Any Denverite can tell you that Denver, Colorado, is the place to be. With an abundance of restaurants, attractions, and outdoor activities, the Mile High City draws tourists from all over the world. However, hosting a multitude of people produces a multitude of waste, and the City and County of Denver reportedly collect more than 220,000 tons of waste from local homes each year.
So, where do those 220,000 tons of waste go? While most folks are familiar with the weekly collection service (aka the trash truck coming through your neighborhood every Wednesday morning, for example), that’s just the beginning.
After completing their route, every junk hauler will end their day at a local transfer station. Instead of hauling their load all the way to a landfill, transfer stations serve as a kind of stop-over. There are four transfer stations that serve the Denver area, depending on where you’re located.
If you are located in North Denver, your debris will be taken to either the Waste Management – D&R Transfer Station or the All Recycling North Transfer Station. If you are located in South or Southwest Denver, your trash will go to the Waste Management – South Metro Transfer Station or the Waste Connections of Colorado – Jordan Rd. Transfer Station. If you are in East Denver, your waste will go directly to Waste Management – Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site (DADS) Landfill.
Once your trash reaches the transfer station, it is compacted and piled onto a larger truck. (This saves both time and emissions, successfully decreasing the carbon footprint.) Then, that larger truck will transport the waste to the landfill.
As we mentioned, Denver’s most prominent landfill is the Waste Management – Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site (DADS) Landfill. In a nutshell, this is where the fun begins. When the transfer truck arrives at the landfill, it dumps all the trash onto the floor to be sorted. Then, a large front load tractor sorts the debris into recyclable and non-recyclable materials. Eventually, all non-recyclable trash will be taken uphill to be dumped.
To protect the environment (and us!) landfills take certain precautions. The bottom layer of the landfill is lined (with either plastic, concrete, or clay) to prevent any toxins or debris from seeping into the groundwater.
While most landfills merely look like a ginormous pile of trash, they can serve many uses. After the landfill has reached capacity, some will transform their grounds into public parks or amusement attractions (like a year-round ski resort, for example).
Sure, we all know that our trash will eventually end up in a landfill. However, the process of getting it there might be a bit more complicated than what you initially assumed. While most people don’t necessarily think about waste disposal during their day-to-day lives, waste management solutions are essential to keeping the Mile High City neat, tidy, and debris-free!