Index: Environment / Subcategory: Use of Resources

Recycling

Date updated: 04/23/2013

The Larimer County Recycling Center is located next to the Larimer County Landfill at 5887 South Taft Hill Road in Fort Collins. The Center has been operated for the County since 1995 by Waste Management, Inc. Larimer County funds the operation of the Recycling Center through sales of recyclable materials and landfill dumping fees.

Trash pick-up services in Fort Collins and Loveland provide curbside recycling programs for residents to dispose of recyclable materials. For residents in smaller communities that do not provide curbside service, Larimer County also operates five rural recycling drop-offs. The rural recycling drop-offs are located in Berthoud, Estes Park, Red Feather Lakes, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Wellington.

The Larimer County Recycling Center accepts two types of recyclable materials: co-mingled containers (plastic, steel, glass, and aluminum) and paper products (newspaper, magazines, poster board, corrugated cardboard); if dropping off materials at the Recycling Center, information on how to separate recyclable materials is available at the Larimer County Recycling Center website. Although primarily designed to serve curbside collection programs, the site will also process uncontaminated (cleaned and properly separated) commercial loads from businesses and materials taken to the facility by individuals.

NOTE: The City of Fort Collins changed its methodology for calculating recyclables so historical data prior to 2010 are not available.

What this chart shows: Total Tons of Processed Recyclable Materials, Larimer County Recycling Center, 2003-2012

Data Source: Larimer County Department of Solid Waste (data not available online)

See data table

What the above data tell us:

Over the last decade, the total tonnage of recyclable materials processed at the Larimer County Recycling Center increased nearly 46%. This increase reflects the implementation of Fort Collins' and Loveland's Pay-As-You-Throw ordinances, which require trash haulers to provide curbside recycling and to charge residents by the volume of solid waste. See Additional Information for further explanation of local waste management ordinances.

At the beginning of 2008, some recycle commodities were paying high rebates causing municipalities to sell some collected recyclables directly. This was partially responsible for the decline in the amount of materials processed at the Recycling Center. As the economy collapsed at the end of 2008, so too did the prices for recyclables.

What this chart shows: Pounds per Capita of Processed Recyclable Materials, Larimer County Recycling Center, 2003-2012

Data Source:

See data table

What the above data tell us:

The per capita measure of recyclable materials processed at the Larimer County Recycling Center reflects a trend similar to the measure of the total tons processed. However, the population of Larimer County has increased every year since 2003. The per capita figures noted in the chart above reflect a less dramatic rise and fall of recyclable collection at the landfill than the previous chart.

What this chart shows: Tons of Recyclable Materials Collected in Loveland, 2003-2012

Data Source: City of Loveland Solid Waste Utility (data not available online)
See data table

What the above data tell us:

For the purpose of this measure, recyclables include all materials that are diverted from the landfill, including paper, plastic, glass, yard waste, metals, and concrete.

Between 2003 and 2012, the amount of recyclables collected by the City of Loveland increased more than 80%. Loveland began accepting cardboard and other low-grade paper products for curbside recycling in February of 2006.

According to officials with the City of Loveland's Solid Waste Division, one-third of the city's households went to solid stream collection in 2009. Although solid stream might be expected to increase the amount of recyclables collected, it is also likely that the downturn in the economy accounted for the 7% reduction in 2009. Paper and paper products constitute the largest percentage of recyclables collected by weight in the City of Loveland. A slower economy often means fewer purchases packaged in cardboard in addition to a reduction in the amount of paper advertising.

For the last three years, all households in Loveland have had solid stream collection. The City of Loveland prefers residents not to include glass with the other recyclables because breakage contaminates the stream. Residents are encouraged to take glass recyclable to the Recycling Center on Wilson Avenue in Loveland.

What this chart shows: Tons of Recyclable Materials Collected in Fort Collins, 2010-2012

Data Source: City of Fort Collins Waste Reduction and Recycling (data not available online)
See data table

What the above data tell us:

The City of Fort Collins does not directly manage the recycling collection throughout the city. It does, however, require that all three trash haulers provide curbside recycling for residential customers.

Data prior to 2010 are not available because of a change in reporting methodology.

Additional Information:

Related Information on COMPASS -

Other Resources -

Other Recycling Centers in Larimer County:

Standards or Targets:

Markets for Recycled Materials

Recycling takes money and energy. Recycling programs are often partially funded by the sale of processed recyclable materials. The prices for these materials are market-driven and can fluctuate based on supply and demand. The profitability and sustainability of recycling programs are affected by these prices.

Recycling and Local Government

Data Tables:

Total Tons of Processed Recyclable Materials, Larimer County Recycling Center

Year

Total Tons Processed

2003

25,295

2004

26,424

2005

29,267

2006

33,441

2007

35,187

2008

32,247

2009

31,361

2010

33,778

2011

35,741

2012

36,918

See chart

Pounds per Capita of Processed Recyclable Materials Processed,
Larimer County Recycling Center

Year

Larimer County Population

Tons Per Capita

Pounds Per Capita

2003

268,146 0.0943329 189

2004

273,269 0.0966959 193

2005

275,873 0.1060887 212

2006

281,027 0.1189957 238

2007

286,754 0.1227080 245

2008

292,394 0.1102861 221

2009

297,502 0.1054144 211

2010

300,543 0.1123899 225

2011

305,309 0.1170650 234

2012

310,067 0.1190636 238

See chart

Tons of Recyclable Materials Collected

Year

Loveland

Diversion
Rate

2003

17,442

55%

2004

20,427

58%

2005

20,978

56%

2006

19,752

50%

2007

21,657

53%

2008

24,132

55%

2009

22,700

53%

2010

23,405

54%

2011

29,160

60%

2012

31,458

61%

See chart

Tons of Recyclable Materials Collected

Year

Fort Collins

Diversion
Rate

2010

166,973

55%

2011

182,117

58%

2012

189,740

56%

See chart