Recycling in Denver is easy, but it’s important that residents only place acceptable recyclables in their purple carts. The sorting equipment at Denver’s recycling processor is great at separating bottles from cans, but trash and unacceptable items are sometimes difficult to remove. Help keep Denver’s recycling stream clean and free of non-recyclable items by staying current on Denver’s recycling guidelines. Take a look at the “Do’s and Don’ts” listed below for some helpful clarification on common areas of confusion:
DO EMPTY ALL FOOD AND BEVERAGE CONTAINERS COMPLETELY BEFORE RECYCLING
All food and beverage containers must be empty before they are recycled. Food and food residue are considered contaminants.
DON’T FLATTEN CARTONS OR BOTTLES
For years flattening your cartons, aluminum cans and plastic bottles was encouraged to maximize the space available in recycling bins and carts. Today, these containers should not be flattened before recycling. With new high-tech sorting equipment that identifies containers by their shape and characteristics, it’s important for containers to be reasonably intact and not flattened.
DO BREAKDOWN CARDBOARD BOXES INTO PIECES NO LARGER THAN 2 FT. BY 2 FT.
All cardboard boxes should be flattened and broken down into pieces no larger than 2 feet by 2 feet and placed inside your recycling cart or underneath the cart’s lid. Breaking down cardboard helps to maximize cart space and also prevents collection trucks and carts from getting clogged. Oversized boxes or non- flattened boxes left next to recycle carts will not be collected for recycling.
MINIMIZE SHREDDED PAPER
Residents are allowed to place a very limited amount of shredded paper in their purple carts. However, all shredded paper must be placed inside a paper bag that is well labeled with “shredded paper” and either folded or stapled closed. Never place shredded paper in plastic bags. It’s best not to shred paper before putting into your cart because small pieces of paper are difficult to sort and can cause litter. If you are concerned about the security of certain documents, consider using a professional document destruction company. You can find a list of such companies in our online Recycling Directory.
DO REMOVE MAGNETS AND PLASTIC WRAP FROM MAGAZINES AND PHONE BOOKS
When recycling magazines, phone books and junk mail make sure you remove all magnets and plastic wrap and/or plastic bags before putting them into your purple cart. Magnets and plastic bags contaminate the recycling stream.
ONLY RECYCLE GLASS BOTTLES AND JARS
Only glass bottles and jars are accepted for recycling. Never put window glass, vases, stemware and drinking classes in your recycling cart. They are different and will contaminate the recyclable glass. Large metal lids from glass jars are recyclable, but should be removed from the jars and placed in the carts separately.
Visit the Denver Recycles website at DenverGov.org/DenverRecycles to view Denver’s complete recycling guidelines and list of acceptable and non-acceptable materials.