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This month, we share an exciting new recycling solution piloted on Pearl Street, as well as Zero Waste bills that Eco-Cycle is championing this legislative session. 

Successful Emissions-Free Polybag Recycling Collection Pilot

for Outdoor Industry Evolves into Model Program

You may not know what a “polybag” is, but it has likely touched nearly every article of clothing you own. It’s the term for the plastic film bags used to pack and protect clothing as well as other consumer goods during shipment from the manufacturer to the retailer. While the clothing we buy at stores are unbagged and on hangers, it didn’t arrive that way. Retailers “de-bag” clothing for display. While a few companies are pioneering the search for more sustainable alternatives to plastic polybags, according to the report by Fashion for Good, hundreds of billions of polybags are estimated to be in production for the fashion industry every year.  

Like other plastic bags, polybags cannot go in a single-stream recycling bin. At a recycling facility like the Boulder County Recycling Center, operated by Eco-Cycle, plastic bags get wound around recycling machinery, causing expensive delays and inefficiencies. The key to effective recovery and recycling of polybags is dependent upon collecting the bags as a separate material that can be processed in dedicated facilities. However, the high volume and low weight of the bags make it difficult to design cost-effective collections. 

Eco-Cycle and the Plastic Impact Alliance sought to overcome these challenges and create a solution by piloting a unique polybag collection model for local outdoor industry retailers along the Pearl Street Mall. From October to December of 2021, using a bicycle-powered collection cart, Boulder High School students employed by Eco-Cycle went door-to-door each week collecting polybags from participating brands. The bags were taken to the Eco-Cycle Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials (CHaRM), and then sold to Trex, one of the largest plastic bag recyclers in the US, which uses the material to make decking material in place of old-growth trees like redwoods.

In three months, the project collected, counted, and recycled almost 75,000 polybags from just 11 storefronts, demonstrating the need for this service community-wide, and across the clothing and outdoor industry. The program is now being expanded to all retailers along the Pearl Street Mall with the hope of extending further as interest builds. Eco-Cycle also aims to help brands establish recycling collections at all their locations nationwide. 

Eco-Cycle is Championing Two Bills that Increase Recycling Across Colorado

Using the momentum achieved in passing the historic Plastic Pollution Reduction Act in 2021, Eco-Cycle is working with legislators on two Zero Waste bills that would help launch new recycling markets in the state and make recycling more accessible and affordable for ALL Coloradans! Learn more about these bills and ways you can lend your support!

Waste Diversion And Circular Economy Development Center

Introduced by Representative Lisa Cutter (D) and Senator Kevin Priola (R), House Bill 22-1159 would create a Circular Economy Development Center with the primary goal of attracting and supporting recycling end-market businesses so that recyclable materials remain in Colorado for local businesses to remanufacture into new items—reducing landfill waste, transportation emissions, and supply chain delays.

House Bill 22-1159 recently passed a House vote, and will soon be considered by the Senate. To support this bill, sign up for legislative alerts to get updates on HB22-1159.

Producer Responsibility for containers, packaging, and printed paper

Producer Responsibility policy would create a coordinated, equitable, and cost-effective statewide recycling system that includes one statewide list of what is recyclable, financial incentives for companies to reduce unnecessary packaging, and more accessible and affordable recycling services. This policy would also benefit local governments, which typically bear the cost of recycling programs.

Learn how Producer Responsibility works, its many benefits, and who is considered a “producer” here. To support Producer Responsibility policy, sign up for alerts here.

Join Eco-Cycle Executive Director Suzanne Jones and Director of Community Campaigns Randy Mooman for “Community at Work”

Community at Work is a weekly public affairs program that provides a closer look at the public agencies that serve Colorado residents. Listen in on Thursday, March 31st for a conversation about Zero Waste initiatives in Colorado, and how a circular economy can benefit residents and businesses. You can listen to the show from 6:00-6:30 p.m. on KRFC 88.9 FM Radio Fort Collins or stream the show at KRFCFM.ORG.


April 2, 10 am-12 pm

CSU Extension presents a Post-Fire Landscaping webinar on April 2nd, as local experts in the field discuss topics including post-fire soil health, tree and shrub assessment and recovery, food and perennial gardens, lawns, and how to revise your landscape around ignition resistance.

If you have specific home landscaping questions,
please submit them by email
to marshallwebqa@bouldercounty.org by March 27th.


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

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