We Are Zero Waste Boulder

Instructions and Tips for Successful and Compliant Waste Disposal

Sorting Waste

Separated waste collections for recycling, compostable materials and landfill-bound trash are available everywhere you go in Boulder. There are also numerous facilities that accept many additional materials for reuse or sustainable disposal.

What goes where?

Watch a Short Video

Our Sorting 101 video covers the basics of what can go in trash, compost and recycling bins.

There is also a Spanish version.

Play the Sorting Game

This fun and easy quiz tests your knowledge of common and confusing items.

Visit Eco-Cycle's Website

Eco-Cycle has information for items from A-Z on where things should go in Boulder County. There is also an available mobile app for this.

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Compost, recycling and trash bins on Pearl Street.

Waste Haulers

Subscribe to Service

These local waste haulers can help you sign up for recycling and compost collection service. The city does not determine or control rates nor dictate appropriate levels of service. Customers are encouraged to ask for cost estimates from multiple haulers and contact haulers directly to sign up for additional services.

If trash service is provided by your property manager or owner, let them know about Boulder’s requirements, which include subscribing to recycling and compost collection services.

Issues with Service

The city does not provide municipal waste hauling. Please follow up with your waste company directly for concerns over service.

Collection Containers

Containers for collecting all three waste streams are provided by the waste haulers, and some residents in Boulder are required to secure their waste from bears. Please discuss obtaining the correct containers for your needs and location with your contracted hauler.

Multi-family Complexes

About

Boulder’s residential multi-family complexes (MFCs) are faced with unique challenges when it comes to waste diversion, disposal and waste stream contamination. MFC residents tend to move in and out more frequently than in other sectors, especially in student-populated areas.

Consequently, there is a continual need for waste sorting education and clearly posted guidelines at MFCs. Collaboration between the city, complex owners, city partners, property managers, residents and waste haulers is necessary to ensure compliant waste management.

Property owners and managers can review their specific requirements here: Property Owner provisions. Full ordinance details can be found here: Universal Zero Waste Ordinance (UZWO).

Programs & Services

The city and its partners offer a variety of programs and services to assist property owners, managers and MFC residents.

  • Eco-Leader Program

    In partnership with the City of Boulder, Eco-Cycle provides training and support to community volunteers, some of whom reside in multi-family complexes (MFCs).

    These MFC Eco-Leaders educate their housing complex neighbors and friends about zero waste, and help maintain a successful waste diversion program in their communities.

  • EcoBuffs

    The EcoBuffs Program is a city-funded collaboration with the University of Colorado’s Environmental Center that provides peer-to-peer sustainability education and resources to CU students living in neighborhoods surrounding campus, many in MFCs.

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Ecobuffs student leader delivering recycling and compost bins

Ecobuffs student leader delivering recycling and compost bins to MFCs.

  • Durable Sign Installations

    Waste stream contamination is common at MFCs, so accurate waste sorting guideline signs are important and required by the UZWO. Signs are often damaged or can disappear completely from MFC waste containers and enclosures, so the city offers free metal signs and permanent installation to qualifying complexes.

    Interested? Email ZeroWaste@bouldercolorado.gov or call 303-441-1931 to see if your complex qualifies.

Properties or Businesses Lacking Service, Bins or Signs

The Universal Zero Waste Ordinance requires property owners provide adequate composting, recycling and trash collection services to their tenants and occupants (BRC 1981 6-3-13). In addition, businesses must separate recyclables and compostables from the trash; provide properly placed containers and signs to facilitate the collection of recyclables and compostables, and train employees (BRC 1981 6-3-14).

Let the city know if a business you frequent might need help with zero waste bins, signs or education or if a commercial or residential property may be lacking service.

The Inquire Boulder form can be used to report:

  • A house, apartment building, homeowner's association or condo complex without recycling, compostables and/or trash collection service
  • A business or commercial property owner that doesn't offer recycling, compostables and/or trash collection service
  • A business with incorrect or missing signs and/or bins for customer and/or employee use