New Denver Recycling Service Will Take Your Hard-To-Recycle Items

SustainAbility, WeeCycle, We Don't Waste, Denver Sustainability, Ellie Sullum
Photo Courtesy of Ridwell

Ever tried recycling a pair of pants? Unlike plastic bottles and paper, recycling household items can feel less like a chore and more of a full-blown project. Hard-to-recycle items such as clothing, batteries and plastic film end up in landfills more often than not. 

While recycling is a popular program to support, only 35% of Americans actually do it. Experts cite lack of access or convenience as the main reason not to participate.

Ridwell Denver has a solution. The subscription-based recycling service is fully dedicated to making recycling household items more accessible. They operate as a bi-weekly, door-to-door pickup. Instead of throwing hard-to-recycle items in the trash, Ridwell provides Denverites a convenient alternative for disposing of household items.  

Ridwell Denver 

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Photo courtesy of Ridwell

In 2018, Ridwell founder and CEO Ryan Metzger tried recycling dead batteries; he felt shocked by the difficulty of the process. This inspired him to create a neighborhood pickup program for hard-to-recycle items. Eventually, it grew into Ridwell. Subscribers receive a metal Ridwell bin along with cloth bags for sorting items. Ridwell first launched in Seattle, Washington; the company announced its Denver program in spring 2021. 

Items are split into four categories: plastic film, such as produce bags and Amazon envelopes, batteries, light bulbs and textiles. Each category is not currently accepted in Denver local curbside bins; Ridwell ensures all those items can be recycled properly. Additionally, Ridwell collects items in a seasonal fifth category. Seasonal category items benefit local community partners in Denver, including food items, lightly used decorations and raw materials that are repurposed into new products. 

Environmental Impact

Ridwell, Denver Sustainability, WeeCycle, We Don't Waste, Ellie Sullum, Ryan Metzger
Photo courtesy of Ridwell

“We have now helped our members keep over 2,000,000 pounds of unnecessary waste out of the landfill,” said Metzger. “Since curbside recycling programs are constantly shifting, residents recycle things they shouldn’t and end up contaminating the whole bin. We help fill in the missing gaps and make it easy to recycle responsibly with the knowledge that trash is finding a new purpose and staying out of the landfill.”

Rather than spend hours trying to recycle household items alone or throwing them in the trash, members can recycle their household items within minutes. “Our service supplements Denver’s existing recycling program and provides residents of Denver an affordable means of saving the landfills from filling up with materials that can be reused,” said Metzger.

Denver is home to a handful of recycling services, including the Happy Beetle and SustainAbility. Given the capacity needed to scale a door-to-door recycling program, each company expands its geographic availability over time. Ridwell is unique in its neighborhood-centered business model. Ridwell offers different special categories in each neighborhood serviced in order to better meet the needs of residents and community partners. 

In addition to Ridwell’s recycling program, the company has several local partners for re-purposing items. Local organizations like SustainAbility, WeeCycle, and We Don’t Waste partner with Ridwell to recycle and re-purpose additional types of household items. SustainAbility is a similar recycling service; they partner with Ridwell over seasonal collection projects. WeeCycle takes any gently used or new essentials for babies, and We Don’t Waste collects seasonal food items. 

Ridwell Denver offers pickup in nine Denver neighborhoods: Park Hill, Hilltop, Central Park, University Park, Wash Park, Cherry Creek, Highlands, Capitol Hill and Five Points. The company plans to continue expanding until it reaches citywide access. Subscription pricing is neighborhood-based. Pricing plans are available in three-month, six-month and 12-month subscriptions. For example, the Capitol Hill neighborhood offers a three-month subscription at $16/month.

Learn more about Ridwell’s subscription service here.

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