City of Colorado Springs / Environmental Sustainability / Sustainability Plan / Waste

Community efforts and goals to manage waste that we're learning about...

Pikes Peak Region Sustainability Project Stretch Goals state that by 2030, the region will have made significant progress toward a zero-waste future. Achieving this goal means:

1.       There is a 70% reduction in solid waste sent to landfills.

2.       Household hazardous waste is minimized, managed and properly disposed of, as reflected in a substantial increase in drops to regional hazardous household waste facilities.


Fort Carson has a zero waste to landfill goal by 2027. To reach this goal, Fort Carson intends on: putting into place incentives to reuse or recycle products, decreasing the use of hazardous materials, creating a composting program, coordinating with local organizations to encourage recycling and reuse, recycling and reusing construction and demolition waste and taking product life cycle costs as well as environmental and social costs into account. Since what is purchased affects waste requirements, this goal is closely linked with the sustainable procurement effort. 


Colorado College aims to achieve a 50% or greater solid waste diversion rate. They strive for zero waste campus events and participate annually in RecycleMania. The College has set printers to print double sided by default.


University of Colorado at Colorado Springs recycles approximately 30% of its waste, and conducts yearly recycling audits to ensure goals are met. A student recycling coordinator develops educational material and holds events to increase recycling on the campus.  UCCS has a goal to achieve at least 75% construction waste recycling on all new projects and renovations and develop campus-wide programs for recycling and refilling of toner cartridges.


The State of Colorado requires that all state agencies and departments work with the Greening Council to adopt a goal of "zero waste" from construction of new buildings and renovation of existing facilities through re-use, reduction, recycling and composting of waste streams. In addition, they have a Greening Government goal to reduce paper use by 20% by 2012 (using a 2007 baseline).


El Paso County's Environmental Division has expanded capacity of the Household Hazardous Waste Facility and increased the waste streams accepted to 17 and counting. The County will begin a Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator Program in 2011 to assist small business with hazardous waste compliance.   They have adopted an electronic filing system to save time, funds and paper. 


The United States Air Force Academy plans on evaluating new and innovative technologies and practices that minimize the generation of waste, maximize waste recycling and dispose of remaining waste in an environmentally responsible manner.


And, here's what other communities are doing...






         Increase Denver's residential recycling by 50% in the next year and reduce total landfilled household waste by 30% (130,000 tons) over the 2004 baseline by 2011.

         Increase material recycled in Denver?s recycling program by 50% by 2007, from 18,000 tons in 2005 to 27,000 tons.

         Establish recycling in one highly-visible city facility such as Red Rocks Amphitheater.

         At Denver International Airport, decrease the amount of solid waste sent to the landfill by 5% annually from the 2005 baseline number of 0.51 pounds per passenger.

         Develop a plan to reduce paper consumption citywide by 20% over the next 4 years.

         Reduce landfilled waste by 30% per current customer household through composting, recycling, and modification of collection methods from 2004 baseline.

Douglas County


         Establish safe, efficient solid-waste disposal sites compatible with the surrounding environment.

         Cooperate with special districts, businesses, communities, and municipalities to promote a comprehensive approach to solid waste man­agement that establishes a hierarchy for waste disposal: reduce, reuse, recycle, and dispose as a last resort. Develop alternatives that will reduce the amount of waste disposed in landfills, such as resource recovery and recycling.

         Encourage new, enclosed, trash-transfer sites to locate away from sensitive environmental areas, in proximity to good access, with adequate screening, centralized water and sewer, and water-quality drainage features.

Fort Collins


         Pay As Your Throw program where waste haulers are required to charge on a clear rate scale based on how much is thrown away, with recycling included as a basic service, to encourage higher levels of recycling.

         Institute reduction practices. 

         Reduce overall annual paper purchases by 10%.

         Use 30 to 50% or higher recycled content paper.

         Reduce or divert total trash production by 50%.

         Increased practice/availability of double-sided copying.

          Expand internal recycling collection program to include new materials.

         Find internal uses for one-sided paper.


         The City of Indianapolis offers curbside recycling to all Indianapolis residents on a subscription basis price of $6 per month.

         Single-stream drop-off locations throughout community.

         Since 2007, the City holds a Post-Holiday Recycling Event where residents can drop off electronics, cardboard, and Christmas trees to be recycled.

         ToxDrop program to properly dispose of unwanted/unused household hazardous waste.



         Sustainable waste management by engaging businesses and residents and developing waste prevention policies.

         Pass food waste reduction legislation that encourages agencies to donate excess food by relieving them of liability associated with the donation.

         Reduce waste through comprehensive recycling programs: recycling and composting comprise over 59% of the city?s waste stream.

         ?Trash diet?, to reduce the amount of trash citizens generate by one pound each week. The goal is to reduce the volume of trash going to the landfill by 12%, 5,805 tons annually.


         Replace desk trash cans with recycling containers, with a central trash receptacle on each floor or row.

         Waste recovery goals at 54% in 2000 and 60% in 2005. Maximize recovery of all waste with a target of 75% by the year 2015 and promote highest value use of the recovered materials.

         Reduce per capita waste generation below 2005 levels by the year 2015.

         Promote solid waste management practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote community understanding of the relationship between solid waste reduction and global climate change.



         Develop, implement, and enforce a construction and demolition waste ordinance.

         Encourage the reuse and local recycling of materials.

         Reduce the use of pesticides and other toxic materials.

Salt Lake City

         A green waste program with variable garbage rates based on size of garbage container.

         Requiring provision of sites for neighborhood-wide recycling and composting within a development or nearby sites for collecting compost wastes.

         Permitting establishment of reuse/resale centers for equipment and supplies.

         Requiring recycling receptacles in multi-family residential and commercial buildings and providing centralized drop-off recycling stations that are easily accessed for collection.

         Increase Salt Lake City?s overall diversion rate to 25 percent.

San Diego

         Develop and adopt a construction and demolition recycling ordinance.

         Develop and adopt a commercial paper recycling ordinance and develop and adopt a multi-family recycling ordinance.


         Develop and implement citywide recycling programs.

         Encourage the commercial and industrial sectors to establish recycling programs for paper, cardboard, and other materials.

         Consider waste-to-energy facilities as part of the solid waste management plan.

         Develop and implement a comprehensive, regional hazardous waste handling, transportation and remediation plan, which includes enforcement procedures and non-compliance penalties.

         Promote partnerships through public and private agencies to reduce natural resource consumption through aggressive conservation, reuse and recycling programs.

         Promote the existing curbside recycling program to divert residential refuse from landfills.

         Seek new recyclables like glass and building materials to enhance the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the curbside recycling program.

         Promote household composting to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste going to the landfill.


         Repurpose construction and residential waste.

         To promote recycling there are periodic community workshops and sign-up events,  direct mail programs providing educational and sign-up materials to residents? home, community signage, and information and sign-up links on the community intranet.