Waste diversion goals set for Colorado

Kelly MacGregor, Public Communications Specialist | 303-692-3304  kelly.macgregor@state.co.us
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017
FORT COLLINS — The Colorado Solid and Hazardous Waste Commission today approved statewide waste diversion goals, aiming to increase the amount of waste diverted from landfills by recycling and composting over the next 20 years.
In 2016, Colorado’s waste diversion rate was only 19 percent — well below the national average of 35 percent. When scrap metal recycling is excluded, Colorado’s waste diversion rate falls to 12 percent.
The new goals challenge Colorado to meet the national average for waste diversion by 2026 and to match the current diversion rate of the best-performing states — around 45 percent — by 2036.
“These new goals seek to increase awareness of Colorado’s below-average diversion rate and create opportunities to improve recycling and composting rates statewide,” said Gary Baughman, Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division director.
The statewide diversion rate has not changed significantly since the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment began collecting data, remaining in the teens and low twenties for nearly a decade.
Before these goals were set, Colorado was one of only a handful of states without waste diversion goals. Other western states currently have more ambitious goals. For example, California has a diversion goal of 75 percent by 2020 and currently has a diversion rate of 47 percent.
The Integrated Solid Waste and Materials Management Plan, completed by industry experts in 2016, estimated the value of recyclable material being landfilled annually in Colorado at nearly $267 million.