Boulder County Household Recycling Guidelines

Single-Stream recycling is here for most of Boulder County. If you haven’t been keeping up to speed on the recent Boulder County household recycling guidelines, you may not know that in most Boulder county neighborhoods, curbside recycling is now single-stream.

Single-stream isn’t anything fancy. It’s actually just a little bit easier than it used to be for us. Instead of having to separate bottles, cans, etc. in one bin and items such as newspaper and cardboard in another, you can now put everything recyclable that’s normally picked up by your curbside hauler into the same bin.

You might wonder why recyclers are switching to single-stream. Wouldn’t it be easier to keep things sorted from home? While it’s true that having items pre-sorted can be helpful to the end process, it also requires haulers to have double-bin trucks or to run double routes.

According to Eco-Cycle this opens up the system for the potential to collect compostable materials like food scraps and yard waste. Composting these materials prevents the release of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 72 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term.

While Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from vehicles and electricity-producing power companies have been shown to be major culprits in global climate change, recent evaluations of greenhouse gases and their impacts show another source: the trash can.

If you put biodegradable materials like paper products, food scraps and yard waste into the landfill they don’t break down as they would in nature or in a compost pile. They decompose anaerobically. That means: without oxygen. When that happens, those things become a huge source of human-caused methane gas. Many researchers say this is a major player in climate change. The Eco Cycle Times reports that our landfills are emitting the greenhouse gas equivalent of 20% of U.S. coal-fired power plants every year.

Sounds to me like it makes good sense to compost and since many of us don’t have the space to do it ourselves, the progress local curbside recyclers are making to provide possible solutions to recycle / compost this kind of waste is a great step forward for our environment.


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