Eco-Cycle is a Boulder, CO-based company that has been providing recycling solutions for nearby residents since 1976. What began as a group of volunteers interested in helping their neighbors recycle responsibly is a recycling tour de force today.Eco-Cycle currently operates the Boulder County Recycling Center and works within the community to promote easy, efficient recycling. The nonprofit recycler also provides recycling drop-off points across Boulder County. One of Eco-Cycle’s many public resources is its website, ecocycle.org. It provides users with an easy and informative tool to answer recycling questions. In the “Recycle at Home” section, residents can run a search based on their community that will tell them which recyclables can be placed curbside and which need to be taken to recycling centers. Eco-Cycle also has a quick recycling guide that allows locals to simply choose the item they need to recycle — anything from aerosol cans to zippers — and provides a list of nearby facilities that will accept it. Eco-Cycle’s Zero Waste Community Partners are making great strides in helping Boulder become a zero-waste community. The organization takes the place of garbage collection services for local businesses and “keeps 90 percent of [their] business’s waste out of landfills,” according to Eco-Cycle’s website. By collecting all of the waste from businesses and then seeing that it is recycled properly, Eco-Cycle makes it possible for companies that did not have a recycling program to become “zero waste” companies for a cost comparable to regular garbage collection. Eco-Cycle is not simply providing recycling services to the Boulder community and waiting for people to begin recycling on their own. Rather, the company is proactive about recycling with programs like Green Star Schools and Zero Waste Events. Green Star Schools is a program developed and implemented by Eco-Cycle to help local schools teach students about both traditional and nontraditional recycling methods. By working with today’s youth and showing them how easy it is to recycle, Eco-Cycle is providing the next generation of Boulder citizens with a strong understanding of how necessary recycling is and how easy it can be. “We have been working closely with the school districts in our county for over 20 years now, and literally every kid in public school gets exposure to Eco-Cycle through in-class programs or field trips before they finish grade school,” Eco-Cycle Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) Facility and Compost Department Manager Dan Matsch explains. “They teach their parents better than we ever could, and those kids that we educated in the early days are now becoming leaders and contributing members of the community and bring those values with them.” Zero Waste Events are put together by local organizations. Eco-Cycle provides the tools necessary make the events successful. The section of Eco-Cycle’s website dedicated to Zero Waste Events covers what an organizer will need, what they want to collect and where they can get all of the materials needed.
In addition to an informative website and extensive community outreach, Eco-Cycle also produces a newsletter that discusses environmental and recycling concerns, lists volunteer opportunities and much more. With its initiatives, Eco-Cycle has made Boulder a prime example for other cities striving to achieve zero-waste status, and continues to have a positive impact on its community. “We try to model a truly viable alternative to the landfill, as well as work with manufacturers to make the ‘end-of-life plan’ for their products something that is addressed while a product is still being designed,” Matsch says. “That’s the only way we’ll eliminate waste.”