CAP Case 5: City of Ft. Collins Climate Action Plan

Responsible Party: 
City of Ft. Collins, Lucinda Smith, Susie Gordon, Rosemarie Russo
Case Study Year: 
City Involved: 
Ft Collins
State Involved: 
Country Involved: 
United States
Case Study Type: 
Cap Case
  1. Who did it:City of Ft. Collins, Colorado. Contacts: Lucinda Smith 970-224-6085 for overall plan. Susie Gordon and Rosemarie Russo for recycling (Susie: 970-221-6265 and Rosemarie 970-416-2327).
  2. What they did (and when): Updated its Climate Action Plan in December 2008: The CAP demonstrates that existing programs will reduce GHG emissions by ~104,000 tons CO2e in 2012; of this, recycling and disposal bans contribute 27,000 tons CO2e. New recycling measures are expected to bring an additional reduction of 73,000 - 137,000 tons CO2e (out of a total of 268,000 - 378,000 tons CO2e from new measures). See the CAP for details.
  3. Why they did it: Fort Collins adopted a "No Regrets" approach to their climate action plan. They included materials because without considering the embodied energy in recyclables, there was a mismatch between the inventory and reduction actions.
  4. Results/outcomes/successes/failures/lessons learned: The City issues periodic status updates for its climate action plan (click here).
  • Inventory Considers Materials Impacts Upstream/Embodied Energy: One interesting feature of this plan is its relationship to the inventory. To "take credit" for upstream reductions in emissions resulting from community recycling, the City's inventory includes the upstream emissions associated with producing targeted recovered materials that are landfilled. Thus, a reduction in landfilling and increase in recycling composting allows the City to "reduce emissions" compared to the new baseline inventory. See this inventory case study for more details.
  • Solid Waste Declined by 21% since 2006: Solid waste declined from 2006 by 21%, and community waste diversion rates increased by 28% since 2006. Fort Collins attributes these changes to 1) the shift to single stream and 2) decline in economy and decreased materials flow.
  • Privatized Hauling System: Fort Collins has a privatized waste management system - e.g. no waste franchise - so residents choose their own hauler and residents on the same street may have completely different haulers. The City piloted a trash service district (e.g. one hauler in an area) but this pilot generated opposition from the local haulers because a large national waste management company got the pilot contract. The privatized system leads to GHG/air/diesel impacts from multiple trucks operating on the same street.
  • PAYT Modifications: Fort Collins modified the rate structures to encourage recycling and discourage trash (through modified bin charges) and this was successful.
  • Yard/Organic/Food Waste: One of the three private haulers offers yard waste pickup but most residents don't have curbside yard waste pickup. No organics curbside collection though they are interested.
  • Building Codes: Council is considering building code improvements in July 2010. Analyzing green building code requirements for later adoption.