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Putting compostable items in the compost bin instead of the trash can is one of the easiest and most effective first steps you can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissionsspecifically methane, which is generated when our food and yard waste is landfilled. Composting also produces a nutrient-rich soil amendment that restores farmland and promotes sustainable agriculture. Not bad for one little bin! 

However, when we put items into our compost bin, we must make sure that what we put in is actually compostable in order to create compost that can be used by farmers and gardeners. We have been asked by the region’s primary composting facility, A1 Organics, to address what has become a significant challenge for their process—compost contaminated with non-compostable materials. Read on to learn how you can help to eliminate compost contamination in our community!

A1 Organics, our long-time compost partner and operator of the compost facility serving the entire Front Range, has alerted all compost haulers in the region that as of August 4th, they will begin rejecting loads of compostables if a load contains even small amounts of plastic or other non-compostable contaminants. Haulers will be charged penalties, and ultimately, the contaminated compost will be landfilled.

A1’s announcement is the result of an ongoing decline in the quality of materials they receive for composting. The contaminants they are routinely finding include obviously non-compostable items such as glass, plastics, and metals, but also decals/stickers, twist ties, and rubber bands from produce. These contaminants are not easily removed from the compost stream and end up in finished compost. When applied, the compost beneficially integrates into the soil, but these contaminants remain to potentially pollute our soil, water, wildlife habitat, and even the food we eat. In their efforts to ensure they are producing only the highest quality compost, A1 Organics will begin aggressively monitoring each load delivered to their facility.

When you put something in the compost cart, keep in mind that it’s going to be turned into an important nutrient for our local soils, applied by farmers and gardeners. No one wants glass and plastic pieces in their garden beds, so please be careful you don’t put it in the compost cart in the first place!


Here’s the good news: composting guidelines are MUCH easier to follow than recycling guidelines! It’s simple: if it rots (think food discards and yard clippings), it can go in. If not (think glass, plastic, tape, stickers, metal), keep it out. Our regional composter has identified the top “Dirty Dozen” compost contaminants they see coming into their facility with an appeal to please keep these materials out of your compost cart and out of the finished compost product applied to local soils.


New Eco-Leader 2.0 Webinar:
Building Local Compost Systems Together
Tuesday, September 20, 6:00-7:30 pm MT
Via Zoom

Composting isn't about making waste "go away." In fact, the goal is that compost comes back to us in a sense, in the form of healthy food grown locally in soil amended with finished compost made from our organic discards. When composted, food discards and yard trimmings create healthier food, plants, and climate! Due to increasing compost contamination along the Front Range, it's time for us all to talk about contamination, tools to help fix this problem both on a local and systemic scale, and how we as individuals and communities can reconnect with soils and the composting process to better understand how it benefits us.

Join us for this new webinar, where we will come together to create solutions to our local compost contamination problem and develop a better understanding around solutions on a much larger scale that can help improve composting programs everywhere!


Follow Us

PO Box 19006 | Boulder, Colorado 80308
(303) 444-6634 | recycle@ecocycle.org

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