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Trash Tax

The trash tax is an occupation tax on trash haulers serving customers within the city limits and helps fund waste reduction efforts in Boulder. Most haulers pass the tax on to customers as part of their trash service bills. Boulder also has a waste hauling ordinance that all haulers must comply with.

Current Tax Rates
The current trash tax rates are at the voter-approved maximum level.

  • $3.50 per month for households; and
  • $0.85 per cubic yard of trash for businesses and multifamily units that use centralized dumpsters. This rate also applies to roll-off containers.
Trash Tax Uses
Over the years, the trash tax has funded a variety of waste reduction activities including:
  • curbside compost collection;
  • the switch to single-stream recycling; 
  • a portion of the new Hazardous Materials Management Facility (HMMF); and
  • the purchase of land and buildings at 6400 Arapahoe Avenue.
    • This space will be used to permanently relocate the Eco-Cycle offices, the Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials (CHaRM), and the Center for ReSource Conservation (CRC) used building materials donation and sales yard.

Tax Rate History
The trash tax was initiated in 1981. In 1994, voters passed a ballot measure to raise the trash tax rates and also give City Council the authority to further increase rates up to a set maximum.

Trash tax rates were raised again in 1998 and temporarily in 2005 to fund citywide programs to improve energy efficiency and conservation. Rates were lowered in 2006 after voters approved the Climate Action Plan (CAP) tax to fund energy conservation and waste reduction efforts.

City Council raised the tax to the voter-approved maximum in 2009 to pay for improved and centralized waste reduction facilities at 6400 Arapahoe Avenue.

Zero Waste
Community-wide efforts to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills gained momentum in 2006, when City Council adopted a resolution to make Boulder a zero waste community and approved the Master Plan for Waste Reduction (MPWR), which created a road map for achieving zero waste.

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