Recycling provides direct, tangible benefits to the community and the environment. The business of recycling creates jobs, spurs investment and sparks innovation. Environmentally, it conserves natural resources, saves energy and reduces pollution. The EPA estimates that 75% of our waste is recyclable — 75%! That’s a lot of power to do good, right in your hands, just by choosing the right bin and occasionally thinking outside the bin.

Single-Stream Recycling

Recycling properly is the key to maximizing its benefit. Understanding what can be recycled keeps the materials stream clean and marketable. There may be items in the “NO” section of our guidelines that have a recycling symbol or that you are able to recycle in other cities.

Why is that?

Each recycling center is unique, using different equipment and processing lines, which can create differences between items that can be recycled in each community. Recycling that is either contaminated with trash or mixed with different types of recyclable material will either be trashed or sold as a much lower-value material to recycling companies.

Recycling Guidelines

Single-stream recycling picked up by Western from your home or business is taken to the Boulder County Recycling Center (BCRC), where it is separated, baled and sent to market for recycling. The BCRC sets guidelines for what can be recycled based upon their sorting equipment and material market conditions.


Organic material such as food and yard waste comprises nearly 30% of the waste generated by U.S. households. In a landfill, these materials decompose anaerobically, creating methane, a potent greenhouse gas. When diverted from the landfill through composting programs, it instead becomes a valuable product that sequesters carbon, builds healthy soil and supports plant health. Like recycling, composting maximizes the value of existing resources through reuse, reduces environmental impacts and creates jobs.

Curbside Composting

Utilizing curbside compost services is a simple action with significant environmental benefits. Yet some folks hesitate to fully utilize the service because of concerns about odors or flies. Here are a few tips to help manage the “yuck” factor:

  • Keep a small compostable bag in your freezer and deposit the food waste there as you generate it. Pull it out and put it in your compost cart on compost day.
  • If you’re not in an area where wildlife is a concern, store scraps in a 5-gallon pail with a lid on your back deck or porch.
  • Deposit food scraps directly into your compost cart and layer with leaves or grass clippings to absorb moisture. Please note fiber is no longer allowed in the compost – please do not use newspaper, shredded paper, cardboard or other fiber.
  • Place a bathroom-sized trash can under the sink lined with a compostable bag. Keep it loosely tied while not in use to keep odor in and flies out.
  • Purchase a container with a tight-fitting lid and keep it on your countertop.
  • Check the internet for any number of “recipes” to combat fruit flies. We find a glass of cider vinegar with a few drops of dish soap to be an elegantly simple solution.
  • Clean your cart periodically; add a few drops of soap and hose it out.

Due to wildlife concerns, the following areas in Boulder County are prohibited from depositing food scraps in their compost bin: East of Highway 36, but west of 39th Street (or 26th Street) and south of Nelson Road. Crestview Estates, Lake of the Pines HOA and the town of Eldorado Springs up to the park entrance.

Recycling & Composting Blog Posts