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County Composting Facility

Boulder County Composting Facility

Boulder County is currently proposing to design and construct a countywide composting facility at the old Rainbow Nursery, which is located on the east side of US Highway 287 just south of CO Highway 52 (map below).

Project Timeline

Update Dec. 18, 2020 – Boulder County Public Works is reviewing comments from the public and referral agencies and departments regarding the proposed compost facility. The project team has informed Boulder County Community Planning and Permitting that it is not ready to proceed to a Planning Commission public hearing for consideration of the Special Use Review application. The project team will continue to analyze the construction and operation of the proposed facility and will refine plans, if warranted, to ensure that, if built, the location, buildings, and operations are environmentally sound and will operate with the original intent of the scope of the project. The project may be placed on the agenda for Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners public hearings in the future if and when the Boulder County Public Works Department determines that it is ready to proceed. Information will be posted here and sent to the project email listserv (register below) if and when there are any new developments, including public hearings.

Comments on the project (designs, location, concept, etc.) can be submitted at any time using the channels provided below. All comments will be provided to the project team, the Planning Commission, and the Board of County Commissioners for their review.

Visit the project’s Frequently Asked Questions webpage for more helpful information.

Project Documents

Why Boulder County is proposing to build and operate a compost facility

The County Compost Processing Facility is a top priority for Zero Waste infrastructure need and will support the Board of County Commissioners’ Climate Action strategic priority, the Zero Waste Action Plan, the Environmental Sustainability Plan, and components of the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan. The creation and implementation of the compost facility will help achieve our goal of Zero Waste or Darn Near by 2025 by capturing 20 to 30 percent of compostable county waste and increasing landfill diversion by five to 10 percent. The compost generated will be provided for area agricultural uses, which will help increase local, sustainable food production. Residents too will be able to drop-off compostable material and pick-up finished compost at the facility to use on their own lawns and gardens. Learn more about the benefits of composting.

Currently, compost gathered by commercial haulers throughout the county must be brought to a processing facility that is over 50 miles away (see maps below). That’s a 100-mile roundtrip for a large truck that pumps a lot of exhaust into the air and contributes to regional congestion. By having a facility within the county limits, the amount of miles traveled by haulers and the corresponding greenhouse gas emissions will significantly reduced.

  • Maps Showing
    • Distance to proposed facility from current hauling locations
    • Distance saved going to proposed facility
    • Drive time to proposed facility
    • Drive time saved going to proposed facility

Funding for design and construction is being provided by the Sustainability Tax, which was approved by 70 percent of Boulder County voters in 2016.

Sign-Up for Project Updates – Provide Feedback – Ask Questions

Community outreach and engagement will coincide with the state and county’s review of the preliminary facility designs. The public can ask questions and provide comments at any time using the resources provided on this webpage. Community engagement and participation is invaluable. With your help, we’ll create a facility that sets an example for other cities and counties and help achieve our own waste diversion goals.


Questions and comments can be submitted at any time online using the resources below on anything related to the proposed facility (designs, concepts, location, etc.). Comments will be provided to the project team, the Planning Commission, and the Board of County Commissioners during the review process. There will also be public hearings with the Planning Commission and Board of County Commissioners in early 2021 that will provide opportunities for addressing decision-makers directly. Those dates, times, and locations will be posted here as soon as they’re known.

Project Contact

For more information, contact Andrew Barth, Public Works Communications, at 303-441-1032 or via email.