To recycle or not to recycle? That’s the question for a lot of Coloradans

Depending on where you live, it can be expensive

To recycle, or not to recycle? In Colorado it’s a choice and depending on where you live, it can be expensive.

In Denver, for residential homes of seven or fewer units, the service through the city is free. For Denver businesses and apartment communities, they need to sign up and pay for the service through a company.

Viewers reached out to Denver7 asking if the service will ever be free or at a lower price for commercial properties in Denver.

“I just got my tax bill here of over $17,000 property tax so I feel like we should get a little purple bin here,” said Rita Henry, building owner and design associate at Distinctive Mantles in Denver.

Like other businesses and apartment communities in the city, Henry needs to sign up and pay for recycling through a company. Right now she said that’s not in the cards because of other expenses.

“I would like to just see if we could recycle and keep the environment clean and do it because the right thing to do,” said Henry. “The environment is so important, but yet they charge for recycling.”

Alpine Waste and Recycling said the cost of labor is the number one driver for pricing. The cost of steel to build dumpsters and trucks has impacts too.

According to the City of Denver, in 2017 households in the city generated around 234,000 tons of waste materials. And 79 percent of that amount was landfilled, 17 percent was recycled and 4 percent was composted.

Recently, students at Shepherd Hills Christ School in Centennial collected their recycling for a whole week.

“We have collected 21 pounds of recyclables,” said Tracy Fellows, K-8 Physical Education instructor at Shepherd Hills. “9.4 pounds of markers, packaging materials, zip lock bags. This is four pounds since Christmas.”

Fellows created a recycling center in the school cafeteria where students can weigh and collect their recyclables for each grade level. Her hope is the students can make small changes to their daily routine to waste less and be more conscious of how to reduce, reuse and recycle more often.

“Every single one of us can do one thing today to make a huge difference,” said Fellows. “Maybe one of these kids is going to have the breakthrough to our plastic consumption problem.”