The Honorable John Hickenlooper
Governor of Colorado, Office of the Governor
136 State Capitol Building
Denver, CO 80203
Dear Governor Hickenlooper:
You have a significant opportunity at the beginning of your second term to make Colorado a leader in green job creation, sustainability and climate resilience through a statewide Zero Waste Plan.
Colorado is one of the most wasteful states in the nation. We recycle only 13 percent of our waste compared to 34.5 percent nationwide. Instead of burying valuable resources—such as cardboard, metals, and food waste—in landfills, we can recycle and re-purpose these materials to strengthen local Colorado economies.
As Colorado residents, businesses and organizations committed to building a healthy and prosperous future for our state, we request that you appoint a Zero Waste Commission to develop a statewide Zero Waste Plan.
Zero Waste drives quality job growth in Colorado. Our recycling, reuse and re-manufacturing industries currently provide nearly 86,000 jobs in Colorado and generate $8.7 billion in economic benefits each year. The potential to create even more jobs is tremendous—recycling creates at least 9 times more jobs per ton of waste than landfills. From Michigan to North Carolina, states are investing in Zero Waste as a shovel-ready economic development strategy.
Zero Waste is a fast and cost-effective climate action strategy. More than 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from how we produce, transport, use and dispose of our stuff and our food. California, Massachusetts, and many other states have already invested in Zero Waste strategies to reduce their climate impacts through programs and policies with proven effectiveness.
The time has come to invest significant resources in Zero Waste practices—reducing waste, reusing consumer and commercial goods and promoting recycling and composting. The first step is to create a statewide Zero Waste Plan that will:
Zero Waste is an economic and environmental solution ready to implement today. We urge you to demonstrate strong leadership and move us forward by appointing a Zero Waste Commission to develop a statewide Zero Waste Plan this year.