By Jack Lowenstein

(CBS4) — Round two of discussions was underway at Denver City Council Tuesday to create a pay-as-you-throw fee in hopes of decreasing waste and increasing recycling in Denver.

(credit: CBS)

According to the city, Denver recycles 26% of its waste, while other cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco recycle over 75% of its waste.

With the possibility of the pay-as-you-throw fee, the city would expand its residential waste services by providing weekly recycling and compost collection for all customers.

The goal is to have residents recycle and compost more of what they throw away and reduce the amount of trash the city sends to the landfill. Under the proposed system, Denver residents would pay $9 dollars for trash cans that are 35 gallons, $13 dollars for cans that are 65 gallons and $21 for 95 gallons.

“I have struggled with the idea of adding any fees at this point in time,” said City Councilman Paul Kashmann

CBS4 spoke to Mayor Mike Hancock ahead of the day’s meeting. He hopes this will curb the habits of people in the city to focus on recycling — rather than throwing away and creating more waste.

“We are incentivizing people to throw trash away and to send to a dump site and when we have multiple streams of opportunity to recycle and compost,” Hancock told CBS4. “And so what we’re trying to do is to flip that paradigm and to say what we are going to incentivize you to do is to so that right thing. And that is the less you toss, and send to the dumpsite, the less it’s going to cost us all.”

Denver City Council met 10:30 a.m. Tuesday to discuss the proposal.

Jack Lowenstein