Denver’s recycling rate is one of the worst in the country,  according to a report from the Colorado Public Interest Research Foundation. Less than 18 percent of the waste from single family homes and small apartments is recycled by the city's voluntary program.

“We’re just not offering the same kind of services that other cities are," said Danny Katz, the director of the foundation. "And when we do offer those services, they tend to be more expensive. So we’re incentivizing people to do the wrong thing, and we’re making it harder for them to do the right thing.”

Katz said similar sized cities across the U.S. have stronger comprehensive systems, and added that the Denver Recycles program doesn’t service businesses or apartment buildings with more than seven units. For larger rental buildings, it’s up to the landlord to contract a waste removal service for recycling options.