Get Your Questions Answered

The city has made changes to compost collection rules for businesses to quickly address high levels of contamination in Boulder’s compost stream. This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about these changes and what they aim to achieve.

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The city has made changes to compost collection rules for businesses to address very high levels of contamination in our community’s compost stream. Local businesses are no longer required to provide compost bins in dining rooms, public restrooms and other customer spaces.

  • Compost and recycling bins are still required in kitchens and other employee-only areas.
  • Recycling bins are still required in customer spaces.

We have found that customer-facing compost bins do not typically have much food in them. Instead, bins fill with compostable utensils, straws, cups and napkins, which do not make high quality compost. They also fill with many contaminants like plastic and glass.

Highly contaminated loads of compostable materials are now being rejected by Boulder’s local compost processor, A1 Organics, and redirected to the landfill. When buried under layers of trash, compostable materials are unable to break down, instead producing the highly potent greenhouse gas, methane.

Removing these bins will help prevent compostable materials from ending up in the landfill while supporting the creation of high-quality compost that nourishes local soils.

These changes took effect in September 2022 and will stay in effect until further notice.

Food scraps

  • Including meat, bones, dairy, coffee grounds and eggshells.

Plant and yard trimmings

  • Leaves, flowers, twigs, grass and other lawn trimmings.

If it was on your plate or grew in your lawn, put it in the compost bin.

Plastics, disposable gloves, diapers, glass and disposable to-go containers. Check out our Waste Sorting 101 guide for a full list of contaminants.

Read our most recent article to learn more about new compost rules for all Front Range communities.

Compost Right