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News Archive

November 12, 2020

Boulder County releases 2020 Zero Waste Action Plan Scoring Report


Report highlights community accomplishments in Boulder County’s ambitious journey towards zero waste

Boulder County Zero Waste Scorecard

Boulder County, Colo. Boulder County released its Zero Waste Action Plan Scoring Report measuring and celebrating individual community progress on the Zero Waste Action Plan. This report identifies increased opportunities for zero waste initiatives and weighs community action steps that directly decrease greenhouse gas emissions and increase waste diversion.

A 2019 Boulder County Waste Composition Study found that nearly two-thirds of the materials sent to the landfill in Boulder County could have been recovered. Recycling and composting these materials could save 245,000 tons of carbon emissions (MTCO2e) annually, the equivalent of taking approximately 50,000 passenger cars off the road each year. Boulder County has a goal of “zero waste or darn near” by 2025 and is collaborating with municipalities to reach this milestone.

Zero waste is a big vision and this scoring report is helpful to break it down into smaller, actionable steps,” said Kate Bailey, Eco-Cycle Policy and Research Director. “It’s encouraging to see that each community is making progress and has a success story to share. The report also helps to identify our shared challenges and find opportunities to work together to address those common barriers.

The zero waste scorecard is a joint initiative from the Boulder County Resource Conservation Advisory Board, Boulder County’s Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience, and Eco-Cycle. To develop the report scorecard, Eco-Cycle researched and interviewed each community about its current zero waste programs and services. Report analysis found that Boulder County as a whole is approximately one-third of the way toward implementing the policies, programs, infrastructure, and community engagement strategies that are critical to building a zero waste community.

Performance varied across individual municipalities, with scores ranging from 13% progress to 70% progress. However, one of the primary goals of the project is to encourage communities to learn from one another and to provide support as each takes steps towards reducing and diverting waste.

We hope each community can find at least one actionable step they can take to move closer to our zero waste goals,” said Bailey. We also hope to create a more collaborative county-wide effort where communities are sharing their successes and learning from each other as we all move collectively forward toward reducing our waste and our climate impact.

Below are selected zero waste accomplishments highlighted in the report:

  • Boulder released a Circular Economy Report to develop a holistic picture of materials being consumed, transformed, and wasted in Boulder.
  • Erie released its first sustainability plan and hired its first sustainability coordinator.
  • Jamestown continues to hold its annual reuse event where community members can bring items to be reused locally, with unclaimed items donated to nonprofits.
  • Lafayette set a waste reduction goal and hired its first sustainability coordinator.
  • Longmont expanded its drop-off center to accept white block foam and plastic bags for recycling. The city continues to expand its opt-in curbside composting service, with approximately 20% of residents participating in the program.
  • Louisville updated its residential trash and recycling contract to include composting at no additional charge.
  • Lyons opened a new Americans with Disabilities Act accessible drop-off recycling center and explored curbside recycling and composting services for all residents.
  • Nederland hired its first sustainability coordinator and began accepting food waste for composting.
  • Superior installed compost bins in all public parks and started a green business program.

Boulder County communities care deeply about reducing waste and conserving our natural resources,” said Susie Strife, Boulder County Director of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience. Whether it’s through building healthy soils, keeping plastics out of the ocean, reducing pollution and emissions, or creating green jobs, zero waste strategies can foster a more sustainable and resilient Boulder County. By tracking zero waste efforts we hope to accelerate greater adoption of high impact strategies that minimize our environmental impact as we strive for a zero waste future.

To read the full report, visit boco.org/ZeroWasteScoringReport.

For more information about this program, contact program administrator Tim Broderick at tbroderick@bouldercounty.org.

For more information about Boulder County’s sustainability mission and to learn about other programs, visit www.boco.org/Sustainability or contact Christian Herrmann at cherrmann@bouldercounty.org.


Our mission is to advance policies and programs that conserve resources, protect the environment, and safeguard our climate in order to build a sustainable, just, and resilient community.