Recycling & Waste Reduction

Boulder achieved prominence in recycling by implementing one of the nation’s first curbside recycling programs in the early 1980s, through its partnership with Eco-Cycle. My goal on Council would be for us to stay at the leading edge of waste reduction and recycling, through the current partnership between the City, Eco-Cycle, and Western Disposal. Boulder is also the proud home of the CU Recycling Center, one of the most successful, award-winning campus recycling programs in the U.S.

We face significant challenges in Boulder. The largest buying markets for waste paper are in the Pacific rim nations, because they lack our sources of virgin pulp. (The U.S. shouldn’t be depleting its own sources of virgin pulp, either.)  But because we serve the Asian markets, much of our recycled paper has to travel to West Coast ports to be shipped to markets.

Demand for secondary resources is what makes recycling viable – there has to be the demand at the end of the tunnel in order for recycling to succeed. Otherwise, piles of baled waste paper build up with no markets for them. I’m committed to “buy recycled” programs for the City and encouraging the same in the private and consumer sectors. I favor strengthening markets for secondary resources so that secondary resources can better compete.

Despite challenges, Boulder needs to maintain its role as one of the top recycling communities in the U.S. A big frontier for Boulder is commercial and industrial recycling, since residential waste is only about one-third of our waste stream. I’m committed to strengthening and expanding Boulder’s recycling programs

Strong residential paper/container recycling and composting, coupled with strong recycling programs for the commercial and industrial waste streams, will allow Boulder to lead in landfill diversion rates.

Recycling is not free, so whatever we can do on the front end to reduce the size of the waste stream is vital. I’m also very supportive of the many re-use programs Boulder has.

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