Recycle: An Integral Part of a Circular, Zero Waste Economy

Is it worth it to recycle? Yes, we can’t get to a sustainable future without it. Recycling is an easy way we can all contribute to cleaner air, energy savings, and reducing our dependence on finite natural resources. Recycling-related industries create 25 times more jobs than those related to trash while reducing carbon emissions at nearly every turn of the manufacturing/disposal process. 

Recycling products such as bottles, cans, and paper has been possible for decades in the U.S., but we still have a long way to go to fully utilize the potential and value of recycling programs. Nationally, we recycle only 35% of what we discard. Colorado’s numbers are even worse: our recycling rate currently stands at a mere 15.9%. For the sake of the economy, our natural resources, the climate, and future generations, we must do better.

Why recycle?

Save (A Lot) Of Energy
Manufacturing products from recycled materials saves 30% - 90% of the energy needed to manufacture these products from natural resources, and doesn’t require additional extraction of trees, fossil fuels, or metal ores.

Reduce Demand for New Resources
Recycling extends the lifespan of materials, reducing pressure on finite natural resources. For example, aluminum cans and glass bottles can be recycled indefinitely! When we recycle these materials, it reduces the need to extract more bauxite ore or silica from the earth.

Stop Burying Valuable Resources
We bury or burn more than two thirds of our waste every day in the U.S., destroying the value of these materials. Colorado throws away nearly $265 million worth of recyclable material each year, such as aluminum, cardboard, paper, glass and plastic.

Download: Why Recycle Fact Sheet

What to Recycle 

Making sure you are recycling correctly is the best way to support Erie’s recycling programs. Clean, well-sorted, uncontaminated recyclables make materials more valuable, and it makes the sorting process more efficient, saving time and money, and making the most of our program.

Recycling Guidelines for Boulder County 

Download: Recycling Guidelines

What Not to Recycle: The Dirty Dozen

Contamination in recycling bins is a huge problem. Do your part by recycling right! What stays OUT of the recycling bin is just as important as what goes in.

Download: List of Dirty Dozen