Boulder County government offices are closed Wednesday, June 19, in observance of Juneteenth. Primary Elections Vote Center locations are open.

County Composting Facility

Boulder County Composting Facility

What’s New

Request for Proposals (RFPs) currently being sought for the compost facility project’s feasibility study. A contractor will be selected in June.

Board of County Commissioners Town Hall May 30

Project Manager Meghan Wiebe will provide a presentation on the current state of composting in Boulder County and discuss the exploration of forming a county compost facility:

Thursday, May 30
5:30 to 7 p.m.
Boulder County Recycling Center’s Education Room – 1901 63rd St. in Boulder

There is no virtual option for this in-person event; however, residents who cannot attend are welcome to email the commissioners at commissioners@bouldercounty.gov with questions or to request material that was share at this event. The meeting presentation will also be posted on this webpage after the event has concluded.

Introduction

Composting is important to Boulder County residents. This has been made clear since A1 Organics made changes to the materials they would accept at their facility last year. In response to community feedback and to support the county’s commitment to diverting waste from landfills, the county is exploring the viability of developing a local compost facility. Staff are examining potential locations and undertaking key assessments, which will help determine if a compost facility can move the county closer to its zero waste and climate action goals. “This is a new chapter for Boulder County’s compost facility efforts, stated County Commissioner Ashley Stolzmann. “A local compost facility is an important step to help meet our carbon reduction goals. We can help residents, farmers, and businesses close the loop on organic materials in the county, diverting materials away from landfills, and cycling valuable nutrients back into the soil via finished compost.”

This exploration follows Boulder County’s successes in supporting and expanding access to decentralized, on-farm composting through a recently approved Land Use Code update and grants supporting small-scale on-farm composting projects. The county also recently launched the Boulder County Soil Health Initiative, which has $1 million in funding available for local agricultural producers using soil health strategies, including the application of finished compost. Finally, this compost facility exploration also comes after the spring 2023 changes in composting guidelines from the region’s compost processor, A1 Organics; these changes highlight the need for increased organics processing options.

Conversations with the public will play a significant role in this exploratory phase. Those interested in participating or following along with the county-led effort are encouraged to subscribe to the project’s email list, which will be used to communicate news and public engagement opportunities related to this project. This webpage and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page will be home to information shared by project staff.

Previous Compost Facility Efforts

In 2020, Boulder County submitted preliminary designs for building a compost facility at the old Rainbow Nursery (now county property) near the intersection of US 287 and Lookout Road in eastern Boulder County. In 2021, those plans were withdrawn from the review process and the county decided that a compost facility would not move forward at this location. Based on public input, it became evident that this location was unsuitable for several compelling reasons. Consequently, the Rainbow Tree Nursery site has been permanently removed from consideration. In addition, Boulder County is not exploring any County Parks and Open Space property for a compost facility.

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Current Compost Facility Exploration Next Steps

“From previous efforts, we know that equitable community engagement must lead the way during this exploratory phase and all future project phases, “said project manager Meghan Wiebe. “We need conversations with our community to build long-term partnerships and to assist with providing direction for this project.”

The county’s compost facility project team is made up of cross-departmental staff from: Public Works; the Office of Sustainability, Climate Action, and Resiliency (OSCAR); the County Administrator; County Permitting & Planning (CPP); and, Parks and Open Space (POS). The project team is focused on several key activities in this initial phase of the project:

  • Development of a Community Engagement Plan – For equitable engagement, involvement, and collaboration with county residents to better understand needs and potential solutions.
  • End Market/User Assessment – For better understanding who uses finished compost products, what products are being used, and the market need.
  • Facility Financial & Operation Assessment -For evaluating financial viability and operational aspects like accepted materials and processing technologies.
  • Site Exploration – For assessing potential compost facility site locations.

Future phases of this project will be informed by community perspectives and initial findings. These findings will shape the county’s decision an whether to move forward with site selection, facility design, and permitting.

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Public Engagement

To ensure stakeholders and community members are equitably involved throughout this exploration, the project team is dedicated to maintaining an open and transparent process. The project team strives to cultivate an environment where every community member can freely express their voice and thoughts, fostering a collaborative and informed decision-making process.

There are no public meetings scheduled at this time, but information will be posted here, shared via the project email, and posted in other locations as soon as dates are set.

Project Contacts

  • Project Manager – Zero Waste Strategic Advisor Meghan Wiebe – email or 720-864-6468
  • Project Communications – Public Works Communications Manager Andrew Barth – email or 303-441-1032

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Why Boulder County is Exploring the Creation of a Local Compost Facility

In addition to helping the county reach it’s Zero Waste and Climate Action goals, there are several reasons why we feel we must explore this potential solution, including:

  • Community Benefits – A local facility will improve county residents’ and businesses’ access to both composting services and beneficial soil enhancements like finished compost. Through community engagement, participation, and partnerships, the facility can center on equitable development and the needs of local communities and residents.
  • Environmental Benefits of the Facility – A local facility can better respond to the current climate crisis by directly reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing hauling distances and preventing harmful emissions at local landfills.
  • Environmental Benefits of Finished Compost – Finished compost is a powerful soil enhancer that improves soil health, increases water retention and conservation, prevents erosion, sequesters carbon, and reduces reliance on synthetic fertilizers.
  • Economic Benefits – A new facility will catalyze local economic benefits through direct investment in the circular economy, green job creation, and indirect industry support.
  • Regional, State, and Federal Support – Numerous reports from local, state, and federal sources identify increasing compost processing as a strategic priority because of its power to help communities equitably achieve greenhouse gas emission and landfill diversion goals.

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Contact Us

Public Works Department (formerly Transportation)

303-441-3900
Submit a request
tdadmin@bouldercounty.gov

Location

2525 13th St.
Boulder, CO 80304

Map and Directions

Hours: Building Open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Tuesdays and Thursdays

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 471
Boulder, CO 80306