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Community Recycling Ordinance#

The Community Recycling Ordinance was unanimously approved by Fort Collins City Council in September 2016. It includes required recycling service for all multi-family and businesses effective since June 30 2021, service surcharges on residential trash/recycling bills, seasonal yard trimmings collection, and grocer composting

Ordinance Language

Recycling at Businesses & Multifamily Units#


As of June 30, 2021, all trash / recycling haulers in Fort Collins city limits are required to charge all customers for baseline recycling service including businesses and multi-family customers (apartments and condos). 

This provides businesses and residents in apartment / condo complexes the same level of access to recycling that single-family homes have. 

Under this requirement:#

  • Businesses and multi-family units within For Collins city limits are required to subscribe to single stream recycling services.  
  • A minimum of 33% of each business or apartment complex’s total waste service volume must be recycling. 
    • As one example, if a location currently has 6 cubic yards of trash service per week and no recycling, it will need to redistribute service to 4 cubic yards per week of trash service and at least 2 cubic yards per week of recycling service (2 cubic yards is 33% of the 6 cubic yard overall service volume). 
  • Haulers are required to add minimum recycling services to the collection of multi-family units and businesses. 
  • The additional cost of recycling can be reduced by “right-sizing” your service. Locations can reduce their level of trash service (either by downsizing their trash dumpsters or reducing pick up frequency) because recyclables that were previously in the trash, can now be placed in recycling containers. The example above shows right-sizing trash service from 6 cubic yards to 4 cubic yards per week. 

Business and Multifamily Recycling FAQ

Starting or Increasing Service#

Contact your waste hauler to sign up for or increase recycling service.  Help calculate the right service level for your location by using this Service Level Calculator.  

Download Service Level Calculator

Recycling Right#

The City’s WRAP (Waste Reduction and Recycling Assistance Program) has a variety of resources available to establish a successful recycling program. 

The program can provide:

  • Recycling Signage & Educational Materials 
  • Recycling Education 
  • On-Site Assessments  

Learn More

Can’t Add Recycling Service?#

A variance may be granted to a location with special circumstances by the City of Fort Collins if: 

  • The location does not generate single-stream recyclables or the single-stream recyclables are less than 33% of the waste generated from the location. 
  • Recyclables are self-hauled to a recycling drop-off center by the business or multi-family complex management (rather than hiring a hauler to collect the recyclables). 
  • The location utilizes separate licensed collectors for trash and recycling. 
  • Space constraints on the property preventing the addition of additional dumpsters or carts on your property. 
    • This variance does not apply if an existing enclosure is too small but there is space available to relocate or expand the enclosure on the property. In this case, a new site plan may need to be developed through a minor amendment process. Contact:, 970 416-2148.
  • The only available location to service recycling bin(s) is deemed unsafe to service. 

Apply for a variance by browsing the variance instructions and filling out the Recycling Variance Request Form.

Completed forms should be submitted to

After the form is reviewed, a notification indicating if the variance was approved or denied will be sent.  

Locations with denied variances will need to work with their trash hauler and the City to establish recycling service in accordance with the Community Recycling Ordinance or elect to sign a Recycling Service Refusal Confirmation acknowledging you are paying for services but declining on-site bins. 

Other Changes Adopted as Part of the Community Recycling Ordinance#

Trash and recycling haulers are now required to provide optional seasonal yard trimmings collection for curbside customers from April to November. They may charge an extra fee separate to residents who choose this service.

Yard trimmings include leaves, grass, weeds and other yard trimmings.

Residents can contact their hauler to sign up for this service.

Learn More

The Community Recycling Ordinance requires all grocers to subscribe to food scraps collection service if they generate 96 gallons / week or more of food scraps.

This requirement went into effect at the end of 2017, and all Fort Collins grocers are meeting the requirements.

The Community Recycling Ordinance allows private trash haulers the option to charge a "service surcharge" on residential trash / recycling bills, equal to up to 25% of the cost of the smallest trash cart.

This fee is at the discretion of each trash hauling company, and revenue from the fee stays with the private hauler.

The fee is intended to account for fluctuations in the cost of doing business, such as fuel costs or recycling tip fees.

Project Development#

  • The Community Recycling Ordinance was discussed by City Council on the following dates.
  • Many outreach events / community conversations were held during the development of the Community Recycling Ordinance. See video of the first community conversation here.