Denver Arts and Venues has embarked a major new effort to compost trash from prominent Denver venues, including the world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheater. That means tons of garbage from concert-goers and sports fans won’t head to area landfills in the years ahead – but instead will end up as soil for farms and gardens. Denver composting and recycling news is making waves throughout other US cities.
Two local companies are partnering with Denver Arts and Venues to help with the Red RocksAmphitheater composting and trash recycling, as well as composting and trash recycling from the Colorado Convention Center, the Historic Denver Coliseum and the Denver Performing Arts Complex.
Eco-Products, based in Boulder, will supply the sustainable foodservice packaging, including compostable beer cups and nacho trays. Alpine Waste and Recycling, based in Commerce City, will pick up and process all recycling and compost from the venues.
“Denver has become a national leader in reducing the amount of garbage going to landfills,” said Brian Kitts, Director of Marketing and Communications for Denver Arts and Venues. “This is one more reason to feel good about living in Denver. Together, we’re doing more to help the environment and make Denver the best — and greenest — city in America.”
Red Rocks, the Colorado Convention Center, the Historic Denver Coliseum and the Denver Performing Arts Complex have all been working hard to reduce the amount of trash going to landfills, Kitts said. Last year, Red Rocks was able to divert about 80 percent of the waste generated by events there.
With this new partnership, Red Rocks is aiming for a whopping 90 percent. That will be possible thanks to the collection of compostable cups, plates and containers made by Eco-Products.
While some foodservice packaging can be recycled, not everything can be. To divert this part of the waste stream from the landfill, compostable packaging is the only option, said Wendell Simonson, Vice President of Marketing for Eco-Products. To keep things simple for patrons, Eco-Products will supply only compostable food packaging so that all of it can be disposed of in the same bins.
“Red Rocks is truly a natural wonder — one of the most beautiful venues on the planet — and we’re proud to help Red Rock visitors keep it that way,” Simonson said. “We’ll supply cups and plates that are both high quality and compostable, so patrons will have the best of both worlds when they visit Denver’s venues.”
Aramark and Centerplate are the two companies that manage the concessions and janitorial operations for Denver Arts and Venues. At Red Rocks, Aramark employees work for hours after shows collecting and sorting waste inside the venue as well as out in the parking lots.
“There are a lot of people doing a lot of hard work to keep this venue pristine,” said Scott Yeager, General Manager of Aramark. “All of us want to conserve our resources and preserve the beauty of this amazing place.”
Once the material is collected and sorted, Alpine Waste & Recycling transports it from the venues back to the company’s facility in Bennett. There the compostables are added to windrows with other compostable materials like food scraps and yard waste.
All of this is then turned into organic materials such as gardening soil.
“Composting represents another great opportunity for waste diversion at Denver’s venues,” said John Griffith, president of Alpine Waste and Recycling. “Alpine is grateful to play a role in furthering Denver’s efforts toward sustainability.”
Eco-Products is embossing all of the cups and plates with a special logo and design, reminding patrons that the packaging is compostable. The logo also will serve as a reminder about the importance of conserving resources.
“What better time to reach people than when they’re relaxed, taking in a concert and having a beer?” Simonson said. “They’re holding a cup and seeing that they can place it in something other than a trash bin.
“Sure, it’s just one cup, but it all adds up in a big way,” Simonson said. “And it’s one of the simplest and easiest ways to help the environment.”
Photo Credit: Eco-Products