Published: March 14, 2023

A1 Organics—the Front Range community’s compost processor—is changing the types of materials it will accept. The company will limit compostable materials to food and yard waste, a change that impacts communities including Denver, Boulder, Lafayette, Louisville, Longmont and Arvada.

Effective April 1, A1 Organics will no longer accept previously compostable materials such as napkins, paper towels or service ware labeled as “compostable.” CU Boulder’s Infrastructure & Sustainability, Environmental Center, Housing Facilities, Campus Dining Services and Athletics departments are exploring ways to minimize impacts to campus’s progress toward zero-waste goals. 

Responsible waste disposal at CU Boulder

Wondering what to do with napkins, paper towels, utensils or other service ware labeled as compostable? Experts say those items should now go in regular trash receptacles. They are not recyclable and could cause issues if placed in recycling bins.

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“There are a lot of people at CU who are passionate about the environment and who know how to properly sort their discards,” said Dave Newport, director of CU Boulder’s Environmental Center. “I wish this larger issue hadn’t trickled down to us.”

Consumer-facing compost bins will be removed from campus buildings starting this summer. Items placed in consumer-facing compost bins will not be composted between April 1 and this summer. CU Boulder will continue to compost food waste through Campus Dining Services and plant material through Facilities Management and Housing Facilities.

“Fortunately, A1 will continue to collect our back-of-house compost,” says Jess Bradley, director of CU Boulder’s facilities services. “The streams coming from dining and facilities make up 80% of our compost load, so the majority of our compost will stay out of the landfill.”

For campus community members who live off campus or frequent off-campus locations, Boulder County published a composting changes FAQ explaining how A1 Organics’ changes will impact trash collection in the surrounding Boulder community. For campus community members who live outside of Boulder County, Eco-Cycle published composting guidelines for the Front Range region.