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Boulder’s Eco-Cycle and and Farmers’ Market earn EPA achievement award for zero waste initiatives

Release Date: 04/21/2006
Contact Information: Marie Zanowick 303-312-6403, Randy Brown 303-312-6048, Frank Montarelli 303-312-6780,

Zero-waste community ultimate goal

(April 21, 2006, Denver, Colo.) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 Assistant Regional Administrator Steve Tuber will present on Earth Day, tomorrow, EPA’s Environmental Achievement Award to John Ellis of the Boulder Farmers’ Market and Eric Lombardi of Eco-Cycle for their collaborative creation of the first Zero Waste Market and for their dedication to the Zero Waste initiative.

Eco-Cycle is one of the country’s oldest and largest community recyclers, with a 29-year history of exploring and demonstrating the leading edge of sustainable resource management, including the present initiative of creating a Zero Waste community where every product is reused, recycled or composted.

“Eco-Cycle and the Boulder Farmers’ Market are showing how we can live on this planet in a sustainable way,” said Tuber. “They are leading the way and serving as models for others to follow. The EPA hopes this award will draw attention to the possibilities of living in a zero waste world.”

In April 2005, Eco-Cycle teamed up with the Boulder Farmers’ Market, an organic produce market, to make the Market the first ongoing Zero Waste venue in the nation. Held every Wednesday and Saturday from April to November, the Market hosts 15,000 visitors a week who, upon entering the market grounds, immediately see signs informing them that they have entered a zero waste zone.

The Zero Waste Farmers' Market has replaced its trash cans with Eco-Cycle’s brightly signed two-bin systems for recyclables and compostables, staffed with Eco-Cycle volunteers to help educate Market visitors about Zero Waste and how to sort their materials. Fully 100 percent of the Market vendors participate. Eco-Cycle can boast a 95 percent diversion rate, with zero waste from within the Market going to landfills and only waste brought in from outside so destined.

The Boulder County Commissioners have adopted Zero Waste as a guiding principle.

EPA Region 8 presents awards in four categories to individuals and groups. This award recognizes significant achievements in the protection of public health or the environment and in advancing the Agency’s strategic goals. Among the criteria is an outstanding contribution to environmental protection through a single action, or by an ongoing action over an appreciable period of time.