Denver’s pay-as-you-throw trash program has launched, what to know.

A few days into the new year, Michael Levin and hundreds of other Denver residents received an unexpected bill from Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. When Levin went to the city website to look into the matter further, he found something even more unexpected.

“Online it said, ‘We sent those bills to everybody by mistake’, which I found to be a curious thing,” Levin said. “There’s a little bit of chaos happening in the recycling world.”

The era of pay-as-you-throw trash collection has arrived in Denver in 2023 and not without hiccups.

The “practice bill” that was unintentionally sent to Levin was part of a test of how Denver residents will be billed for trash collection, a service that for decades was paid for out of the city’s general fund but as of this year will now be paid for directly by property owners.

The overhaul does have perks for customers.

Denver homeowners can now put their purple recycling bins out for pickup every week instead of every other week. Compost collection, previously a service the city charged for, is now free for all those who want it or will be once the city gets the bins it has ordered and can deliver them to customers who have requested them.

It’s a big shift for a fundamental service and the initial rollout has brought questions about the city’s readiness back to the surface.

In November, the Denver Auditor’s Office released a report saying the city’s solid waste management division was “ill-prepared” to expand the program in 2023 and risks “providing worse service to Denver residents.”

“The audit found the Solid Waste Management Division lacks strategic guidance and quality data, has an aging fleet of waste collection trucks, and does not have enough staff for its current operations,” Denver Auditor Timothy O’Brien wrote in a letter attached to that report.

The City Council has since approved a contract to boost collection services in southeast Denver while the program ramps up, but Levin, who lives in that part of town, remains concerned. In the past week, he has received two emails reminding him to put out his recycling bins but it was never picked up.

“Usually everything is picked up on the advertised date. Every once in a while it’s the day after. This time around they never came to pick it up,” Levin said. “I just finally rolled mine back up this morning after waiting days.”

City officials are asking customers to leave their bins out and bear with them as they stand up the pay-as-you-throw program.

“We’re asking the public to be patient with us these first few weeks too as we build out these new services for residents and transition to a new billing system,” said Vanessa Lacayo, a spokeswoman for the transportation and infrastructure department. “If a trash or recycling collection isn’t completed on its scheduled day, we’re asking residents to leave their bin out and we’ll be there by the end of the week.”

Here is what city trash collection customers need to know:

How does it work?

Customers can control how much they pay for trash hauling by dictating what size bin they want from the city.

The biggest trash bin, 95 gallons, costs $21 per month or $252 per year. It can hold roughly eight kitchen-sized bags of refuse, per the city’s expanded waste collection services webpage.

The medium bin, 65 gallons, costs $13 per month ($156 annually) and can hold as many as five kitchen bags of trash.

The smallest bin, 35 gallons,, is $9 a month ($108 per year) and can store three kitchen-sized bags worth of refuse.

For their money, residential customers also get a free purple recycling bin, and, if they want it, a green compost bin. All three categories will be picked up weekly once the city rolls out city-wide composting this summer.

The program also covers monthly large item pickup and seasonal services like free mulch and holiday light recycling.

Service changes and issues should be addressed through an online customer account portal the city is urging homeowners to use or by calling 311.

When does it start? 

The city launched weekly recycling pickup on Jan. 3.

Composting for customers who have newly opted into that service will not be available until this summer, said Lacayo.

Jan. 3 also marked the beginning of billing for customers. Invoices will be going out on a quarterly basis with customers receiving their first bill between now and the end of March.

How do I pay my bill? 

The date each customer’s bill is “generated” is tied to their billing cycle for wastewater and storm drainage services in Denver, Lacayo said. So residents whose wastewater bills come in January are getting the earliest invoices for trash billing.

Once an invoice has been created, property owners have 30 days to pay. Not paying can result in a lien being placed on a property.

The public works department plans to send letters to homeowners before their first invoice arrives providing them with information on how to create a customer account through the Denver Utilities Online portal. The city has also posted a video to its YouTube channel explaining how to create an account.

People without internet access are being instructed to call 311 to get help managing their accounts. The city will also accept checks made out to the city’s Manager of Finance by mail. Information for that process will be provided on invoices.

The online account portal will allow residents to request different-sized bins with priority being given to those who have already received invoices, Lacayo said. Bill totals will be adjusted based on the delivery date of new bins.

What do I do if my bill is wrong or my trash is not collected on time? 

The city is expecting hiccups in the early going of the program.

If a homeowner gets an invoice that is inaccurate, customers should get in touch with the city via 311 or the online portal to request a fix, according to Lacayo.

As for missed pickups, the city is asking customers to leave their bins out until a truck can come empty them.

Source link

Denial of responsibility! Planetcirculate is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.