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Commercial Waste Reduction

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Denver has a longstanding commitment to reducing and ultimately diverting the waste that goes to landfills. While residential waste reduction progress continues, the need to focus on reducing the amount of commercial (or business-related) waste has become obvious. The EPA reports that commercial waste makes up a significant percentage of total waste in landfills, but the available resources to guide communities with managing it has been nonexistent.

The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) established a grant for the creation of a waste reduction toolkit to assist communities, waste managers and industry businesses to seek methods to reduce costs, environmental liability, land use and planning concerns associated with managing commercial waste.

The report and its supporting materials, listed below, detail previously unavailable commercial waste diversion strategies, including:

  • Customized Case Studies
  • Waste Diversion Decision Tool - A roadmap for Decision-making

This report was created for USDN through funding provided by JBP Foundation, Surdna Foundation, and Summit Foundation.

Additional Information

The “Commercial Pick” Decision Tool provides jurisdictions with a tailored set of program options that can be organized into a local plan. Based on the current conditions in each community, this tool identifies program and case studies from similar communities that are implementing successful commercial waste reduction programs.

Download the Commercial Pick here.

The tool can also be used to manage “What If” scenarios by changing the answers to the initial questions about the community. This allows the user to view which programs could be feasible if the community had different baseline conditions, such as sustainability goals or hauler franchising. By repeating this process, the user can view additional potential options that may serve the community’s focus and overall planning.

Once the tool provides the tailored output, including identified programs and case studies, users can review the details of those programs and case studies, as well as related regulations and mandates and example educational information. It will be up to each community/user to determine exactly which components work for their community to create actionable plans that suite the community’s specifics needs and phase.

Things you can do

Links to more information for the City of Denver:

  • City and County of Denver business and multi-family recycling page, click here.
  • Certifiably Green Denver provides free, confidential, non-regulatory environmental assistance to Denver’s business community. The program helps your business find opportunities to improve efficiency and profitability while minimizing environmental liability through pollution prevention. Sustainability advisers are provided at no cost and begin by visiting your business to complete a comprehensive assessment identifying ways to conserve.

The 2013 Roadmap to Commercial Waste Reduction report, in conjunction with the associated decision tool and website, will provide your community with guidance when choosing an effective and well-suited commercial waste diversion program. The information and recommendations are based on extensive reviews of literature, case studies of real world programs, and statistical analysis. These materials provide an extensive examination of best practices for commercial waste recycling and diversion as well as decision making tools that benefit both USDN members and other jurisdictions across the nation.

To download the report, click here: Commercial Waste Report

The following appendices provide additional background information to the report. To download the appendices, please click on each below:

Contact the Program Manager

For further information regarding the report or the decision tool, contact:
Diane DeLillio, Project Manager


Media Relations

Ann Cecchine-Williams
Interim Communications Director

Tammy Vigil
Manager of Media Relations


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