City Guide: Denver

Zero Waste City Guide: Denver, Colorado

Julie Fathy writes the blog The Beauty in Simple, which offers inspiring peeks into her family's attempt to live lightly on the planet. She lives in beautiful Denver and graciously offered to share her favorite things to do around the city, as well as her favorite local zero waste resources. Here's Julie:


It’s easy for me to name my top three places in Denver to visit, as all have had a profound impact on my 25 years of living in the city. 1. The Denver Botanic Gardens is a beautiful, inspiring, and peaceful place to visit, but beyond that they offer an amazing selection of classes, lectures, and programs. 2. The Denver Public Library has an impressive library system with 26 branches throughout the city, each with their own unique architecture, history, and community. In addition to providing free access to books, periodicals, and music they have a wide range of classes and events. 3. Washington Park is one of Denver’s most loved parks. It has a rich history and provides a beautiful setting for outdoor and social activities. It’s also home to Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, an organization that motivates and enables people to become stewards of Colorado’s natural resources. (The park is featured in the photograph at top!)

For more entertainment, I might suggest watching a movie at one of Denver’s independent movie theaters, such as the Sie FilmCenter or Landmark Theatres. My favorite place to catch a concert in the city is Swallow Hill Music, which also offers music lessons. If you’re in the mood for browsing independent book stores, The Bookies, especially for children’s books, can’t be missed, and The Tattered Cover Book Store is a longtime favorite.

Get involved with one of Denver’s organizations whose work encourages thriving communities that are environmentally and economically just. A few that I’m familiar with include Denver Food Rescue, Denver Permaculture Guild, Foraged Feast, GreenLeaf, The Growhaus, Grow Local Colorado, and Slow Food Denver.

If you’re interested in supporting green businesses, you might check out the ReDirect Guide as a starting place. The best transportation in the city is by foot, bike, or public transit. Bikes can be borrowed from Denver B-cycle (check out Denver’s bike trails) or take a city bus or light rail


My favorite place to eat is at home and my favorite food to put on the table is that which is locally grown or raised. Some ideas on sourcing local food is visiting Denver-area farmers’ markets, joining Community Supported Agriculture that delivers in Denver, or grow your own at one of the Denver Urban Garden plots.  

If you’re dining out, I might suggest the SAME Café, Denver’s first nonprofit restaurant that allows patrons, regardless of economic status, to set the price for the mostly local, organic cuisine. Denver is also home to many farm to table restaurants that are worth visiting.

Stay Zero Waste

-Shop: My favorite place to fill my own containers is the bulk section of Whole Foods, but I’ve been told that Sprouts also has a good bulk section. I buy most of my produce at Natural Grocers, which carries only organic produce, and labels the place of origin, whether it be Colorado, the USA, or elsewhere. For loose tea I shop at Capital Tea. The difficulty here is not going zero waste but choosing from the 75+ varieties of tea they have available. To support a zero waste life, not to be missed is the Zero market, which is soon to reopen in the Stanley Marketplace, and EcoMountain Home Store.

-Compost: Keeping organic and recyclable material out of the landfill is an important step of going zero waste. For Denver residents, the city offers compost collection and recycling services.

For more ideas on a zero waste lifestyle, you can check out the zero waste category of Julie's blog. Thank you so much for sharing, Julie! Photograph via.

PS - Have zero waste resources in your city that you want to share? Add the suggestions to the list of grocery stores + compost locations I keep. Leave a comment, or send me an email!