Fort Collins Sustainability Group Comments on Recycling, Climate Action Plan

The goals of the recycling component of the Climate Action Plan include diverting 50% of all solid waste generated in Ft. Collins away from the landfill by 2010.  The City Council took an important step toward that goal last year by changing the rules governing residential trash service to make it easier for people in single-family homes and small multi-family complexes to recycle.  According to the latest data from the city, the solid waste diversion rate was 38% for 2009.  This is a five percentage point increase from 2008, so we’re clearly making progress.

However, there’s still a 12 percentage point gap between the 2009 diversion rate and the 50% goal.  It is important to note that the Climate Action Plan does not rely on “trash districting” (also known as “city-wide contracts for trash collection services”) for ANY contribution toward increasing the solid waste diversion rate.  According that plan, the following additional measures will each make significant contributions to meeting the 2010 goal: 

  1. Ban cardboard from the waste stream for businesses,
  2. Create a construction and demolition drop-off site,
  3. Establish recycling cooperatives for small businesses, and
  4. Establish a residential yard waste drop-off site and require haulers to provide yard waste collection.

We would ask when the City intends to implement these four measures, or variants on those measures developed by City Staff.

The recycling component of the Climate Action Plan is expected to produce about one-third of the total reduction in greenhouse gas emissions necessary to meet the City’s 2012 target.  So it’s important for the City to keep moving forward in this area.  Additionally, enhancing recycling and composting efforts can help produce jobs.  Recently, the “Fort Collins Coloradoan” reported on the new company, “Clean Air Compost”, which collects food waste from restaurants, schools, and other organizations and turns it into compost.  This is a wonderful example of how environmental stewardship and job creation can go hand in hand.

The Fort Collins Sustainability Group strongly encourages the City to continue moving towards the goal of diverting 50% of all solid waste away from the landfill by implementing the remaining solid-waste related measures in the Climate Action Plan soon.  We look forward to receiving a response from you concerning this matter.


Author: Rick Casey

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