Index: Environment / Subcategory: Use of Resources

Solid Waste

Date updated: 04/23/2013

Nearly every human activity leaves behind some kind of waste. Households create ordinary garbage. Industrial and manufacturing processes create solid and hazardous wastes. Waste products must be disposed of by methods designed to be safe for human and animal life and the environment. These methods are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and include disposal of solid materials in landfills, disposal of liquid wastes in underground injection wells, and the storage and pretreatment of liquid wastes and biosolids.

The Larimer County Landfill is located south of Fort Collins on Taft Hill Road, about two miles south of Harmony Road. The landfill site also includes the Larimer County Recycling Center and the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility. To facilitate waste collection in smaller communities, Larimer County also operates four waste transfer stations. These transfer stations are located in Berthoud, Estes Park, Red Feather Lakes, and Wellington.

A vertical expansion for the Larimer County Landfill site was approved in March 1995, which meant that another ten feet of trash and cover could be placed on top of the existing fill areas. The 1995 vertical expansion added approximately 4 million cubic yards of new capacity to the original 12 million cubic yard capacity. As of 2002, the life expectancy of the landfill, without further expansion, was about 5-6 years. In April 2004, the County approved a second vertical expansion. As of 2012, the Larimer County Landfill is expected to last approximately 14 more years. When the site can no longer be expanded, the facility will be closed according to current State and Federal regulations.

There are four types of waste, as categorized for the Larimer County Waste Composition Study. The four types of waste are: residential, commercial, self-haul, and construction and demolition. For more information and definitions of the four types of waste, refer to the Larimer County Waste Composition Study (2006-2007) [pdf].

What this chart shows: Solid Waste Collected at Larimer County Landfill, 2003-2012

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

See data table

What the above data tell us:

Larimer County Landfill intake decreased 31% between 2003 and 2010. Since 2010 the landfill's intake has increased 32%.

These figures do not represent the full amount of waste produced by Larimer County residents. Some local haulers deliver loads to landfills outside of Larimer County. There is also a probability that some Larimer County residents haul their waste to landfills in Weld County [pdf].

What this chart shows: Hazardous Waste Collected at Larimer County Landfill, 2003-2012

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

See data table

What the above data tell us:

Hazardous waste collection in Larimer County has remained fairly steady over the past 10 years, until it peaked in 2012, representing a 26.7% increase over the previous year.

Larimer County residents are not charged for disposing of residential hazardous waste at the collection facility. The facility is only open on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 9:00am to 4:00pm. Please check the county's Household Hazardous Waste website for information on what materials are accepted.

What this chart shows: Fort Collins Solid Waste Collection, 2010-2012

Data Source: City of Fort Collins Utilities Department (data not available online)

See data table

What the above data tell us:

The City of Fort Collins does not operate a municipal solid waste collection system. Instead, residents in Fort Collins contract with one of three waste haulers (Gallegos Sanitation, Ram Waste Systems, or Waste Management). Curbside recycling is also available from these waste haulers.

Because the City of Fort Collins does not have control over the process, it is more difficult to determine how much solid waste is collected from residents. Methodologies for determining these amounts have changed over the years, so it wasn't possible to obtain data prior to 2010.

What this chart shows: Loveland Solid Waste Collection, 2003-2012

Data Source: City of Loveland Utilities Department (data not available online)

See data table

What the above data tell us:

The amount of waste collected in Loveland increased nearly 38.4% from 2003 to 2012. Part of the increase in solid waste generation was due to population increase. According to the Larimer County Planning Department, the Loveland's population increased nearly 18.2% between 2003 and 2012. Also during this time period, trash collection methods gradually changed from bag collection to cart pick up. The carts range in size and can hold more trash than bags used previously.

Additional Information

Related Information on COMPASS-

Other Resources-

Industry Standards or Target: N/A

Data Tables:

Larimer County Landfill Intake

Year

Solid Waste
(Cubic Yards)

Hazardous Waste
(Pounds)

2003

939,272

1,713,238

2004

848,380

1,854,547

2005

849,887

1,961,166

2006

759,970

1,925,334

2007

804,854

1,875,077

2008

755,098

1,944,417

2009

706,603

1,745,990

2010

645,412

1,735,740

2011

766,117

1,561,306

2012

851,803

1,978,830

See Solid Waste chart

See Hazardous Waste chart

Fort Collins Solid Waste Collection

Year

Total Tons Collected

2010

142,427

2011

132,499

2012

139,060

See chart

Loveland Solid Waste Collection

Year

Total Tons Collected

2003

14,496

2004

15,051

2005

16,339

2006

19,727

2007

19,032

2008

19,797

2009

20,214

2010

19,906

2011

19,787

2012

20,059

See chart