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Trash, Recycling & Compost FAQs

Learn More About Disposal & Recycling Options

Large Item Disposal
PAYT Large Item Pick-up Service

Large item pickup service is provided by the Pay-As-You-Throw program to every household, once per calendar year.

Just call Republic Services at (303) 277-8727 to request a pickup of your large item at no additional cost.

  • Some acceptable items include:  Chairs, Sofa, Porcelain Sink, Desk, Table, Carpet – Bundled, Porcelain Toilet, Recliner, Porcelain Tub, Sofa, Small / Large Dresser, Game Table, Doors, Baby Wooden Crib, Lawn Mower, Coffee Table, Garage Door – 4’ Sections, End Table, Love Seat, Water Bed, etc.
  • Unacceptable items include:  Cast Iron, Cement, Steel, Tires, Appliances (covered by Golden’s free appliance recycling), Dirt, Rocks, Bricks, Chemicals, Paint, Batteries, Stumps, Windshield Glass, Medical Waste, Appliances w/ Freon, TVs, All Electronics, Hazardous Waste.
Pay-As-You-Throw Waste Program FAQs
How do the fees for this program work?
Your monthly price depends on the size of your garbage cart. Recycling collection, organics collection, once annual large item pickup, and twice-annual yard waste pick-up are always included in this price. Customers will receive one 96 gallon recycling cart and one 32 gallon organics cart as standard, however if you would like a smaller 64 gallon recycle cart or a larger 96 gallon organics cart your monthly price will not be affected.
How will I be billed for service?
The City charges for one month of waste collection services on your monthly water bill.
How can I keep my organics cart cleaner?
It is encouraged to put all compostable materials directly into the cart to avoid contamination, and occasionally hose down your cart. Only 3-gallon compostable bags (CMA approved) are accepted and can be purchased through many retailers including the Golden Safeway and Natural Grocers.

  • No plastic bags as these will not breakdown and will contaminate the final compost product.
  • For extremely dirty carts, pressure washing the cart is a good option to get it clean. Otherwise, there are professional services available that will come to your home and use a special machine designed to clean your carts.
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 cost $3.61 and will be available for purchase by visiting City Hall (911 10th St). Tags are good for one 32-gallon trash bag or smaller.
What if I change my mind and want a different size cart for trash?
Contact Republic Services at (303) 277-8727 or email them at to request a service change. The hauler will exchange your trash cart for a new one and your monthly price will be updated.
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.
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.
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 lowest 32-gallon level of service if your home is vacant for long periods of time. 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. Properties with active demolition permits can be removed from the program.
I am in a homeowner's association or a multi-family complex, and not enrolled in the City's program. How does this effect me?
Organizations with 8 residential units or more are not required to participate in the City program, although they can voluntarily join. On November 13, 2014, the Golden City Council approved Ordinance 1991 to expand the Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) rate system to all residential areas in Golden.  This ordinance affects waste haulers who operate in Golden. All waste haulers are required to submit documentation showing compliance as part of the City’s licensing regulations, which provide for the following:

  • Curbside service with pricing based on volume, with a 32-gallon minimum size and increasing increments (e.g. 32-, 64-, and 96-gallon sizing).
  • Multi-family areas utilizing dumpsters would still retain dumpster service, as these containers are already priced based on volume of materials. Multi-family areas that currently receive curbside service would change to the volume-based rates.
  • Provision for recycling service to be included in the total monthly cost.
  • The option of rolling carts, bags, or tags to administer the service, to be determined by each hauler.
  • Additional licensing requirements such as reporting of overall diversion of materials, equipment standards, and proof of insurance.
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. This followed a large outreach campaign designed to ask Golden citizens their preference for additional trash services. The year and a half process included the following:

  • A “Let’s Talk Trash” Open House held over 2 days in October 2008, yielded hundreds of comments on several options including, no action, expanding the recycle drop-off site, an internal city sanitation department, and a pay-as-you-throw program.
  • A Request For Proposals was issued in late 2009 to identify pricing for three levels of service (32, 64, and 96-gallon size trash carts), recycling service, twice-annual yard waste pickup, and cart financing.
Per City policy, the waste hauling contract is rebid to waste haulers every 5 years. While the contract was up for rebid on 2020, the unfavorable economics caused by the COVID-19 pandemic caused the City to extend the contract another year and rebid in 2021 instead. Staff collected input from current customers and residents about what they would like to see in the next waste hauling contract via and the Community Sustainability Advisory Board had the opportunity to provide recommendations to City Council about what services may best help the community to achieve its goals. The result of this outreach was the addition of two new services:

  • Organics collection is now available to every household. Organics will be collected every other week, alternating weeks with recycle collection.
  • Each household on the program can now take advantage of one large item pickup per year at no additional cost to them.
These changes, along with a transition to a new waste hauler, Republic Services, were implemented in September of 2021.
Recycling Guide
How & What To Recycle
Not sure what should go in the recycling bin and what should go in the trash? Please see this list of acceptable recyclable materials.
Some items like old paint and electronics that are not accepted in the recycling cart can still be recycled in specialized facilities.  Visit our Hard to Recycle Materials Guide for a list of where to take those items that don’t belong in the landfill, but also can’t go in the cart.
Golden also has a free Curbside Mattress and Appliance Pick-up Program for all single family residences and townhomes within the city limits of Golden.
How & What To Compost
CMA_New_LogoEmbracing eco-friendly practices has never been easier. Just like our recycling program, you can conveniently dispose of approved items in your green-lidded collection cart. Feel free to add yard and garden debris directly into the cart. For kitchen waste, either place it directly inside or use 3-gallon compostable bags certified by the Compost Manufacturing Alliance (CMA) – look for the logo to be sure!
To help identify these eco-friendly bags, they’re usually green. Popular brands include BioBag, Bag-To-Nature, Glad Compostable, BioSak, EcoSafe, EcoGuard, and Nature Friendly. You can find selected brands at local stores like Safeway and Natural Grocers in Golden, or shop online. Remember, we can only accept 3-gallon compostable bags.
Let’s make Golden greener together!
It is helpful to keep a list of acceptable materials in your home for easy reference. All of the following materials are acceptable in the organics cart:
Outdoor Organics
  • Grass clippings
  • Saw dust
  • Weeds
  • Leaves
  • Branches and brush
  • Garden trimmings
Kitchen Organics
  • Fruit/vegetable trimmings
  • Spoiled or moldy food
  • Dairy products
  • Eggshells
  • Bread, rice, and noodles
  • Meat, poultry, fish and bones
  • Baked goods
  • Cooked food
Household Organics
  • Cut flowers
  • Houseplants
**Please REMOVE ALL stickers, rubber bands and twist-ties from produce.
  • No pet waste
  • No dirt
  • No oils
  • No plastics
  • No styrofoam
  • No construction debris or treated wood
  • No soil
  • No coffee grounds with paper filters
  • No napkins or paper towels
  • No greasy pizza boxes
  • No certified compostable service ware
  • No paper plates, cups, or takeout boxes
  • No tissues, cotton balls, paper Q-tips
  • No wooden chopsticks, stir sticks, or popsicle sticks
  • No wooden toothbrushes
  • No dryer lint
  • No pet hair
  • No paper bags
  • No compostable bags LARGER than 3-gallon
Spring & Fall Yard Waste Collection
Spring and fall clean-up can easily overwhelm one organics collection cart! To help keep Golden yards clean and divert all that yard debris where it can be converted into mulch, the City sponsors a spring and fall yard waste collection.
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