Closing the Loop

Closing the Loop Quarterly Update
January 31, 2018

Welcome ​to th​e first edition of this​​ ​quarterly ​update brought to you by the Sustainability and Materials Management Units at CDPHE! We are excited to share with you some of our current initiatives and programs focused specifically on materials management issues. We hope you find this and future updates a valuable source of information as we find new ways to engage our stakeholders. Join us as we shift from a waste-focused approach to a sustainable materials approach.
In this update:

Improving waste diversion data

By: Wolf Kray, CDPHE
For the last 10 years, we have been reporting Colorado’s waste diversion rate. The rate is calculated by comparing the quantity of materials that are recycled or composted to the total amount disposed of in state landfills. The state diversion rate has ranged from 16 to 26 percent and appears to fall notably below the national average of 34 percent.  
The national diversion rate, calculated by the EPA, is based on the amount of residential and commercial waste generated, also known as municipal solid waste, or MSW, and doesn’t include industrial waste such as construction and demolition debris. Colorado’s diversion rate, however, includes industrial waste that acts to artificially lower the statewide rate. While Colorado likely does recycle less than the national average, direct comparisons to other states and the national rate have always been difficult.
To address how these rates have been calculated and to improve the accuracy of Colorado’s diversion rate, we are revising how solid waste landfills report data. Starting Jan. 1, solid waste landfills are reporting residential and commercial waste (MSW) separately from industrial solid waste. We now can compare residential and commercial waste separately, resulting in an accurate and higher diversion rate. This improved data will provide a better picture of where Colorado stands in comparison to other states as well as the national average and will assist us in targeting certain sectors to increase our waste diversion.

Minimize cost, reduce risk and eliminate waste through a free pollution prevention assessment

Would you like to minimize costs, reduce risk and eliminate waste? CDPHE provides free onsite assessments that identify pollution prevention opportunities in water conservation, energy efficiency and waste reduction. The program is open to all Colorado businesses.

Waste can be eliminated by modifying production processes, using nontoxic or less toxic chemicals, implementing conservation techniques or reusing materials. From improvements in housekeeping to upgrades to efficient technologies, opportunities exist in any business!

Preventing pollution before it’s generated makes more sense than generating waste, managing it and sending it offsite for recycling or disposal. If you don’t generate waste, you don’t have to track it, permit it, pay for treatment or disposal, and insure against the risks associated with it.

"I am so appreciative that you came up to our facility today. You are the FIRST person that has a grasp on our scale and what we need to accomplish. Your input is so valuable and I just can’t thank you enough for your efforts." -- Kate Brown, Founder & President, Boulder Organic
Call (303) 692-2977, or email for a free onsite assessment today!

Does your business qualify to be an environmental leader? Find out at the ELP Seminar.

The Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) is our statewide environmental recognition and reward program that offers benefits and incentives to organizations and businesses that voluntarily go beyond compliance with state and federal regulations and are committed to continual environmental improvement. The annual ELP Seminar will be held Feb. 13 at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80205).
What: Environmental Leadership Program Seminar
When: Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018
Time: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Where: Denver Museum of Nature and Science (Ricketson Auditorium)
RSVP: By Feb. 9

The seminar will:
Discuss program criteria and benefits.
Explain how to apply.
Provide overview of CDPHE services from:
Small Business Assistance Program.
Small Business Ombudsman.
Pollution Prevention Program.
Include opportunity for networking and meeting current ELP members.


Contact Lynette Myers at (303) 692-3477, or email for more information.

What are pre-approved beneficial uses?
By: Michael Bankoff, CDPHE
Colorado’s innovative beneficial use program at CDPHE offers alternatives to disposal for a variety of problematic solid waste streams. Construction and demolition debris, waste tires, coal ash, food and beverage processing residuals, and other waste streams may find a valuable beneficial use that diverts waste from our landfills and wastewater treatment plants.  
Beneficial use determinations are the result of:
  • Formal proposals to the department involving sampling and analytical characterization of the waste.
  • Evidence of the benefits of the proposed use.
  • Confirmation that the proposed use poses little to no threat to public health or the environment.  
We evaluate beneficial use applications for a particular waste and issue either an approval or denial. While anyone may submit a formal beneficial use application to us by coordinating with our Materials Management Unit and submitting the application form, many waste streams already are pre-approved for certain beneficial uses. These pre-approved beneficial uses can be found on the Beneficial Use Table 3: Pre-Approved Beneficial Uses.
All pre-approved beneficial uses are subject to the conditions noted at the bottom of the table. Certain beneficial uses may be subject to other conditions specific to a particular material and/or a particular use. The column in the table “Conditions on Use” specifies when these conditions apply. The beneficial use regulations are found in Section 8.6 of Part 1 of the Solid Waste Regulations (6 CCR 1007-2).
Anyone wanting to propose a beneficial use of solid waste not on the pre-approved table should consult with us to ensure all necessary components are included in the beneficial use application.

Michael Bankoff
(303) 692-3438


Tier II reports due March 1 through new online system
By: Kendra Appelman-Eastvedt, CDPHE
The reporting period for 2017 SARA Title III Tier II is open through 5 p.m. M.S.T. on March 1. If your company stores chemicals exceeding the EPA-accepted threshold at locations in Colorado, a Tier II report must be filed to us through the new Colorado Environmental Online System (CEOS) platform. Organizations may voluntarily submit Tier II reports, too. 
CEOS reflects our effort to comply with federal electronic reporting rules and clears the way for single-point Tier II submission. We share Information from Tier II reports with local emergency planning committees and fire districts, providing first responders needed information to appropriately address an emergency at a facility to maximize public safety and protect property. Organizations that typically submit Tier II reports include breweries, oil and gas companies, hospitals and dairies, among many other types of industries. 
Visit the Tier II web page to learn more and access step-by-step guides for setting up CEOS accounts and submitting reports.

Kendra Appelman-Eastvedt
(303) 692-3641

Colorado’s Medication Take Back Program is expanding
By: Greg Fabisiak, CDPHE
The Colorado Household Medication Take-Back Program helps Colorado residents safely dispose of unused and expired medications. Proper disposal is just one piece of the comprehensive strategy for preventing prescription drug abuse that includes safe use and safe storage. Ensuring proper disposal keeps medications such as opioids, sedatives and stimulants from being misused or abused. It also helps protect Colorado’s environment and wildlife from medications that might otherwise be flushed or trashed. 

Over the past year, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and law enforcement agencies have joined the state-funded program and installed nearly 90 secure drop boxes covering 47 of Colorado’s 64 counties. The department continues to expand the program with a goal of establishing at least one permanent collection site in every Colorado county. To find locations, visit

Greg Fabisiak
(303) 692-2903

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Funding for increasing waste diversion in Colorado

We currently are soliciting applications to fund projects that increase waste diversion and create jobs. Projects may focus on recycling, composting, waste minimization, anaerobic digestion, repurposing or reuse for a wide variety of materials. Applications are due March 2 at 3 p.m. M.S.T.
A total of $2.7 million is available to fund multiple projects. Funding is made possible through the Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity Fund. 
All questions concerning this grant opportunity must be submitted in writing to the following email address: The deadline for the last round of written inquiries is Feb. 16, 3 p.m. MST. 
We strongly encourage grant applicants to attend the pre-application conference, although attendance is optional. The pre-application conference is each applicant's opportunity to receive feedback on proposal ideas directly from members of the selection committee and to get answers to any questions applicants may have about the request for applications. The pre-application conference is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 5, at the department's main campus in Denver. Teleconferencing will be available. RSVP is required. Please read the request for applications for more details regarding the pre-application conference.
Please visit the department's website to access the grant application, templates and other information. 
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Save the date ...
  • February 5: Pre-application conference for RREO Waste Diversion Grant.
  • February 15: ELP Seminar.
  • March 1: Tier II Hazardous Chemical Inventory Reports Due.
  • March 2: RREO Waste Diversion Grant Applications Due.

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