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April 4, 2019

Boulder County Jail to receive EPA Food Recovery Challenge Award

Boulder County, Colo. - The Boulder County Jail will be presented with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Challenge Award at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 10 at the Boulder County Recycling Center in recognition of the jail's efforts toward zero waste.

Members of the media are invited to the recognition event which will be attended by the Boulder County Commissioners and the Boulder County Sheriff along with staff from the Boulder County Jail and Resource Conservation Division who participated in the Food Recovery Challenge.

  • What: Presentation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Challenge Award
  • When: 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 10
  • Where: Boulder County Recycling Center, 1901 63rd St, Boulder, CO 80301

The jail has achieved a 67% increase in the volume of composted material from 2015-2017 through its kitchen composting program and despite the challenges of establishing a sustainable food-waste program in a jail environment.

The jail partnered with the Boulder County Resource Conservation Division (RCD) and developed a step-by-step approach to address waste streams one at a time, including wasted food and food scraps. The kitchen, largely operated by inmates, follows a simple method for composting, which resulted in 17.79 tons of compostable food collected in 2017 and 17.91 tons in 2018.

“This effort has been an ongoing cross-departmental and interagency effort over the last nine years,” Darla Arians, RCD Manager said. “This successful collaboration has enriched the sustainability efforts at the jail, and helps support our Climate Action strategic priority by achieving a greater reduction of atmospheric CO2 emissions.”


The regional award for EPA’s Region 8 includes Colorado, Montana, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. The Food Recovery Challenge is one of the EPA’s efforts toward the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative – a partnership among the EPA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration. Participants and endorsers of the challenge help contribute to the national wasted food reduction goal of 50% by 2030. This effort on behalf of the Boulder County Jail also contributes toward Boulder County’s goal of achieving Zero Waste or darn near by 2025.