Boulder Recycling Efforts May Be Stalled by Wild Animals

In an effort to take the , reduce, reuse, recycle,  mantra one step further, the city of Boulder has been working on plans to provide service for curbside composting. I’m all for composting and it’s a natural next step in working towards reducing landfill waste. If you think that you’re already maximizing what you can do to reduce your impact, such as recycling, the other logical task is to stop dumping organic waste into your trash.

Even in my own home, we’re contemplating ways to work on better efforts to compost. Now that we recycle almost everything we can and certainly everything that the curbside pickup allows us to include, it’s time to expand.

You might think that curbside collection of compostable materials is a great progression, and the local bear population might agree with you. Just as the fragrance of rotting compost in trash cans attracts bears to campground trash receptacles, a pile of decomposing compost materials is sure to get the local wildlife honing in on your edible bounty.

Bears aren’t the only animal likely to be attracted to the curbsides of Boulder when they’re loaded with these goodies. raccoons, mice, fox, and your neighborhood dogs are all likely to get in on the action.

While previewing a property in western Boulder just off Olde Stage Road a few weeks ago, it was interesting to notice that the trash collection in this area consisted of residents leaving plastic bags out at the roadside for pickup. I saw two foxes having a great time opening up several different bags along the road as they found their meals. While this happened, the other paper and assorted trash was strewn all over the road and landscape.

Boulder may be ready to listen to officials from the Colorado Division of Wildlife and Wild Earth Guardians about the possibility of using wildlife-resistant containers as part of the curbside collection of compostable materials. Unfortunately, I’ve heard that acting City Manager, Stephanie Grainger, said that implementing the program with tamper-proof containers would be cost-prohibitive, according to a Daily Camera article.

One of the ways that city officials have identified that they could fund this new program would be to eliminate the annual spring cleanup program. The thought seems to be that Boulder residents could put their yard waste in the composting collections bins in lieu of waiting for the $280,000 annual spring cleanup.

Another option would be to do your own composting. You could consider using your own compost bin or compost tumbler. If you’re thinking of decreasing your carbon footprint, perhaps composting your own material at home might be a great solution. Is it better than dumping your food scraps and lawn cuttings into the landfill?


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