Recycling and composting requirement for apartments, office buildings and more looks likely to pass

Initiated Ordinance 306’s passage would mean a major expansion of the city’s recycling and composting services.
2 min. read
Yuderkarely Campps sorts recycled materials inside the Altogether Recycling center in Globeville, Dec. 3, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

It looks like apartment complexes, restaurants, office buildings and other businesses in Denver will be required to offer recycling and composting services.

About 67% of Denver voters approved Initiated Ordinance 306 as of 10 p.m. The measure was introduced by the Waste No More campaign led in part by environmental activist and mayoral candidate Ean Thomas Tafoya.

If it does pass, it would mean a major expansion of the city's recycling and composting services in a state that has long struggled to do both. Only months ago, city officials said they would increase the frequency of recycling and composting pickup for the city's homeowners.

Tafoya said in a text message that the results so far showed "Denverites Desire for Climate Action and Equity," adding that leaders should take action on climate without such efforts being put before voters.

In an earlier interview, Tafoya said he was unsure when the city would begin to enforce the rule. Larger buildings and apartments would be required to do so first, according to the ballot language.

Ean Tafoya speaks to press during an election night party for three local ballot measures at Tom's Starlight on Colfax Avenue. Nov. 8, 2022.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Apartments, condos and businesses that handle food would have to offer both recycling and composting.

The requirements would also apply to restaurants, supermarkets, hospitals, shopping centers and permitted events that serve food.

Construction and demolition sites larger than 500 square feet would have to recycle concrete, asphalt, clean wood, scrap metal and corrugated cardboard. Contractors who don't could lose their licenses, according to the ordinance's language.

The services would be enforced by the city's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.

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