A Guide to Boulder's Waste Regulations
Learn about local ordinances, requirements and taxes that help our city move toward zero waste.
The Universal Zero Waste Ordinance (UZWO)
The UZWO is a community-wide effort in pursuit of Boulder’s zero waste future. It requires all residential and commercial properties, businesses and special events in Boulder to have separated collections and compliant signs for compostable materials, recycling and landfill-bound trash.
City Ordinances, Requirements and Taxes
Disposable Bag Fee
A 10-cent fee for single-use plastic and paper checkout bags at all grocery stores in Boulder.
Sustainable Deconstruction Requirements
The city regulates waste reuse and recycling for construction and deconstruction projects. These regulations apply to residential and commercial projects, as described in the city's 2020 Energy Conservation Code and Ordinance 8366.
The trash tax is an occupation tax on trash haulers serving customers within 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.
Bear Protection Ordinance
This ordinance aims to protect bears by eliminating access to food rewards found in trash and compost bins.
- Anywhere in the city: Bear-resistant containers are required if trash and compost are put out the night before pickup.
West of Broadway and south of Sumac Avenue: All compost and trash carts, containers, dumpsters or enclosures must be bear-resistant or stored in a building, house, garage, shed or other enclosure until emptied by a trash hauler.
View downloadable map of the area where bear-resistant containers are mandatory at all times.
Learn more about Boulder’s urban wildlife policies and programs.