All city residents should enroll in the new trash and recycling program by August 18
Enrollment is open for Glenwood Springs residents to select cart sizes as part of the new city-wide trash and recycling program, Pay as You Throw. Residents should assess service level needs and enroll with a desired service level selection anytime through the new deadline, August 18, 2023. To enroll or for more information, visit cogs.us/PAYT.
Who should enroll?
All residents within city limits in single family homes or multi-family residential units of seven or less. Any applicable residences that do not complete enrollment will be automatically enrolled at the default level which is the medium trash with medium recycling option ($25.44 per month).
“Thanks to everyone who has already enrolled. If you haven’t yet, but you live in the city limits, be sure that you enroll your residence by August 18,” said Public Information Officer Bryana Starbuck. “Even if you are already a Mountain Waste customer or you want the medium service option, you still need to enroll to get your information into the new billing system and to be able to take advantage of the 60-day grace period after implementation.”
Services will begin in November 2023 and will be billed through the City's Finance Department on water bills. Curbside options for trash and recycling are highly customizable based on household needs. There are several trash can and recycling bin size combinations available to choose from to meet your specific needs.
Staff will also work with those residential haulers whose current service will stop in November to remove existing carts prior to delivery of new carts under the PAYT system. After services begin, residents will be able to change the size of service for free during the first 60 days.
You can enroll online on the program website at cogs.us/PAYT, in-person at City Hall, by phone at 970-384-6426 or by email at PAYT@cogs.us. Additional information is available on the project webpage at cogs.us/PAYT.
Why are we implementing Pay as You Throw (PAYT)?
Moving to a single-hauler, volume-based pricing system will have major benefits for Glenwood residents.
It will mean:
- Less truck traffic in town (safer streets, less exhaust fumes, protects neighborhood character)
- Less damage to our streets (a single trip from a trash truck causes the same damage as 9,000 passenger vehicle tips on our roads)
- Less greenhouse gas emissions (from trash trucks and individual trips for household disposal at the recycle center and landfill)
- More convenient access to recycling (curbside is part of every person’s service)
- Better control and oversight of what happens to recycling (quarterly reports, contamination prevention)
- Incentives to reduce overall waste (the less you waste, the less you spend)
- Preservation of diversion programs such as the Recycle Center, Hazardous Waste Drop-Off, Yard-Waste/Leaves/Tree Drop-off
In the long-run, PAYT will:
- Help extend the life of our landfill (70% to 80% of the material we're throwing away could be recycled in existing recycling and composting programs)
- Delay the need for costly expansions (which will have steep cost increases for everyone) and makes it more feasible to do smaller scale expansions at the landfill.
- Optimizes Glenwood’s position to be prepared to access funding mechanisms from the Producer Responsibility Program for Statewide Recycling Act when they are ready in 2026/2027.
“We’re approaching this issue from multiple angles by implementing the PAYT program, setting up policies such as larger tipping fees on construction and demolition waste, and making household diversions as easy as possible with programs such as the Recycle Center and the Hazardous Waste drop-off event,” said City Manager Dr. Beverli Marshall. “At the same time, we have to setup a holistic and financially sustainable program to support the longevity of our shared infrastructure.”
There are four basic options for trash service levels – large, medium, small, and super-saver. The super-saver trash service option is a 32-gallon trash and 32-gallon recycling cart collected every other week and is priced comparably to taking two to three bags of trash to the Recycle Center every month, but with the convenience of curbside pick-up.
The three other trash service level options will be picked up weekly: small (about 32-gallon cart), medium (about 64-gallon cart), and large (about 96-gallon cart). The small cart holds approximately two tall kitchen bags, the medium holds about five bags and the large holds up to seven.
Every resident will have single-stream recycling service provided at no additional cost. Recycling carts will be collected every other week (recycling cart size will not change the bundled price). You can select any size for your recycling, but your recycling cart must be the same size or bigger than your trash cart.
Wildlife-resistant trash service is available in four sizes. See below for details.
Monthly cost is based on the size of your trash bin. Single-stream recycling service every other week is included in the price. After services begin in November, residents will be able to change the size of service for free during the first 60 days.
Be sure to select the size that works best for your household. There is a $12.72 overflow fee per occurrence. You should be able to fully close the lid on your cart with everything inside (don’t stack materials next to your trash or recycling cart). If an account has had three or more occurrences of overflow in a calendar year, they will be required to move to the larger trash cart.
“Volume-based pricing is intended to encourage more thoughtful disposal practices. Households can save money on their trash bill by reducing the amount of trash they create. Methods to reduce what you are sending to the landfill includes recycling, utilizing the yard-waste drop off, considering household consumption, and potentially utilizing options to divert food waste such as the free drop-off at the recycle center,” added Starbuck.
Trash Cart Options
*Super saver options are collected every-other-week
Recycling Cart Options
Super Saver (32 gallons*)
Small, Medium, or Large
Small (32 gallons)
Small, Medium, or Large
Medium (64 gallons)
Medium or Large
Large (96 gallons)
Wildlife Resistant Super Saver (32 gallons*)
Small, Medium, or Large
Wildlife Resistant Small (32 gallons)
Small, Medium, or Large
Wildlife Resistant Medium (64 gallons)
Medium or Large
Wildlife Resistant Large (96 gallons)
Wildlife-resistant trash carts are available in three sizes with service provided on a 12-month minimum basis.
Mountain Waste and Recycling will be able to service existing wildlife carts in the “Rear Load Truck” section of town. The rear load trucks are manually operated thus owner carts can be utilized. The rest of town will be serviced by Automatic Side Load trucks and will require these addresses to utilize compatible carts leased from Mountain Waste as part of this program. The cost of the wildlife-resistant service reflects the higher capital cost of the carts and the average damage rate at approximately 1.5 to 2.5 years for cart replacement.
Households that already have wildlife-resistant carts that are not compatible with the service trucks have the option to participate in the wildlife cart buy-back program which will cover up to 75% of the original purchase price of the cart with a max of $225 per household.
The City completed a Waste Composition Study which showed that approximately 70% to 80% of materials currently going into the South Canyon Landfill could be recycled if residents participated in recycling and composting programs. Under PAYT, Glenwood residents will have convenient access to single-stream recycling, increased education around recycling, and a financial incentive to recycle over putting recyclables into the trash. Further, the City will be able to prevent contamination through the ‘oops tags’ system and better reporting of recycling collection metrics.
In addition to reporting on the composition and destination of recyclables, the city’s contractor will perform a quarterly audit of one zone of the city to measure recyclable contamination levels. This will help the city and MWR analyze outreach efforts, develop educational materials, and evaluate landfill diversion.
The Recycle Center in Glenwood Springs will remain open and continue with normal operations. This will help individuals who do not meet the Residential Home guidelines of 7 units or less to continue to recycle and allows an alternate option if households have overflow. The Recycle Center will also continue to have a food scrap bin for households looking to further divert food waste by composting. Learn more about the Recycle Center at cogs.us/recycle.
Single-stream, Curbside Recycling
The PAYT recycling carts are single-stream, so you don't need to separate your recycling. You'll also leave your recycling items unbagged. Like your trash cart, you'll always want to be able to close the lid (no cardboard stacked next to your cart).
In the curbside recycling, customers may recycle the following items:
- Aluminum cans (do not crush)
- Steel or tin cans (rinsed)
- Pie tins
- Corrugated cardboard (flattened)
- Chipboard (cereal and tissue boxes)
- Newspapers (including inserts)
- Mixed paper
- Bulk or junk mail
- Office paper
- Phone books
- Brown paper bags
- Plastics #1-6 (if not labeled, do not recycle; No PLA)
- Plastic milk jug
- Detergent bottles
- Glass bottles and jars (rinsed)
To maximize glass recycling, residents are encouraged to continue to bring glass containers to the Recycle Center. While, curbside recycling does include glass, direct drop-off at the recycle center minimizes breakage of the glass which means it is more effectively recycled.
Special Case Requirements
All short-term rentals within the city limits of Glenwood Springs (properties that are rented for less than 30 consecutive days) are required to enroll at the large trash level. All short-term rentals are required to obtain a permit from the City of Glenwood Springs.
Addresses that have both commercial and residential uses may either opt-in to the PAYT program for the residential part of the building or keep the whole building under a commercial service. The PAYT program, per state statute, does not include commercial trash and recycling services at this time.
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
ADUs with separate water accounts can either enroll separately in the PAYT program or together under the primary address. However, if one of the units is a short-term rental, it must enroll separately with the large trash service level.
Temporary Gap in Service “Out of Town” Option
Once each calendar year, accounts will be able to request temporary holds in service for a minimum of three and a maximum of four months consecutively. During the temporary service hold, services will not be billed. At the end of the temporary hold, service will resume at the existing service level. To request a temporary hold in service, contact the City at PAYT@cogs.us.
Cart Swap Details
In October or the early weeks of November, customers will receive mailed information about your trash and recycling day of the week, pick up calendars, and recycling information. Existing carts will be picked up either by the trash hauler who owns the cart or by the city. Mountain Waste and Recycling will drop-off new carts to each household.
Collection will occur at the curb or alley line depending on the customer’s property and current service location. An exhibit of where the cart should be place during your pickup day will be included in the information packet sent to you.
Can I opt out?
There is no opt-out option for applicable residents; however, the smallest bin option under PAYT (Super Saver) is priced comparably to taking two to three bags of trash for disposal to the Recycle Center each month, but with the convenience of curbside pick-up. The Super Saver is $10.80 per month and accommodates approximately two (2) tall kitchen garbage bags every two weeks. The contractor will provide a 32-gallon trash container that will be picked up every other week. With the Super Saver option, you have the option of a small, medium, or large single-stream recycling cart with every-other-week pick-up at no additional cost.
With PAYT, we are treating waste and recycling services like any other utility to create a financially sustainable system. On your other utility bills, you will notice that there is a base fee you will pay even in a month where you may have used no water or electricity. This base fee exists to pay for the maintenance and operation of that utilities’ infrastructure which we must continue to maintain regardless of the individual level of use. Infrastructure that must be maintained to meet our waste and recycling needs includes everything from trash trucks, to landfill employees, to the cost of operation at the Recycle Center, to processing equipment, to the permits required to manage waste – all of these things have a cost. Everyone in our community uses this infrastructure at some point in the waste management process and by having a tiered pricing system, we balance sharing the cost and requiring folks who produce the most waste to pay the most back to the system.
Under our new waste and recycling system, by starting the smallest option at $10.80 per month, it allows us to provide basic trash and recycling pickup plus maintain all the waste and recycling services that our community desires. These services include our annual hazardous waste collection day, seasonal and weekend yard waste drop-offs in South Glenwood, free compost drop-off at the recycle center, household battery recycling at the recycle center, and overall operations of the recycle center including hauling of the recycle containers to their destination point, staffing of the recycle center, maintenance of the facility, and more. Without a sustainable and holistic utility, we will not be able to continue these great free services.
In March 2023, Glenwood Springs City Council approved the transition to a single hauler collection system for residential trash and recyclables. This new approach to city waste hauling services follows a multi-year discussion and public process to discuss the move to a single contract model for trash and recycling services within the city limits, this included several city council meetings open to the public, pop-up events, and an online survey to inform the request for proposals (RFP) process. Public input was gathered, and considered every step along the decision-making process.
Staff conducted a competitive procurement process to identify a contract hauler. All haulers currently providing residential collection in the city were invited to participate. City Council directed staff to conduct negotiation for a five-year contract with Mountain Waste and Recycling (MWR), whose proposal was the most responsive to the city’s requirements for efficient service and reasonable cost.
“The benefits of this program will be significant for the residents of Glenwood – fewer trash trucks on our roads, safer and less congested streets, less routine truck damage to streets, less tailpipe emissions, increased access to proper recycling, and in most cases, reduced costs,” said Starbuck. “Making this move clearly makes sense to improve quality of life, promote stewardship of our landfill, and observe best practices for managing waste.”
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Law
In 2022, the State of Colorado signed the Producer Responsibility Program for Statewide Recycling Act (House Bill 22-1355) into law. This state statue sets up a Producer Responsibility Organization that requires companies that sell printed paper and packaging in the state to fund collection, transportation and processing costs associated with recycling those materials. While exact program and funding details are not yet finalized, this program is expected to largely defray the cost of the recycling portion of the City’s new collection program. By implementing PAYT now, Glenwood Springs optimizes our position to be prepared to access these funding mechanisms when they are ready in 2026/2027.