Five years ago, Boulder County (Colo.) commissioners set two goals for waste reduction: divert 50 percent of all waste from county landfills by 2010 and achieve zero waste by 2025, or "darn near" it. Although county officials recently admitted that they had fallen short of their 2010 goal—the county diverted 35 percent of waste from landfills in 2010— they still think they are on track to meet their 2025 goal. And after the county published a 91-page plan earlier this month, they also think they have a way to get there.
"One of the key things to making something happen is putting the words down on paper and laying out the vision, so this is a huge step forward," Commissioner Cindy Domenico said at a public meeting on the plan, The Boulder Daily Camera reports. "This is not a simple concept and there aren't easy ways to get there, and that's why it's taken so long to actually put the plan on paper."
While the county itself may have fallen short of its 50 percent by 2010 diversion goal, residential diversion rates within the Boulder city limits are at 51 percent. Unincorporated Boulder County and the cities and towns of Longmont, Lafayette and Superior were only in the mid-20 percent range.
Boulder joins a growing number of cities pushing zero-waste initiatives including San Francisco which passed a law in 2009 mandating recycling and composting. As a result, San Francisco currently diverts 77% of municipal solid waste stream from landfills.