Trash & Recycling Services

Golden City Council will revisit possible changes to the Golden Waste & Recycling program’s HOA exemption in a few months. Check out the Community Sustainability Advisory Board’s future meeting agendas for opportunities to submit public input regarding the exemption and a possible City ordinance to require recycling and compost service to multifamily and commercial areas.

GFL Environmental is the City’s waste hauler, serving 4,500 households in the City’s Waste & Recycling collection program.

Recycling Resources

To prepare your items to be recycled, please rinse out containers to remove as much of the food residue as possible. No need to discard plastic lids and caps (leave them on the bottle) on plastic bottles, but do discard pumps on bottles. Never bag recyclables.

To maintain the most efficient processing facility AND keep recycling programs available, it is important for our customers to know what is acceptable and what is NOT.

Items that can be mixed “Altogether” in one container include:

  • Newspaper (including inserts)
  • Corrugated Cardboard (FLATTENED)
  • Office Paper
  • Mixed Paper
  • Chipboard (Cereal and Tissue Boxes)
  • Brown Paper Bags
  • Aluminum (do not crush)
  • Glass Bottles
  • Tin Cans – No “other” steel
  • Plastic Milk Jugs
  • Empty Aerosol Cans
  • Detergent Bottles (Tide)
  • Bulk or Junk Mail
  • Magazines
  • Aseptic Packaging (Milk and Orange Juice Cartons)
  • Mixed Rigid Plastics (large lawn furniture or large children’s play toys, waste or laundry basket)
  • Plastic (#1 – #7) – Plastic Bottles or Tubs (NO PLASTICS MARKED “PLA”)
  • StyrofoamTM IS accepted
  • Single use coffee cups (Starbucks cups)

*One example of what is NOT acceptable would be ANY metal other than Aluminum and Tin cans. DO NOT put steel items such as a horseshoe, fencing, or other steel items in your recycle bin.

*Plastic bags of all types are not recyclable in the program. Bags can cause problems for the recycling screens. Please do not put recyclables in plastic bags.

*Containers with excessive fluid in them aren’t recycled. Please empty plastic bottles prior to placing them in your recycling bin.

Composting Resources

Twice yearly Golden customers can participate in curbside yard waste collection included with their service for no additional fee. Customers will be notified once a collection week has been scheduled (usually in May and November) and collection will take place on their normal service day of that week. Yard waste must follow specific guidelines in order to be collected and will be taken for composting.

The Golden Organics Program offers year round and bi-weekly green waste service for a subsidized rate of $9.45 a month, courtesy of the Golden Community Sustainability Advisory Board. Participants will receive a 96 gallon cart for “Altogether” collection of organic waste and may cancel anytime.

New City of Golden Waste and Recycling Program Notification System

Sign up for Recycling and Trash RemindersThe City of Golden has a new way to keep you informed about holiday and weather delays in services of the City’s waste & recycling program. You can now sign up to receive email reminders about one day delays for holiday weeks and severe weather notifications that may affect your recycling and garbage collection. This new service is free and only requires an email address, but is only for City of Golden program customers.

GFL Environmental Benefits

  • Automated Sustainability Reports, exclusive to customers, which track diversion rates and allow comparisons to other households in the area.
  • At GFL’s Altogether Recycling Facility, 3-7 plastics and aseptic (milk) cartons are accepted, and they are currently the only company in the market to accept rigid plastics in its program.
  • Cleaner-burning compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks with real-time GPS routing software for efficient drive times.
  • An Organics Collection Program, open to ALL households in Golden.

In September of 2018, City Council approved small fee adjustments to accommodate a service contract increase (3%) and an adjustment to maintain a supply of carts for all homes. The City administers the contract which is re-bid every five years and passes the charges on to each homeowner through the water utility bills. Some homes will receive a decrease, while others will see slight increases.

In addition, to incentivize households who choose to recycle more, City Council decided to waive the $25 cart delivery fees for homes that request a change to a smaller trash cart.

The current rates are as follows:

GFL Environmental Waste Pricing

Waste Container Size Current Rate (Per Month) Change From Previous
32 Gallon Cart Super Saver $6.20 same
32 Gallon Cart $6.75 $-0.75
64 Gallon Cart $13.50 $+0.90
96 Gallon Cart $20.25 $+1.00
Additional 96 Gallon Cart $13.25 $+2.40
Additional Services Per Month
In drive pickup $4.00
Carryout and Carryback $8.50
Carryout OR Carryback $4.20

General Waste & Recycling FAQs

1. Who should I contact to change service or report service or billing problems? 
Please contact GFL Environmental at (303) 277-TRASH (8727) or email them at

2. What day will my trash be picked up?
Please see the collection route maps pdf download for the City-wide service schedule. Recyclables will be collected every other week on the same day as your trash.

3. Are there guidelines for how my trash and recyclables should be prepared for service?

  • Place trash in plastic bags and tie them closed. Do not use plastic bags for materials in recycle carts because they become stuck in the machinery that is used to sort recyclables.
  • Place a paper bag or two filled with heavier recyclables on top of the other recycle cart contents. This helps to contain loose papers and lighter items below the bag. Cardboard can also be used, but care must be taken not to wedge it in place so tightly that it does not allow the contents of the cart to fall into the truck.
  • Make sure the lid sits flat and is completely closed. Do not over fill the trash or recycling cart as even if it is slightly cracked open, wind is more likely to enter and cause the lid to open completely.
  • Place your trash can and recycling bin at the curb with the wheels facing your house and the lid opening into the street.
  • Keep your garbage cans four feet apart and at least four feet or more from any obstacles such as mailboxes, cars, lamp posts, or power lines.
  • Do not place the carts out for service the night before they are serviced if wind is anticipated. Try to minimize the amount of time the cart is exposed to the wind.

4. I have a large item(s) (couch, tree limbs , rolls of old carpet, etc.) that I would like to have removed from my house. The item is too big to fit in my trash cart, so what options are there to throw it away?

The easiest, most efficient way to dispose of a large item is to call GFL Environmental (303-277-TRASH) to arrange for a large item pick-up. The cost of this service varies according to the item(s) or the volume of material you want to have picked up. Residents are not prohibited from calling any trash or junk hauling company to have large items removed. Residents may also haul items to a local landfill or transfer station for disposal. Finally if you have the time, tools and determination, large items (excluding hazardous and other prohibited materials) may be cut up into smaller pieces and placed in your regular trash cart or plastic bags with prepaid tag for disposal.

5. What are the dimensions of the trash and recycling carts?

Cart Dimensions
Size Height Width Depth
32 Gal 38 1/2″ 19″ 22 1/4″
64 Gal 42 3/8″ 25 1/8″ 29 1/2″
96 Gal 45 3/8″ 27 1/8″ 33 1/4″


EDS Waste Containers6. What are the fees for this program?
Your monthly price depends on the size of your garbage cart. Recycling service and twice-annual yard waste pick-up are always included in this price. Customers will receive one 96 gallon recycling cart as standard, however if you would like a smaller 64 gallon recycle cart or another 96 gallon recycle cart your monthly price will not be affected.

Waste Container Options
Container Size Monthly Price
32 Gallon Service $6.75
64 Gallon Service $13.50
96 Gallon Service $20.25
Additional 96 Gallon Service $13.25
32 Gallon Super Saver Service $6.20

7. How will I be billed for service?
The City charges for one month of waste & recycling service on your monthly water bill. Optional services will be billed directly by GFL Environmental.

8. What optional services are available?
Customers may choose to add organics collection, large item pick-up, carryout and back services, or drive-in service for an additional fee. Please contact GFL Environmental at (303) 277-TRASH (8727) or email them at to set up optional services.

9. What if I occasionally have more trash than usual?
Additional bags of trash will be collected when a pre-paid tag is affixed to each bag and placed next to your trash cart. These extra trash tags will be available for purchase by visiting City Hall.

10. What if I change my mind and want a different size cart for trash?
GFL Environmental will provide you with one cart exchange, free of charge, within the first 90 days of service.

11. Can I put yard waste or recyclables or plastic bags in my trash cart?
Yes, however, since this is a volume based program, any material that will not fit into your trash cart must be in a 32 gal. or smaller plastic bag with a prepaid tag on it. Please note that customers can request an additional recycling cart at no extra charge if needed.

12. What if I want a different size recycling cart other than the 96-gallon cart provided?
You may select a 64 gal. cart for your recyclables.  Please check the option for a 64 gal. recycle cart on the enrollment form or be sure to tell the GFL Environmental customer service representative you would like the smaller size. If no selection is made, a 96 gal. cart will be provided to allow households to recycle as much acceptable material as they like.

13. I am in a Homeowner’s Association, is my house included in the program?
If your HOA contracts with a waste company to provide service to all of the households within your neighborhood, you are not included in the city program, although your HOA may voluntarily opt into the program at any time. If your HOA does not provide waste collection, your household is included in the program.

14. Can my multi-family complex still use dumpsters?
Multi-family complexes may elect to use all carts, a dumpster for trash and recycling carts, or two dumpsters (one for trash, one for recycling). Pricing will be equivalent to the three main service levels.

15. Can I still contract with another company for service?
Yes, residents may hire any waste hauler, licensed to operate within the City. However, if your household is included in the City waste program, you will still be billed at the minimum level of service.

16. Can I discontinue service if I am moving or my home is vacant?
No, in order to maintain the lowest possible pricing, each household in the program will be billed for monthly service. You may request the 32-gallon level of weekly service if your home is vacant. If you are moving, the trash bill will be switched to the next resident at the same time the water bill is switched over, please leave your City carts safely stored at the property for the next resident.

17. When did Golden adopt these trash and recycling policies?
On May 13, 2010 City Council approved Ordinance No. 1868, now codified as Chapter 4.82 in the Municipal Code, changing residential waste collection services in Golden by allowing the City to contract for waste and recycling services for low-density residential properties.

COG Mesa

 Did You Know?
Golden was originally chosen as the territorial capital of Colorado in 1862.

Additional Resources

City of Golden, Colorado
COG Mesa