The primary company accepting compostable materials across Colorado’s Front Range plans to stop taking packaging and service ware such as carryout containers, plates, paper towels, greasy pizza boxes, cups and utensils — meaning tons of waste designed to break down into soil will end up in landfills.
A1 Organics, the largest recycler of organic materials in Colorado, this week announced that, beginning April 1, it will only accept food waste and yard trimmings, according to a news release. The company says it has been overwhelmed by contaminated products as composting efforts have blossomed around the Front Range so it’s reducing what it will accept.
“Contamination is the No. 1 challenge our industry faces in the residential and commercial organics recycling streams,” the company states. “A1 Organics believes a paradigm shift is needed in the collection and processing of these organics to move Colorado in the right direction towards achieving increased organics diversion and clean finished compost.”
That means local governments, school systems and businesses that run composting programs are racing to educate their customers on what they still can put in their bins and what will happen to the other materials. Meanwhile, zero-waste advocates are trying to put a positive spin on the setback in Colorado’s large-scale composting efforts.
“We look at this as a growing pain,” said Marti Matsch, deputy director of Eco-Cycle, a Boulder-based, nonprofit recycler. “It’s a sign of success that composting has become such a big part of our lives in how we handle discards. It’s a huge climate solution and we’re all committed to getting it right.”
In Denver, city officials need to spread the word to their 30,000 composting customers about what they can and cannot put in their green bins. The city has updated its website and will soon mail notices to customers, said Vanessa Lacayo, a spokeswoman for the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“We do not expect these changes will have a huge impact for our current compost customers, given that most of what people compost at home is food waste and yard debris,” Lacayo wrote in an email. “As we begin phasing in weekly composting citywide later this summer, these new guidelines will already be in place.”
But it’s that growing participation in composting programs that has created problems for A1. The Denver Post could not reach A1 Organics representatives Thursday for comment.
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Source:: The Denver Post – News