The City of Laramie Recycling Program had its biggest year in 2014, recycling and diverting over 4.5 million pounds of materials.

In Single Stream recycling alone over 2.3 million pounds of recycling was collected throughout the year. That’s up from just over two million pounds in 2013, an increase of about 320,000 pounds of Single Stream recycling from the City of Laramie.

Single Stream recycling consists of what is collected from the recycling containers with blue lids seen on the street in front of people’s homes. It is called “Single Stream” because people do not need to sort their recycling before putting it into the containers, and standard recyclables all go in the same bin.

Brooks Webb, solid waste division manager, says the increase in recycling is due in large part to the recent addition of businesses to the recycling route. Previously, businesses were unable to sign up for recycling, but in February of 2014 the Laramie City Council passed an ordinance that allowed businesses to sign up for recycling. Despite only having the standard 96 gallon cart containers for the business, Webb says between 75 and 80 businesses have added the program.

“Some of those businesses have more than one container,” says Webb. “That includes the schools. A lot of the schools now in Laramie have three or four recycling containers, and they do a lot of paper and things like that.”

Other items recycled from the city landfill include metal, electronic waste, and tires. Mulch from the landfill has been provided to the public free of charge. Of all the materials recycled, the only area with a decrease was in electronic waste, and even that margin was a small one.

One huge increase for Laramie recycling came in the form of compost. Residents of Laramie can provide “green waste” to contribute to compost that is then sold back to the public by the city. Laramie began selling compost in 2013, says Webb, and they sold about 500,000 pounds in the first year.  In 2014, though, that number doubled with over one million pounds of compost sold.

Webb says the increase in recycling is a great thing for the community.

“Everything is increasing, so that’s good news,” says Webb. “It’s good news for the residents of Laramie. Everything we recycle is going to save time in the landfill.”

The City of Laramie began their recycling program in 2011. Since that time, Laramie has recycled over 7 million pounds in Single Stream recycling.

Webb says 2014 was definitely the biggest year for recycling “by far,” and he only expects the numbers to continue on the upward trend.

“As word spreads and with public education and things like that, I think it will grow over time,” says Webb.

Webb adds that most households in Laramie already have recycling, but any businesses or individuals wanting to add it can do so by calling 721-5279.