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Whether you’re remodeling, cleaning, or just getting organized for the new year, don’t send your unwanted items to the landfill before consulting this list of recycling resources in Denver and beyond. Chances are, there’s an easy way to extend their useful life.
Denver Recycles’ seasonal Treecycle program turns Denver residents’ discarded live Christmas trees into mulch, which you can pick up in May at the Mulch Giveaway & Compost Sale. Just remove the decorations, lights, and stand from your tree, and set it out for collection on one of your scheduled trash collection days between January 3–14, 2022. (Heads up: as of January 3, changes to the city’s trash, recycling, and compost collection routes mean you might have a new pickup day.)
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Don’t toss those broken or burned-out tangles of holiday lights. Through January 8, 2022, you can recycle incandescent, LED, and icicle lights for free at two locations set up by the City and County of Denver.
Need to make way for Santa’s latest deliveries? Colorado-based nonprofit WeeCycle matches essential baby gear and clothing to families in need through partner organizations focused on alleviating poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, and under-employment. Donate everything from blankets, bedding, and towels to crib mattresses, highchairs, and toys at the Aurora warehouse (20 S. Havana Street, Suite 210, Aurora, 80012) on Tuesdays between 9–11 a.m. and Thursdays between 12–2 p.m. Items most in demand include cribs, accident-free car seats, strollers, and pack ’n plays. Find the full list of accepted items here.
Furniture, Appliances, Home Goods, and Building Materials
Chances are, your latest home update generated waste that someone else can use. Whether it’s drapery rods, plumbing and lighting fixtures, cabinets, or sofas, a Habitat for Humanity ReStore will take it off your hands and sell it to the public at a fraction of the retail price. The money raised is then used by Habitat for Humanity to help families in need build decent and affordable homes. Each ReStore location is unique, and items accepted may vary. Click here to find a location near you. In many cases, pickup service is available for large items.
Spring Back Colorado deconstructs mattresses and box springs into individual components (steel, foam, ticking, cotton, wood), then reuses or recycles the parts. Schedule a residential pickup or drop off your items at one of several donation sites in the Denver metro area, Colorado Springs, and northern Colorado. A small, per-piece fee applies. Locate a donation site at springbackco.org.
Recycle leftover paint, stain, and varnish through the Colorado chapter of national nonprofit PaintCare. Visit paintcare.org to find a drop-off site near you—or, if you’ve got 10 or more gallons to be recycled and live in the Denver or Colorado Springs areas, PaintCare is offering complimentary door-to-door pick-up service.
Food Scraps, Leaves, and Paper Products
Compost Colorado takes the composting concept a step further by giving Denver metro-area residents something back. You fill your bin with the food waste, paper products, and plant materials you discard each week, and in return, you’ll get a clean bin filled with local, sustainable products you purchase from the Simple Swaps store, which sells eco-friendly, packaging-free products including refillable soaps and all-purpose cleaners, grocery and household items, and more. Residential members are also entitled to shares of the nutrient-rich compost that is created from their waste, plus perks including free Halloween pumpkin and Christmas tree drop-offs. Residential monthly fees range from $33–$43.
What do you do with those unwanted batteries, light bulbs, wine corks, mailing envelopes, plastic bags, TVs, computer monitors, microwaves, kitchen wares, school supplies, books, and eyeglasses that aren’t accepted by your regular recycling service? If you live within the C-470 loop or along the U.S. Highway 36 corridor to Louisville and Boulder, local company Happy Beetle will pick them (and other hard-to-recycle items) up and either recycle them, reuse, or repurpose them—or, in the case of some bulbs and batteries, ensure they’re disposed of responsibly. Monthly pickups are $142/year; quarterly pickups are $89/year.