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Zero Waste in the Time of COVID-19

Recycling, compost and trash collection continue

Waste haulers are considered essential service providers and are currently operating as usual. Curbside pickup of recycling, compost and trash is happening across Boulder. Please observe physical distancing and mask-wearing guidelines with workers, and contact your hauler directly with questions or concerns about your curbside pick-up.

The Boulder County Recycling Center , where Boulder’s recycling collection is processed, and A1 Organics , where Boulder’s compostable materials go, are both considered critical services and have remained open. Both organizations report that they continue to operate under recommended COVID-19 guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with protective measures in place for staff and the general public.

The Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) is open to the public with strict new protocols. Please visit Eco-Cycle's CHaRM page for details.

ReSource Central is also open to the public with limited hours and strict protocols. See their COVID-19 response page for details. 

The Boulder County Hazardous Materials Management Facility (HMMF), too, is open. Please see their page for details.

Confusing Materials

You may find yourself with more of certain materials in the current situation, some of which can be tricky to sort.

Take out containers

Our zero waste partners at Eco-Cycle made a great video on what to do with take-out containers.

Disenfectant wipes

Wondering where disinfectant wipes should go? Waste haulers have been seeing an increased amount of bleach wipes in compost— please put them in the landfill instead. The material they are made from is not compostable, and the bleach is harmful to the composting process, because it kills the beneficial microbes that break down the organic material.  

Medical masks

Medical masks, protective gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) should go in the landfill.


While you can normally compost tissues and paper towels, if you are sick, please put them in bagged trash during this time to help protect workers and decrease inadvertent transmission.

Want to brush up on general items and what goes where? You can practice your recycling and composting skills with our sorting game or by watching the Sorting 101 video .  

Thrift Store Donations

Thrift stores are a key part of city zero waste efforts, providing options for reuse and local employment. While local thrift stores are physically closed, some are accepting donations of goods or are offering virtual shopping and phone service with “grab & go” pick-ups or mailing options. Eco-Cycle’s Tour de Thrift map provides a list of Boulder thrift store locations; visit store websites for specifics on donation or shopping options.