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Trash & Recycling

Note: A single citywide large-item pickup day is not offered at this time. Please visit our Hard to Recycle Items page for more information about recycling large items.

The City of Westminster is here to help residents and businesses reduce their material waste and provide information, resources, and services to assist in the proper and safe disposal of waste.

Learn below about the services and programs the City and other organizations provide. 

Compost guidelines are simplified to two categories ONLY:

  • Food Scraps: Produce, bread, bones, meat, cheese, eggshells, coffee grounds (no coffee filters or tea bags), etc. REMOVE ALL produce decals, rubber bands, twist-ties, and anything that is NOT food.

  • Yard & Plant Trimmings: Leaves, twigs, flowers, small branches, grass and yard trimmings, etc.

  • Place all items LOOSE in your compost cart, unbagged. That’s it! 

Learn more here!

Carry Out Bag Fee

Under a bill passed by the Colorado State Legislature in 2021, the state will require stores and retail food establishments with more than 3 locations in Colorado to charge customers a $0.10 fee for each single-use plastic and paper bag used at the point of sale starting on January 1, 2023. 

Stores affected by the state law: 
A retail store IS affected if either of the following apply*:

  • The store has more than three (3) retail locations
  • The store is part of a franchise, corporation, or partnership that has physical store locations outside of Colorado


  • A grocery store with more than three locations across Colorado would be affected, a grocery store with three or fewer locations would not.
  • A chain fast food restaurant would not be affected, because it is food service (and is not a grocery store or convenience store).
  • Any local restaurant or café would not be affected.
  • A local retail store with one location in Westminster would not be affected.
  • A retail souvenir shop that is part of a larger franchise with a location in Utah would be affected.


  • Businesses with three or fewer locations in Colorado
  • Farmers and roadside markets
  • Laundry or dry-cleaning services
  • Pharmacies
  • Bulk stores
  • Restaurants are exempt from the plastic bag fee, but are prohibited from distributing Styrofoam containers on and after January 1, 2024

Learn more about the fee and compliance here

Business Resources:

Pay the fee at the Sales Tax Website 

Questions: call the sales tax line at 303-658-2065 or email sales tax at salestax@westminsterco.gov 

Implementation Support: the SAGE Sustainable Business Program can provide information and help find the best way to make changes that work for your business, email SAGE at SAGE@westminsterco.gov  





For more information on business compliance:

Visit Eco-Cycle's guide covering bag fees

Resident Information and Resources:

Skip the fee and make the shift to reusable bags today!

  1. Get your bags – Most households need 5-10 bags. New and used reusable bags can be found at grocery stores, clothing stores, thrift stores or online marketplaces
  2. Stash strategically?- Place reusable bags in a convenient location like next to the door, in your car, bike trailer, purse, or backpack so you always have them when you need them.
  3. Get going?- Use reusable bags each time you shop to get into the habit.
  4.  Get creative?- Already in the checkout line but forgot your bags? Put small purchases in a purse or backpack, or pack them back into your cart to transfer them to your car or bike trailer.

Exemptions: The bag fee does not apply to anyone who provides proof of participation in federal or state food assistance programs such as SNAP or EBT.

Assistance: The Sustainability Office is currently currently working on a program to provide free reusable bags to residents in-need of bags 

Bag Fee Uses: 

  • Administrative or enforcement costs associated with developing and implementing the fee

  • Providing reusable bags to the community

  • Educating residents, businesses, and visitors about the impacts of disposable bags

  • Other waste reduction, recycling, composting, or waste diversion programs

Because the bag fee is a fee and not a tax, all proceeds collected in accordance with this State law can only be used for the purposes listed above and cannot be used for general government expenses or for general sustainability projects.  As this is a new law, staff will explore what latitude there is within these categories.  The fees collected under this law will be tracked and managed in a separate fund established by Finance staff.

Waste Managment Heirarchy:  Pollution Prevention and Waste Management | US EPA

The hierarchy ranks the various management strategies from most to least environmentally preferred. The hierarchy places emphasis on reducing, reusing, and recycling as key to sustainable materials management.


The most effective way to save money and reduce your waste stream is to reduce your consumption and/or purchasing of materials. A great way to start is cutting out plastics! Check out this Guide on How to Avoid Plastics

Dive Deep into Waste

Eco-Cycle’s ZERO WASTE series is a weekly webcast about recycling, composting, reducing waste, and more! These short and informative video lessons are accompanied by a variety of age-appropriate activities for you and your family—like doing a waste audit at home, recipes and DIYs for commonly-packaged foods and products to help you avoid plastic packaging, and viewing documentaries for an in-depth look into a topic.

Access Zero-Waste Videos and Learning Materials here! 

The Dirty Details

See below about waste sorting facts, common issues, and other information about materials

Why is it important to follow recycling guidelines? 

Most processing facilities are a complex of sorting mechanisms designed to produce the highest quality materials at a manageable cost. Too much time spent handpicking contaminants out of the material stream or unclogging machinery increases our expenses and decreases our ability to subsidize other materials and improve recycling in our area.

It is important to remember that your recycled materials will be used to make new products. Quality matters and the better you do following the guidelines, the less sorting and contamination we will face at the drop-off center and the more money that can go back into the community to improve recycling. 

What happens to the materials that aren’t recyclable? Don’t they just get recycled anyway? 

As much as we would like to recycle everything we receive, it’s a matter of market demand. Recyclers cannot collect and process materials if there is no one to buy them. Similarly, if we include too much “junk” with our materials, we risk losing buyers or getting a lower price for our materials.

Whare are microplastics in compost? 

The plastic-coated paper products currently being collected by many composting programs produce both macro- and micro-fragments of non-biodegradable plastic which contaminate the finished compost. Once these plastics are dispersed into the environment, they have not been shown to biodegrade and are suspected of causing detrimental effects to organisms in a variety of ecosystems. We can expect these fragments to persist indefinitely and to be so widely dispersed that it will be impossible to clean them up. Compost collection programs and compost facilities must exclude plastic-coated paper products from their guidelines to prevent future harm. Learn more here