After living in two different apartment complexes in Capitol Hill in the last three years, I am tired of having nowhere to put my recycling. Before moving to Denver, I lived in Wheat Ridge and Boulder where recycling services were readily available at all of my residences. It never even dawned on me that I would ever live somewhere with no recycling. It seemed like such an obvious service that no residential place should operate without.
Recycling is important to me. The overproduction of waste by corporations has played the most significant contribution to climate change for longer than I’ve been alive. Although corporations create the greatest amount of waste by far in comparison to individuals, I feel better doing what I can to slow down the rapid destruction of our planet in ways I can control. Recycling is one of the easiest ways I can contribute to fighting against the corporate greed that keeps waste generation at astonishingly high quantities.
But how can I contribute in this simple way if there is nowhere to put my recyclable papers and containers? My partner and I have a corner of our kitchen that we have begun to jokingly refer to as Recycle Island. We’ve chosen humor to cope with the frustrating inability to access recycling at our building. With nowhere convenient to place our recyclable materials, we have to wait for our friend with connections to a recycling center in Boulder to load Recycle Island into their car whenever they’re free. With all of our busy schedules, Recycle Island can sometimes pile up for months and take up a quarter of our kitchen before we’re able to transport it out of our apartment, just to let it build up again.
The Waste No More Denver ballot measure would take this unnecessary burden off apartment dwellers in Denver by mandating that landlords provide recycling and compost dumpsters. If this measure passes, we would no longer have to watch our dumpsters fill up with piles of perfectly reusable cardboard and plastic bottles. Instead, we could simply walk out our doors to find designated recycling dumpsters to pass our excess of papers and plastics along with ease. No more Recycle Islands taking over kitchen floors, no more jumping through ridiculous hoops to get our recyclables where they belong. Recycling shouldn’t have to be a complicated multistep process. One day, we’ll look back in disbelief that our city buried so many valuable materials in the landfill. That’s why I encourage all Denver voters to vote yes on Measure 306 to make sure everyone gets access to recycling services, regardless of whether they live in a house, condo or apartment.
Bex Schmelzel, Denver