Changes to Compost Collection Rules
The city has made changes to compost collection rules for businesses to quickly address high levels of contamination in Boulder’s compost stream.
The city’s Universal Zero Waste Ordinance requires all properties in Boulder to have separated compost, recycling and trash service.
All businesses must:
All property owners, both residential and commercial, must:
The city has created a step-by-step compliance guidebook PDF to assist with understanding and completing all the steps necessary to comply with ordinance requirements.
See additional steps and resources for each requirement below.
Clear, visible signs are an important tool to show employees, customers and tenants what materials go where, and achieve your zero waste goals. Click on the links below to download and print as many stock signs as you need.
Your can also request laminated signs and bin labels at no charge by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your contact info, mailing address and the quantities and types of signs you would like.
Custom signs are made just for you and show materials used at your business. Contact email@example.com to be connected to a Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) consultant who can help you create custom signs for free.
If you contract for trash services, contact a local waste hauler to sign up for recycling and compost collection services. If trash service is provided by your property owner, let them know about Boulder’s requirements, which include having recycling and compost collection services in addition to trash.
Note: The city does not provide municipal hauling services and does not determine or control rates or dictate appropriate levels of service.
Boulder’s Universal Zero Waste Ordinance requires businesses to recycle and compost, provide zero waste signs and educate employees on proper waste sorting.
Training is easy! To complete the training requirement, each employee needs to:
In limited cases, a business or property owner may apply for an exemption from complying with the requirements of the Universal Zero Waste Ordinance. In order to be granted an exemption, applicants must demonstrate they have considered all reasonable options that would bring their business or property into compliance.
Reporting requirements were suspended for 2020 and 2021 given the uncertainty and added stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2022, restaurants and grocery stores must again report compliance with the ordinance using the city's online reporting form. The deadline to report was August 31, 2022.
Assistance is available through the city's Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE). Please contact ZeroWaste@bouldercolorado.gov or 303-441-1931 to be connected with a one-on-one advisor.
Businesses that complete and submit the reporting form will qualify for free compostable bin liners through the Green Bag Giveaway program.
Enforcement is handled by the Climate Initiatives Department and the Code Enforcement Division of the Police Department.
When the city becomes aware of noncompliance, either through a complaint, failure to report compliance when required or inspection of the premises, a two-warning process begins prior to a fine.
If compliance is not achieved within 14 days of Code Enforcement opening an investigation, a fine of $500 will be assessed, followed by second fine of $1000, then fines of $2000 for each occurrence, if compliance is not reached upon subsequent 14-day inspections.
Boulder Revised Code 6-3-18 - Violations.
You can 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: