Study: Colorado generated record amount of trash in 2017, is among worst at recycling

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DENVER — Colorado is terrible at recycling, according to a report released Thursday ahead of America Recycles Day.

Last year, Colorado spit out a record amount of trash — more than 9 million tons, one of the highest rates in the U.S.

Eco-Cycle and the Colorado Public Interest Research Group say recycling is significantly underfunded in the state.

While more trash is produced, the recycling rate has stayed the same the past two years.

The national average is 35 percent, but the Colorado average is only 12 percent, according to the report.

Of the cities that do track residential recycling, Montrose is the lowest at 9 percent, followed by Northglenn (11 percent), Fruita (11 percent) and New Castle (14 percent).

The best city in the state for residential recycling is Loveland at 61 percent, followed by Boulder (52 percent), Louisville (44 percent), Aspen (40 percent) and Longmont (40 percent).

Researchers say Colorado has a reputation of being green and environmentally friendly, but statistics don’t back that up.

“The unfortunate thing is we set a record last year — a record for waste,” said Danny Katz, director of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group.

“We produced 9.3 million tons. We are still pretty darn trashy.”

Eco-Cycle said there are ways to change, including appointing a statewide recycling coordinator in the governor’s office and cities need to make recycling and composting more easy and accessible.

The researchers say the state should also lead by example by making sure it’s recycling all of its buildings and construction projects.

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