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Recycling & Trash Ordinances#

Disposable Bag Ordinance#

The Disposable Bag Ordinance was passed by the City Council in February of 2021, affirmed by voters in the April 2021 election, and later amended in March 2022. 

The Fort Collins Disposable Bag Ordinance bans plastic bags and puts a 10-cent fee on paper bags at large Fort Collins grocers starting May 1, 2022

Customers who receive income-qualified assistance at local, state, and federal levels do not have to pay the 10-cent fee for paper bags. Examples include Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) (including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Women, Infant and Children (WIC); Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); and Colorado Cash Assistance Programs), Get:FoCo, and Health First (Medicaid) cardholders.

Grocers will use the paper bag fees for staff training, recovering paper bag costs, promotional items, and signage for their stores. The rest will go to the City of Fort Collins to support further efforts to reduce plastic pollution, reduce waste, and increase efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle. 

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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.

See ordinance language for more information. Note: In 2020, the ordinance was amended to change implementation of recycling for businesses and multi-family complexes to end of June 2021. View updated language

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Zero Waste Goals#

On December 17th 2013, Fort Collins City Council adopted Resolution 2013-111 establishing a waste diversion policy that would help the city meet its zero waste goals. The plan calls for 75% waste diversion by the year 2020, 90% by 2025 and 100% or "Zero Waste" by 2030.

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Cardboard Ordinance#

The City of Fort Collins Cardboard ordinance went into effect on March 15, 2013. All entities that use cardboard in Fort Collins are included in the ordinance, such as residents, businesses, and industrial operations. All clean cardboard should be recycled. Non-recyclable cardboard such as waxed cardboard (used to ship bulk produce), or food-contaminated cardboard (such as heavily soiled/greasy pizza boxes) should be composted or landfilled.

See ordinance language for more information.

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Construction And Demolition Recycling Requirements#

On January 1, 2012, Fort Collins’ building code was updated. It states, "For new buildings and additions over 2,500 square feet or remodels over 2,500 square feet, a construction waste management plan acceptable to the building official that includes recycling of concrete and masonry, wood, metals and cardboard, is required at the time of application for a building permit. The construction waste management plan shall be implemented and conspicuously posted on the construction site. Compliance shall be certified by the hauler through receipts and signed affidavits. Substantive changes to the plan shall be subject to prior approval by the building official."

The City of Fort Collins encourages building owners, designers and builders to plan ahead and manage construction waste. Some local projects, such as Poudre School District’s construction of new schools, recycle or reuse 90% of the materials generated by the project. More information construction debris recycling and how to comply with the building code is available here.

See building code for more information.

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Electronic Waste Ordinance#

In 2007, the City of Fort Collins banned the landfill disposal of electronic waste (e-waste). Click here for more information on what e-waste is and how to properly dispose of it. In 2013, the State of Colorado also passed an electronics landfill disposal ban, making it illegal to landfill electronic waste anywhere in Colorado.

See ordinance language for more information.

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Trash And Recycling Enclosure Requirements#

The City of Fort Collins amended the Land Use Code in 2004 to require that trash enclosures be designed and built with sufficient space to accommodate recycling in all new commercial or multi-family housing construction. With this requirement, the City ensures that future tenants or occupants who wish to recycle are not constrained by a lack of space.

Structures that are exempt from the provisions are single-family homes and multi-family dwellings where there are no central or communal refuse or recycling collection or storage facilities (in other words, locations where refuse and recyclable materials are stored and collected on an individual unit basis).

See ordinance language for more information. Note: Section 6. Subsection 3.2.5 Trash and Recycling Enclosures begins on page 4.

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Pay-As-You-Throw Ordinance#

Fort Collins' "Pay-As-You-Throw" (PAYT) ordinance was adopted in 1996 and has been regularly updated since then. The ordinance requires trash haulers to be licensed by the City of Fort Collins. The ordinance also requires the following for residents of single family homes:

  • A trash bill based on the size of your trash receptacle
  • Two 96-gallon carts of recycling included at no additional charge
  • Recycling offered in a wheeled 64 or 96-gallon recycling cart. Some haulers also offer an 18-gallon recycling tub
  • Hauler may include a service surcharge on bills to pay for fluctuating cost of doing service such as fuel costs or charges to deliver recyclables
  • All haulers offer an optional yard trimmings collection service from April to November (for an extra charge)
  • Haulers will mail an educational flyer including recycling guidelines and information about the PAYT ordinance, developed by the City, to all customers receiving any paper communications at least once per year. If a customer receives only electronic communications, including the annual service calendar, this flyer can be sent electronically.
  • All aspects of the PAYT ordinance apply to residents of single-family homes who live in homeowners associations as well as those who subscribe directly with the hauler.

Please contact the City of Fort Collins Environmental Services Department at 970-221-6600 if you feel that your trash service is not meeting these provisions.

See ordinance language for more information.

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Current Fort Collins Municipal Code#