Eco-Cycle’s mission is to innovate, implement, and advocate for local and global Zero Waste solutions to foster a more regenerative, equitable, and climate-resilient future.
Throughout the nation and the world, our “take-make-waste” society is replaced with Circular Economy strategies. Here’s how we’ll get there.
Theory of Change
Eco-Cycle’s work is to transform the “norm” from societies built on using and abusing our resources, to creating Zero Waste communities. We are pioneers innovating, implementing, and advocating for what’s possible in a Zero Waste future.
We work in collaborative partnerships within every sector of the local community—residents, businesses, nonprofits, schools, government—to develop and prove Zero Waste solutions in Boulder County. We then spread this model—as quickly and as broadly as possible—to other communities, and provide them with the policies, programs, infrastructure, and communications tools needed to replicate our Zero Waste successes.
Our goal is to create a critical mass of communities demonstrating and proving the model, while also advocating for state and national policies that more quickly magnify this change at a broader scale, fostering circularity throughout our local, national, and global economies.
Putting Theory into Action
Eco-Cycle organizes and empowers local communities to:
- Change the rules by advocating for policies and programs such as Universal Zero Waste Ordinances, Pay-As-You-Throw curbside collections, or requiring Producer Responsibility for corporations’ products;
- Change the infrastructure/system by establishing facilities and services such as recycling and composting centers, and reuse systems that minimize waste before it is created;
- Change the conversation by sharing success stories and a larger vision of what is possible;
- Change the culture through grassroots organizing and engaging people in policymaking, community building, and changing their own lifestyles.
We package and share all of the above as Zero Waste models in order to conserve our natural resources and provide climate solutions.
A fundamental driver of our work is the fact that Zero Waste solutions are some of the fastest, most cost-effective means by which communities can create immediate and lasting effects against climate change, resource depletion, social injustices related to resource scarcity, and health impacts caused by pollution. We believe that “reduce, reuse, and redesign” are the foundations of creating a more equitable and regenerative future, followed by recycling, composting, and other Zero Waste solutions as necessary components in building a truly sustainable, circular economy.
- Boulder County: Since 1976, Eco-Cycle has been innovating, refining, and implementing our Zero Waste model in Boulder County, introducing first-of-their-kind Zero Waste collections, programs, and facilities. As a result, cities and towns across Boulder County, as well as the County itself, are ever-improving Zero Waste leaders in our state. Learn more about the facilities and services available to Boulder County residents and businesses.
- Colorado: As a state, Colorado has an abysmal recycling rate—only 16% in 2021 compared to a national average of 32%. To help turn Colorado from a laggard to a leader, Eco-Cycle has been championing efforts at the state legislature to promote adoption of Zero Waste goals, planning, and funding legislation. Recent legislative successes include passage of: SB19-192, the Front Range Waste Diversion Enterprise Grant Program, to provide financial and technical support to Front Range communities; SB20-055, Incentivize Development Recycling End Markets, to establish a center to promote new businesses that use recycled materials; and HB21-1162, The Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, which protects Colorado’s people, wildlife, and environment by addressing some of the worst single-use disposable plastics. Learn more and get involved in our latest legislative efforts.
- National: Since our beginning, Eco-Cycle has helped shape the national recycling debate and the Zero Waste Movement—and even the adoption of the term “Zero Waste.” More recently, Eco-Cycle cofounded the Alliance for Mission-Based Recyclers (AMBR) in 2019, along with three other nonprofit, mission-based recyclers across the country, to help reclaim recycling from industry greenwashing and to hold plastic producers accountable for the unnecessary pollution they are causing.