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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 by the end of June 2021, service surcharges on residential trash / recycling bills, seasonal yard trimmings collection, and grocer composting.

Ordinance Language

Business & Apartment / Condo Recycling#


By the end of June 2021, all trash / recycling haulers in Fort Collins are required to provide recycling service to all businesses and multi-family customers (apartments and condos). This allows businesses and residents in apartment / condo complexes to have the same level of access to recycling service that single-family homes have had for decades.

Under this requirement:

  • Businesses and apartment complexes not already recycling should sign up with their waste hauler.
  • A minimum of 30% of each business or apartment / condo complex’s total service volume must be recycling
    • For example, if your location has 4 cubic yards per week of trash service, it would need at least 2 cubic yards per week of recycling service (2 is 1/3 of the overall service volume of 6 cubic yards)
  • Haulers can charge a separate fee for this service.

Starting Service#

Educational Materials

Need help starting or improving your business or apartment complex’s recycling program? The City’s WRAP (Waste Reduction and Recycling Assistance Program) can help!

"Right-Sizing Service"

The additional cost of recycling can help be offset by “right-sizing your service”. Locations can reduce their level of trash service (either by downsizing their dumpsters or reducing pick up frequency) because recyclables that were previously in the trash will now be in the recycling bin.

Can’t Add Recycling Service?#

Have a special circumstance and cannot add recycling service? A variance may be granted to the location by the City of Fort Collins if:

  • Space constraints prevent the addition of recycling collection service
  • Recyclables are self-hauled to a recycling drop-off center by the business or apartment residents (rather than hiring a hauler to collect the recyclables)
  • The location utilizes separate licensed collectors for trash and recycling
  • The only available location to service recycling bin(s) is deemed unsafe to service.

Apply for a variance by filling out the Recycling Variance Form. Completed forms should be submitted to 

View Recycling Variance Form

Other Changes Adopted as Part of the Community Recycling Ordinance#

Yard Trimmings Collection for Residents of Single-Family Homes

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

Pile of Food Waste

Grocer Composting

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.

Bins on Street

Service Surcharge Allowed for Single-Family Residential Trash / Recycling

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#

City Council Work Sessions & Regular Meetings#

  • 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.

Project Contact#

Caroline Mitchell, Lead Waste Reduction and Recycling Specialist, at or 970-221-6288.