Because of excess contamination and poor sorting habits at drop-off locations, and because materials are hand-sorted at the landfill, the County has stopped accepting recyclables from the City and is sending all collected recyclable materials to the landfill until further notice.  Updates will be posted here.

Recycling consists of weekly curbside recycling collection service and a drop-off station at the city service center in the Industrial Park.

Find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

ECortez is a weekly curb-side pick-up recycling program that the city initiated in July 1991. Currently, the city collects type 1 and type 2 plastic, in addition to mixed glass, mixed paper, cardboard, aluminum beverage cans, and tin and steel cans. Separate dumpsters have been placed at the City Service Center in the Industrial Park for each of these items. All recycling products need to be separated into the designated dumpster. You can view a map of the weekly recycling routes.

Paint & Appliances

There are two PAINTCARE sites in Cortez that recycle unwanted paint, stain, and varnish. 

Empire Electric Association ( )  offers recycling credits each year during Earth Week in April.

How ECOrtez Works 

An 18-gallon green recycling bin is utilized by one and two-family dwellings. These bins are the property of the City of Cortez and each one has a number and is assigned to a particular address. Please set a good example for your neighbors by not using the bin for anything other than recycling.

If you move, please leave the bin at your present address. If you do not intend to use the bin provided, please contact the Recycling Division at 565-7320 ext. 3352 and arrangements will be made to have the bin picked up.

It’s easy to recycle…all you do is separate and store your recyclables in bags within the bin provided, and put the bin out by the curb in front of your property on the same day your garbage is normally picked up. Please have the bin out by 6 a.m. If your trash is normally picked up in the alley, the bin must still be placed by the curb in front of your property. If you generate more recyclable material than your bin can hold, you can call the Service Center and have a second bin delivered (limit two per household). Cardboard can be flattened and put under the bins.

Holiday Pick-Ups 

Residential recycling bins will not be emptied on holidays. Holiday pick-up schedules will be posted in the local newspaper and on the City website.

What happens to all this stuff? 

The City contracts with the Montezuma County Landfill to bale the paper and cardboard. The landfill then sells the material to recycling brokerage companies, who in turn sells the raw material on the open market. The mixed glass and brown glass are being hauled to Durango and then trucked to Coors Recycling Center in Denver. The aluminum, tin, and steel cans are taken to local scrap yards for processing. The trees and bushes that are pruned by city employees are chipped and used at the golf course and in the parks as mulch.

View a list of additional recycling resources for Cortez and the surrounding area.