(Photo: Courtesy of denvergov.org)
The Denver Department of Solid Waste recently sent a newsletter to residents urging them to recycle more.

That’s because city residents recycle only 14 percent of their waste.

That compares to an 80 percent recycling rate in San Francisco, more than 50 percent in Seattle, and about 25 percent in Minneapolis.

Why is Denver’s rate so low?

Denver Recycles spokesperson Charlotte Pitt, says that unlike cities on the east and west coasts, communities in the Rocky Mountain west don't have the economic pressures to find alternatives to landfills.  

There's plenty of land and the solid clay soil makes landfills cheap and easy.

That said, she adds it's important to remember that the residential recycling program in Denver is completely voluntary and 70 percent of the city's private residences are taking part.  

But Pitt says 14 percent is three-times higher than the rate 10 years ago but acknowledges that the city needs to do more.  

So Denver Recycles is asking people to recycle 2 more pounds a week.  

Pitt says she hopes to see that rate in the next several years.

In the meantime, beginning in 2014, the city is doubling the number of communities that will be able to get composting bins for curbside pickup