Zero Waste is a resource management strategy modeled on nature’s waste-free and self-sustaining systems. Since waste reduction starts with production and proceeds through purchasing, use and diversion of used products, Zero Waste advocates for eliminating waste while viewing any remaining “discards” as important resources to be returned to the marketplace through Reducing and Reusing, Recycling or Composting.
Boulder County’s Commitment to Zero Waste
- Zero Waste Action Plan Scoring Report: This report measures individual community progress on the Zero Waste Action Plan and weighs community action steps that directly decrease greenhouse gas emissions and increase waste diversion.
- Resolution 2005-138: Adopting Zero Waste as a Guiding Principle and Supporting the Creation of a Zero Waste Plan – A resolution setting the county on a path to achieve a goal of “Zero Waste – or darn near” throughout Boulder County, including unincorporated areas, by 2025.
- Zero Waste Action Plan: Adopted in December 2010, this plan outlines immediate, mid-term and long-term plans to achieve the goals of the 2005 resolution.
- Zero Waste chapter of the Environmental Sustainability Plan: Adopted as part of the Environmental Sustainability Plan in 2012, this section applies specific targets and strategies to reach the internal and external Zero Waste goals established in the Resolution and Action Plan.
- Zero Waste Planning Guide: This guide offers practical information for planning, organizing and hosting a zero waste event.
The county’s purchasing policy requires all bidders and vendors to meet a number of “Zero-Waste” standards in order to qualify for county contracts and purchases.
All county offices are equipped with recycle & compost bins, and employees are encouraged to recycle electronic wastes, use rechargeable batteries and responsibly dispose of any hazardous wastes. Employees are educated about and encouraged to purchase materials that can be replaced or removed from the solid-waste stream. All paper purchased at the county is 100% post-consumer recycled content.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Compost
Manufacturing consumes large amounts of energy and resources, and generates a significant amount of waste even before products reach the consumer. Reducing waste, recycling, reusing products and composting help to:
- Minimize pollution produced during manufacturing and transport
- Reduce toxic chemicals produced during production and/or released in landfills
- Conserve energy and resources
- Save trees, natural resources, and preserve habitat
- Reduce the price of re-used resources (i.e.: aluminum)
- Protect watersheds, lakes and streams from waste and pollution
- Provide economic opportunities in resale and reusable materials