 19 percent compared to 2007. Also, the city of Aspen increased its recycling rate from 16 to 18 percent.

“Compared to the national average of 30 percent we’re down but we’re higher than the Colorado average,” said Ashley Cantrell, the city’s environmental health specialist, adding the state’s recycling average is about 6 percent.

Last year’s recycling in Aspen saved the equivalent of 11,143 tons of CO2, according to Cantrell. The emissions saved from recycling efforts are equal to the energy use of about 860 average U.S. homes, she added.

Local recycling data is more reliable this year because of a new standardized reporting formula for waste haulers, who are now required to provide data to the city twice a year.

That change came last fall when the Aspen City Council voted to renew the recycling ordinance for another five years. The original ordinance was adopted in 2005 and requires recycling to be included with trash service for all residential, commercial and multifamily accounts, and also establishes volume-based pricing for residential trash.

When the new law was passed, many customers were locked into longterm contracts and waste haulers didn’t have to provide the service. But now that the ordinance is in its fourth year, the majority of customers are recycling.

“We have 95 percent under the ordinance,” Cantrell said. “It’s all residences and nearly all commercial customers.”

In an effort to raise the recycling rate closer to the national average, Cantrell said she and her team will work to increase overall participation in the residential and commercial sectors, as well as the hotel and lodging industry.

Colorado falls far below the national average because many of its towns are in rural and remote areas, and therefore are far from recycling markets typically found in major metropolitan areas, Cantrell said. She added that some towns don’t even have curbside pick up or a recycling center.

“Aspen does better than most but we still have a ways to go,” she said.

She added that Colorado has the fifth largest waste generation rate of tons, per person, per year. Colorado generates an estimated 1.82 tons per person annually. Only Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee produce more waste per person than Colorado.

The Aspen recycling report can be found at

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