Kudos to you and your Zero Waste Business team. When people
understand that businesses are leading the way to Zero Waste, they start
paying attention to the message.
At 02:10 PM 8/21/2008, Eric Lombardi wrote:
It?s important to dance and
celebrate all our little victories, because that is actually how the
world changes? not in one fell swoop, but in small bites. So here
I?m sharing with you an article from our local business newspaper who
awarded Eco-Cycle their 2008 IQ Award for Sustainability. The
business community gets ZW, and it was so fun to party with them!
Now? I wonder how they are going to respond when we get City Council to
propose a mandatory sorting regulation?
8/15/2008 - 4:14:51 PM
Eco-Cycle facilitates 'zero waste' for businesses
By Barbara Hey
BOULDER - There's a revolution afoot, and Boulder's own Eco-Cycle is
leading the charge.
In this era of vanishing resources and climate change, the concept of
garbage is getting tossed, and in its place has arisen a new paradigm:
Landfills are the black holes of garbage, the long-used end of the line
for refuse, much of which could and should be recycled, according to Eric
Lombardi, executive director of Eco-Cycle. But dumps and incinerators
leak pollutants into the atmosphere, soil and water table.
"Zero waste is the cheapest, quickest and most efficient way to
reduce greenhouse gases," Lombardi said. "We have a
comprehensive plan for zero waste, and it's truly unique."
This plan is shared freely with any interested community interested in a
garbage revolution and has made Eco-Cycle the go-to organization
nationally and internationally for how to achieve a zero-waste
Eco-Cycle's initiative has earned it the Boulder County Business Report's
IQ Award in the Sustainable category.
Based on how Eco-Cycle works with local governments, Lombardi also offers
a business model to make this prototype center a collaborative venture
between governments and nonprofits.
Eco-Cycle was started in 1976 by a group of local residents who
introduced curbside recycling to Boulder - making it one of the
pioneering communities in the recycling movement.
The nonprofit, which now has outposts in Longmont and Broomfield, still
processes all recyclables collected by local haulers and operates the
county-owned Boulder County Recycling Center. In 2001, the Center for
Hard-to-Recycle Material, or CHaRM, debuted as the first community
recycling center in the state for electronics.
By necessity, Eco-Cycle has modified its mission from minimizing to
The next push - zero waste - entails uber-recycling. In addition to what
has been tossed in the recycling bin for 32 years - bottles, cans and
paper - this effort encompasses all things electronic, household goods,
athletic shoes and cooking oil. The goal is to dump next-to-nothing in
An additional and critical piece of the plan is composting all
biodegradable material _ foods scraps, paper and yard waste. If organic
matter is tossed without first degrading in a controlled environment, its
decomposition generates methane, a greenhouse gas "72 times more
potent" than carbon dioxide.
According to "Stop Trashing the Planet," a report co-authored
by Eco-Cycle, reducing waste by just 1 percent could have climate
benefits equivalent to shutting down 21 percent of the U.S. coal-fired
On the home front, Eco-Cycle carries out its goal to make this a
zero-waste community in multiple ways. One is the Zero Waste Services for
businesses, which for the past five years has worked with area companies,
large and small, to offer education and training on ways to reduce
Currently about 800 businesses participate on some level, which can range
from recycling paper and containers to hard-to-recycle materials, like
printer cartridges and copy machines.
Included is an assessment of current throwaway habits and education for
employees to better understand what to dispose of where. Eco-Cycle
provides full-service pickup of recyclables, compostables and
Businesses "earn their stripes" by their degree of
participation with recycling and composting, and also by adopting
zero-waste purchasing practices, which means opting for products that are
readily recyclable and made according to sustainable principles.
To facilitate enlightened purchases, Eco-Cycle has launched an e-Store on
its Web site,
listing sources for buying environmentally friendly products.
Eco-Cycle promotes participating businesses on its Web site, another
benefit of signing on to the zero-waste effort.
"(Businesses) get it," Lombardi said. "They understand
doing the right thing does not break the bank, and doing anything cheap
and dirty will catch up with you in the end."
Beckie and Toby Hemmerling have always been vigilant that their company,
the Organic Dish, keeps waste to a minimum by composting and recycling.
They took it one step further when they signed up with
"It was great. When they do the audit, they go through your trash
and tell you where everything should go," Beckie said.
The Hemmerlings now also recycle hard-to-recycle materials, such as
Ziploc bags and other plastics, at CHaRM.
"We bought some plastic bags that even said 'compostable' on them
but weren't," Beckie said.
Eco-Cycle defined the real makeup of the bags, so that they could be
disposed of properly.
Another enthusiastic proponent of Eco-Cycle is Barry Siff, owner of 5430
Sports, which puts on triathlons with upward of 7,000
"Eco-Cycle's guidance and support has made it easy to recycle and
compost at our events, dramatically reducing what we send to the
landfill," Siff said. "We stress zero waste in our promotional
materials and at our events and hope our participants gain knowledge and
are inspired to do it at home."
5030 Pearl St.
Boulder, CO. 80301
"We don't have a waste problem, we have a resource
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