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Serving the People of Boulder County, Colorado

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Ecocycle Tour

Jeannette Hillery and Debby Vink | Published on 11/1/2022

Left: Ecocycle Equipment for sorting received materials 

A dozen Leaguers toured the Eco-Cycle Recycling Center on October 18th.  This center that was build using recycled materials for benches, paint for walls, and carpets made from recycled plastic, handles 60,000 tons of recyclables a year.  This is handles in one 10 hour shift per day.  They receive funding from hauler fees and end markets.  The center became single-stream to encourage more people to recycle.  Only 11% of the recycled material collected ends up in the land fill.  They recover 89%.  The process is impressive.  It uses a combination of people, machinery, magnets for steel and robots to process and sort.

Materials recycled for end markets are glass, which gets sent to a Broomfield processor.  Aluminum containers are baled and picked up for reprocessing.  The same with paper, cardboard and shredded paper.  These are picked up by trucks or the train, (trains can handle 200 bales, while trucks only 50) which is located next to the facility.

Some takeaways to make recycling more efficient:

  1. Most recycled plastic are numbers 1, 2,  and 5.
  2. If containers have BPI Certified and PLA on them they are compostable.
  3. Shredded paper is accepted, but NO PLASTIC WINDOWS FROM ENVELOPES or STAPLES.
  4. Glass bottles recycle without metal lids.
  5. Milk cartons, KEEP plastic cap on to recycle
  6. Don’t recycle anything under 2” in length: paper plastic, bottle caps, aluminum foil.
  7. Keep gallon jugs uncrushed.
  8. Remove plastic windows from envelopes when recycling.
  9. If receive address labels in solicitation, NOT RECYLABLE
During the 2022 legislative session there was a bill passed to enhance a circular economy for recyclables. This would help enhance or develop markets for recyclables like plastic, such as carpets, mats, material for benches, and wheel stops. This is in the planning phases and will probably be based in the Denver area by 2025.  Also passed was a statewide plastic bag fee going into effect in 2023 and by 2024 a plastic bag ban and Styrofoam ban. Paper bags will be available for a fee.

November 15th is American Recycle Day.  Continue to watch for upcoming tours.  The Eco-Cycle A-Z recycling guide app can be downloaded onto your phone by searching for it where you get other apps.  You enter a product and find out if it recyclable or compostable.

Below left to right: Kay Meyer,  Taylor Ladenburg, Chandra Valenza, and Jackie Pine