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City of Longmont compost collection truck driver Steve Klimesh empties a curbside compost bin into his truck on Monday. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)
City of Longmont compost collection truck driver Steve Klimesh empties a curbside compost bin into his truck on Monday. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)

Longmont’s staff is scheduled Tuesday night to present City Council with a comprehensive report on the status of the city’s Waste Services Program and seek direction on possible expansions or changes the council would like staff to pursue in its services of diverting recyclable and non-recyclable items and compostable materials from solid-waste landfills.

The goal of Tuesday’s review, the Public Works and Natural Resources Department staff said in a memo to council, is one of “opening a dialogue on the future of  Longmont’s Waste Services program.”

The last such comprehensive council-staff review of Longmont’s solid waste services was more than a decade ago, on Nov. 23, 2010, staff wrote.

“Much has changed since that time, including substantial declines in recycling markets, growth in Longmont that creates challenges for delivering some waste services, and an increased focus on environment and sustainability programs,” staff wrote. “Other notable changes were the addition of a voluntary composting program and a pay-as-you-throw rate structure, both in 2017.”

Staff said it is not proposing any specific changes “but is seeking a broad discussion on currentservices and direction on potential changes.”

“We are not advocating for anything” at this point, Public Works and Natural Resources Operations Director Bob Allen said in a Monday interview. “We will talk about the future of various programs.”

He said, “Unfortunately, a lot of things that could be recycled now just get thrown away.”

Charles Kamenides, the city’s waste services manager, said in a Monday interview that the volumes of materials left out for residential trash collections have grown during the COVID-19 pandemic, in Longmont and elsewhere, as people spend more time working or attending school and college classes from home.

Staff has provided council with a list of nearly 30 solid waste-related suggestions it said it has received over the past couple of years from stakeholders and Longmont community members. It said it did not prioritize the list.

Allen said one of the most commonly heard suggestions was for the city to expand its program of collecting compostable material to include all of Longmont’s residential trash customers. Under the current  3½-year-old voluntary program, residents can opt in to pay for the city to provide carts for biweekly collections of such items as compostable lawn and garden waste, soiled paper products and food scraps from those signed-up residences.

Another frequently made suggestion, Allen said, is for Longmont to adopt a “universal recycling requirement” for multi-family residential complexes and commercial businesses — including complexes and businesses served by private waste collectors — in addition to continuing the city’s providing of recyclable-materials carts for homes on city crews’ municipal trash collection service routes.

He said a third frequent suggestion was for Longmont to find more nearby locations where people can take hard-to-recycle items that cannot be left out with conventional trash.

Among the other items on the list of suggestions staff has received, it said in its report for the council’s Tuesday night review of the Waste Services Program:

  • Create more options for multiple recycle containers.
  • Create more options for different size compost containers.
  • Embed the composting fee in all trash subscriptions and include all qualifying multifamilyaccounts, up to eight-unit complexes.
  • Support development of a Boulder County compost facility.
  • Create more large-item disposal options.
  • Develop construction and demolition materials recycling requirements.
  • Require materials recycling for city-owned facilities’ construction and demolition projects.
  • Increase Longmont’s waste management fee to pay for more programs.
  • Develop a larger city Waste Diversion Center that could handle more hard-to-recycle materials such as electronics, mattresses, furniture, concrete, asphalt, lumber, pallets and drywall.
  • Develop a household chemical collection facility for paints and other chemicals.
  • Implement more aggressive pay-as-you-throw trash collection rate structures.
  • Expand the Waste Diversion Center hours.
  • Require a zero-waste policy approach for people attending all city-sponsored events.
  • Require zero waste practices in all permits for use of public places.
  • Create incentives and education to recycle grass clippings back to lawn, reduce turf grass in general, and promote natural landscape.
  • “Clarify and potentially enhance” the city’s relationship with Eco-Cycle.
  • Decrease paper shredding events from monthly to every-other-month but enhance education on adding shredded paper to compost.
  • Require construction and demolition materials recycling for all new and remodeling residential, schools and commercial construction sites..
  • Provide “earth friendly education” about dog waste disposal options including reducing use of plastic bags.
  • Create disincentives for using plastic bags.
  • Discontinue the use of plastic bottles and materials in city facilities’ vending machines.
  • Place more emphasis on “Green Star School” programs to increase learning and awareness on waste diversion. Encourage St. Vrain Valley School District to ensure all Longmont schools participate in Green Star programs.

Staff wrote that depending on council’s direction, staff will “analyze services and alternatives as necessary to identify community impacts and revenue requirements for prospective program changes and bring that information back for discussion at future council meetings.”

Longmont’s current trash-collection subscription rates “are sufficient for fully funding existing solid waste services. Increases are not likely to be needed for the next two years. However, any substantive changes to current services will most certainly require rate increases,” staff said.

If you watch

What: Longmont City Council regular meeting

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Council and city staff members will participate from remote locations. Residents can watch the meeting by clicking “play” on the video link within the interactive agenda window. The mayor will announce when people can call in to comment on general issues during public-invited-to-be-heard portions of the meeting, or to comment on specific ordinances up for public hearing.


Further information about Longmont’s Waste Services Program: