boulder universal zero waste ordinance
Boulder is working to become a zero waste community, where we reduce the waste we create and then reuse, recycle and compost most of what we throw away. Our goal is to generate new materials from 85 percent of our waste by 2025 rather than send that waste to the landfill. As of 2018, we generate new materials from 51 percent of our waste.
The Universal Zero Waste Ordinance is just one of many zero waste efforts contributing to Boulder’s zero waste future.
City Manager Rules
The City Manager's Rules include details about the implementation of new universal zero waste requirements and how to comply with the Universal Zero Waste Ordinance.
What is the universal zero waste ordinance?
On June 16, 2015, City Council adopted new universal zero waste requirements (Boulder Revised Code Title 6, Chapter 3 and Title 6, Chapter 12) that seek to expand recycling and composting to all Boulder residents, employees and visitors by requiring the following:
All single-family homeowners subscribe to waste hauling services by June 2016;
All property managers provide adequate trash, recycling and composting service to their tenants and occupants;
All businesses separate recyclables and compostables from the trash; providing properly placed containers and signage to facilitate the collection of recyclables and compostables;
Businesses must report compliance with the ordinance to the city. By June 30, 2019 and annually thereafter, all restaurants and grocery stores are required to report. By June 30, 2020 and annually thereafter, all food producing businesses are required to report. And no sooner than June 30, 2021, the City Manager may also require other businesses and property owners to annually report;
All special events in Boulder provide both recycling and composting collection;
A “six-day review” special trash collection period in August for student move-in begin to also include a requirement for twice per week recycling collection; and
All recyclable materials be directed to the Boulder County Recycling Center, with a provision allowing the city manager to set conditions under which clean, pre-sorted paper may be sold elsewhere.
Additional Ordinance Information
Get Help to Comply
Exemptions and Requirements
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.