State health department celebrates Colorado Recycles Week

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(REMOTE: November 14, 2022): The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is pleased to celebrate Colorado Recycles Week and is committed to achieving a 45% diversion rate by 2036.

Here is a sampling of the the steps we’ve already taken to move the needle:

  • In September, we released the Statewide Organics Management Plan in partnership with the Colorado Department of Agriculture. This plan provides a detailed analysis of the current state of organics waste management and provides goals and recommendations for increasing the diversion of this waste stream going forward. By diverting this material through processes like composting, not only are we reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but we are also turning it into a valuable resource. 
  • Colorado is now poised to address the need for local recycling markets and attract end-market users and entrepreneurs to the state after the passage of the Waste Diversion and Circular Economy Development Center. The Center will grow existing, and create new, recycling and composting end markets, attract remanufacturers and entrepreneurs to the state, and provide necessary infrastructure, logistics, and marketing to create a sustainable circular economy for recycled commodities. We are currently soliciting proposals through January 17, 2023. If you are interested in learning more, please review the request for proposals document.
  • Earlier this year, Gov. Jared Polis signed the  new Producer Responsibility Program for Statewide Recycling Act into law. It requires producers of packaging, paper products, and food service ware to fund a statewide recycling system to recycle those materials. Two of the program objectives are to develop a convenient, cost-effective statewide recycling system with free and equitable recycling for all residents, and ensure the program equitably meets the needs of local Colorado communities and businesses.
  • Did you know you can recycle your paint for free in Colorado? One gallon of improperly disposed paint has the ability to pollute up to 250,000 gallons of water. The Colorado Paint Stewardship Program “Paint Care” is here to prevent that, by supporting the free recycling of unused paint. Since 2015, PaintCare has collected over 5.1 million gallons of unused paint and has established 185 free drop-off sites in Colorado.
  • We fund statewide waste diversion projects and provide rebates for community recycling centers through our Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity Grant Program. The department has awarded over $25 million to develop recycling and composting infrastructure and promote sustainable behavior change in communities across Colorado. The most recent request for applications opened November 7 and is focused on “Building Opportunities to Maximize Waste Diversion and Create Jobs in Colorado”. 
  • The Front Range Waste Diversion Grant Program specifically targets the 13 Front Range counties where 80% of the state’s waste is generated. To date, the grant program has awarded approximately $11,288,000 in grant funding. The grant program is requesting applications through December 9, 2022 for projects that focus on moving Front Range communities up the “zero waste ladder.” 
  • To further increase the diversion rate, the Department is investing in creating a local demand for recycled materials to advance a circular economy by supporting a fourth cohort of Colorado NextCycle, a program designed to boost remanufacturing solutions for recycled content in Colorado. We are accepting applications from interested teams through December 1, 2022. 

We cannot improve the state’s waste diversion rate without the help of Colorado residents. Here are three easy ways for you to make a difference:

  1. Learn tips to reduce, reuse, and recycle right at the Department’s Erase the Waste site.
  2. Find a paint recycling drop-off near you to recycle your leftover paint.
  3. Get involved by serving on or attending one of our advisory boards or commissions.