Recycling is an easy and effective way for Denver residents to reduce their impact on the environment. However, placing recyclable material into Denver’s purple recycling carts is only the first step in the circular process of recycling which includes collection, re-manufacturing and consumer choice. When combined, these three phases of the recycling process are capable of preserving natural resources, reducing pollution, reducing the need for landfill capacity, and saving energy. Here are some examples of how the three-part recycling process works within the City and County of Denver:
• Collection: Denver residents collect and recycle materials in purple carts. Then, Denver Recycles’ trucks pick up this material and deliver it to a material processing facility in north Denver where materials are separated and sorted for shipment to manufacturing facilities.
• Manufacturing: Recycled materials are re-processed and turned into new products. It’s hard to believe, but it only takes six weeks for an aluminum can to make it from a purple recycling cart to the grocery shelf as a new aluminum can!
• Consumer: Consumer choices drive the market for recycled products. When possible, Denver residents are urged to purchase recycled content products that are made from the very material they recycle in their homes, offices and schools.
• Post-Consumer Waste: This is the best choice and means that the product is made from materials that were discarded after their original use into recycling programs like Denver’s. For example, paper towels made from post-consumer waste contain fibers that were once part of office paper, cardboard or other materials Denver residents regularly put in their purple carts.
• Pre-Consumer Waste or Post-Industrial Waste: This means the product is made from waste generated in the manufacturing process. While this is a great form of recycling, the purchase of post-consumer content should take priority over pre-consumer content.
• Recyclable: It’s great to buy products that are recyclable. However, this label doesn't necessarily mean that the product is made from recycled materials.
For more information about what can be recycled in Denver, visit DenverGov.org/DenverRecycles, or call 311 (720-913-1311).