Single stream recycling picked up by Western from your home or business is taken to the Boulder County Recycling Center where it is separated, baled and sent to market for recycling. 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 which items can be processed 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.
Tips to Keep the Recycling Waste Stream Clean and Marketable:
- DO NOT PUT YOUR RECYCLING IN PLASTIC BAGS – It cannot be processed at the recycling center and will either be emptied by hand (expensive!) or thrown in the trash (bummer since you went to all that trouble to separate it).
- No loose plastic bags of any kind – they get tangled up in the equipment. Most grocery stores will recycle grocery bags and the Boulder County Hard to Recycle Materials (CHarM) Center accepts many kinds of film-type plastic.
- Don’t flatten cartons or cans – these items are separated based on their dimension and the machines separate flat material with the paper.
- DO attach plastic screw-top lids to plastic containers – if they come in loose they go out as trash.
- Remove metal lids from glass containers; they go in your bin separately.
- Shredded paper should go in your compost cart.
- Do not put scrap metal in your recycling bin. It can be dropped off at Western’s Trash & Recycle Center (fees may apply).
- Frozen food boxes and the containers inside are trash – these materials are simply not recyclable.
- Rinse it! Be respectful of the folks who handle the material.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I have to pay for recycling?
The value of the recyclable materials delivered to a processing facility is far less than the cost to collect and transport them. The fee for the service covers the cost of our employees, equipment, fuel, maintenance, insurance, facilities, etc. In the city of Boulder and Boulder County, the cost of your recycle collection is included as part of your combined trash and recycling service. The more trash you generate, the more you pay; but recycling is unlimited. The more you recycle, the more you can save through reduced trash service.
How do I dispose of electronics?
Electronics such as computers, radios, DVD players, TVs, VCRs, chargers, and video game consoles, were banned from going to the landfill in Colorado in 2013. These items are accepted for a fee that the CHarM Center located at 6400 Arapahoe.
Will you collect recyclables outside my cart for no extra fees?
No, your recyclables need to fit in your cart or carts or you will be charged extra for the pickup. If this is an infrequent occurrence, try to wait until the next pickup day. If this is a frequent occurrence, you may need a larger cart or another cart—please call us at 303-444-2037. There is no price increase for larger size carts.
Can I leave flattened cardboard outside my bin or cart?
If you have a recycle cart, you should put cardboard in your recycle cart or break it down and place under the lid of your cart. If you have a recycle bin, you should put cardboard in your bin or, for larger pieces, break it down, flatten it and place under your bin. All non-recyclable packing material should be disposed of as trash.
How do I properly dispose of household hazardous waste?
Anyone who lives in Boulder or Broomfield Counties or the Town of Erie can bring their materials, free of charge, to the Boulder County Household Hazardous Waste facility. This includes paint, oil, solvents, cleaners, rechargeable batteries, etc. For information and a full list of materials accepted, call their hotline at 720-564-2251 or visit their website.
Why can’t I recycle my paper coffee or soda cup?
Although these cups are made of paper, they are lined with plastic to help prevent leakage. This plastic lining prevents it from being recyclable and they must be placed in the trash.
Can I recycle….???
There are many random items out there that you may be unsure as to whether or not they can be recycled. If you can’t find it on our guidelines and are still unsure, please call us at (303) 444-2037 and our staff can help you make sure you dispose of the material properly.