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A green compost bin sits in ...
Seth McConnell, The Denver Post
A green compost bin sits in front of a home on King St in Denver on Jan. 19, 2016.
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Sick of throwing veggies in the trash? You’re in luck. Denver Public Works has expanded its composting program to cover every neighborhood in the city.

Adding four new routes makes 176,000 households eligible to participate, up from 110,000 before, Denver Public Works spokeswoman Nancy Kuhn said.

Denver is working to hit a 34 percent composting and recycling rate by 2020, up from the current rate of 20 percent. There are currently 12,000 households participating in the Denver Compost program.

Of the trash Denverites send to the landfill, 19 percent is food waste and 17 percent is yard debris, according to Denver Public Works. Composting helps reduce waste in landfills and prevent greenhouse gas emissions. Gardeners also love it because it improves overall soil quality.

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 19: A trash vehicle collects compost on King St in Denver, Colorado on January 19, 2016. Denver is expanding its composting program in 2016, adding 3 routes. (Photo by Seth McConnell/The Denver Post)
Seth McConnell, The Denver Post
DENVER, CO – JANUARY 19: A trash vehicle collects compost on King St in Denver, Colorado on January 19, 2016. Denver is expanding its composting program in 2016, adding 3 routes. (Photo by Seth McConnell/The Denver Post)

One advocate for reducing landfill waste, while applauding Denver’s expansion of curbside composting pickup, says the city can do more to encourage participation — starting with making it a standard part of waste service.

“The cost of $10 per month for compost service is still a significant barrier to participation since residents do not pay directly for trash service,” said Kate Bailey, the policy and research director for Eco-Cycle in Boulder. “The price of composting should be included in the overall cost of trash and recycling services, so residents are rewarded for composting and not penalized with higher rates.”

Residents who sign up for Denver Compost will receive a large green compost cart and a 2-gallon kitchen pail to collect organic material, such as food, non-recyclable paper and yard debris. It’s a fee-based program. Residents can make $29.95 payments every three months or save $12.80 by paying $107 for a year of service.

To sign up, call 311 or go to denvergov.org/compost. Denver Public Works will deliver the carts at the end of the month and start collecting in December.

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