Boulder is full of credit card hippies. We go around parading initiatives such as: Save the rainforest, Coexist, Don’t eat more chicken- in fact, don’t eat chicken at all. But are we just talking the talk, or are we walking the walk?
The amount of Municipal Waste generated in the US has become a larger focus of concern in recent years. Landfills are toxic and seep hazardous chemicals into the ground which contaminate our groundwater along with many other related problems (1). Because organic waste needs specific conditions to biodegrade, compostables that end up in landfills sit and rot instead of decomposing as they should. Recycling has been implemented nationwide and while not everyone participates as often as they should, the US recycles and composts about 34% of all waste (2).
According to the City of Boulder’s website, about 20% of our waste is recycled, 66% goes to the landfill, and only 14% of waste is composted; however, about 90% of the waste that is generated in Boulder is in fact recyclable (3). For as green as we tout ourselves to be, we are far behind other cities in terms of recycling and composting efforts. San Francisco achieves an 80% diversion rate from landfills with eight times the number of residents as Boulder (3). Let that sink in.
On the brighter side of things, the city of Boulder recently partnered with Eco-Cycle and Western Disposal services in a project where multifamily housing units have recycling as well as composting services available to them (4). This service is only being offered to five multi-family housing units currently, including the Walnut Place Apartments and the Hunter Creek Condominiums (4).
If you aren’t lucky enough to live in a complex that sets everything up for you, there are other ways to participate in recycling and composting efforts around Boulder. Western Disposal offers curbside pickup of your compostables, including food scraps, as well as other recyclables (5). Eco-Cycle’s CHaRM Cetner (Center for Hard to Recycle Materials) also accepts residential drop offs for a wide range of recyclable materials. Be Bolder, Boulder. Let’s increase our zero waste efforts together.
- The Groundwater Foundation. “Groundwater Contamination.” Groundwater Contamination. The Groundwater Foundation, 2016. Web. 23 Sept. 2016.
- EPA. “Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures.” EPA. US Environmental Protection Agency, 12 Sept. 2016. Web. 23 Sept. 2016.
- City of Boulder. “We Are Zero Waste Boulder.” City of Boulder. City of Boulder, n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2016.
- City of Boulder. “Boulder Zero Waste Project.” City of Boulder Colorado. City of Boulder, 2016. Web. 23 Sept. 2016.
- Western Disposal Services. “Composting Services in Boulder, CO.” Western Disposal Services. Western Disposal Services, 2016. Web. 23 Sept. 2016.