Clean Compost Colorado

New Changes to Compost Collection Guidelines in the Front Range. It’s simple! Food Scraps and Yard & Plant Trimmings ONLY.

Compost haulers and municipalities all along the Front Range of Colorado are working with regional compost manufacturer A1 Organics to create a high-quality, CLEAN finished compost product made from materials generated from municipal compost collections. The goal is to keep food scraps and yard & plant trimmings out of the landfill to prevent harmful methane emissions while creating marketable compost. This soil amendment will help Colorado farms and landscapes build healthy soils that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, reduce water and chemical use, and grow nutritious foods.

The key is clean, contamination-free compost, and WE NEED YOUR HELP. 

 Contaminated CompostArrowClean Compost

Apple with StickerBathroom Waste in Compost

Thank you to Eco-Cycle's team for creating the Clean Compost Campaign resources. Thank you to A-1 Organics for working with us to ensure  guidelines were created to fit your goals. Additional thanks to all everyone that joined collaboration and round table meetings to help solve this issue. 


New Compost GuidelinesWHAT: A1 Organics, which operates THE ONLY large-scale commercial compost manufacturing facility serving  Colorado’s Front Range, is joining other quality-driven compost manufacturing facilities around the country and world in dramatically simplifying the materials they accept from residential and business collection programs.

Compost guidelines are simplified to two categories ONLY: 

  • Food Scraps: Produce, bread, bones, meat, cheese, eggshells, coffee grounds (no coffee filters or tea bags) etc.
  • REMOVE ALL produce decals, rubber bands, twist-ties, string, and anything that is NOT food. 
  • Yard & Plant Trimmings: Leaves, twigs, small branches, flowers, grass and yard trimmings, etc.

Place all items LOOSE in your compost cart, unbagged. That’s it!

Sticker for new compost guidelinesSpanish Sticker Compost guidelines

New Stickers for your Bins, Totes and Dumpsters


  • Paper products (e.g. paper towels, napkins, shredded paper, greasy pizza boxes, coffee filters, etc.)

  • Products labeled as “compostable”  (including certified compostable utensils, straws, tableware, bags, etc.)

  • NO BAGS will be accepted, including “compostable” bags. The only exceptions will be 3-gallon countertop CMA approved certified compostable bags and brown kraft yard bags accepted for specifically announced spring and fall collection events ONLY. We recommend you save money by avoiding all bags all together! You can learn more about cleaning your compost bin HERE.

NOTE: Products labeled “compostable” are NOT recyclable. If you have these items, please throw them in trash for the landfill.

Where can I get New Bilingual Signage and Stickers? Guidelines and Stickers can be found in Eco-Cycle's Clean Compost Toolkit and used in your business, office, grocery store, restaurant, school, or home. Each sign and sticker is customizable so you can add your own QR code and logo.

View the Clean Compost Toolkit to Access Resources and Signage

WHEN: Beginning April 1, 2023, entire compost truck loads containing anything OTHER than food scraps and yard & plant trimmings will be refused by the compost manufacturer and landfilled.

We ask that, beginning immediately, please put food scraps and yard & plant trimmings ONLY in your curbside compost cart at your home or business. If your hauler—whether they are collecting compost from your business or your home—sees anything other than these items in your cart or compost dumpster, your cart will likely not be collected for composting. Depending on your hauler, you will have the opportunity to remove the contamination out of your organic materials collected for composting, or opt to have it hauled as garbage to the landfill at your expense. 

WHY:  Why are we seeing these changes to the compost guidelines? 

A1 Organics is enforcing these new guidelines along the Front Range with all haulers and municipalities they serve due to increased contamination in the materials collected from businesses and residents. Although this material affects only a small percentage—less than 10%—of A1 Organics’ compost products, it is the most challenging percentage in terms of contamination. More than 90% of the organics A1 processes comes from clean sources. A1 Organics is making these changes in an effort to create a high-quality finished compost product from materials generated from municipal collections. The challenges these new guidelines are addressing are: 

  • Plastic, glass, metals, latex gloves, masks, etc. are mistakenly placed into compost bins and ultimately end up in A1’s finished compost product made from materials collected through municipal compost collections. Food scraps and yard & plant trimmings make excellent compost, but contaminants like plastic, glass, and metal break down into sharp pieces and/or microplastics that destroy the compost’s value, leaving A1 with a product they cannot sell.

  • Plastic and plastic coated paper products such as cutlery, tableware, cups and straws have added to the volume of contamination A1 receives due to misleading and confusing labeling on products that are not compostable but look like they are. For every truly compostable product you might come across, there are several more “look-alikes” that mislead customers into thinking these items are compostable, when in truth they often contain non-compostable plastics.

  • Compostable bags frequently conceal non-compostable contamination.

  • Not all “certified” compostable products break down into compost as fully or as quickly as composting manufacturers need them to. This is because certification standards test compostability based on laboratory conditions. Those conditions are not always replicated in the real conditions of the compost manufacturing facilities where they may not fully compost. The result is a finished compost product that is contaminated with bits of partially degraded “compostable” material. 

A1 is not the only compost manufacturer making these changes. A high percentage of programs, including other programs in early-adopter composting communities, such as Portland, Seattle, Vermont, and California, are doing the same as the demand for quality compost increases and more communities understand the value of keeping organic materials out of our landfills.

Learn more about A1’s decision by reading their message sent to haulers and municipalities across the state calling for these changes. 

We know you have more questions, and we have the answers! Visit Eco-Cycle's Clean Compost Campaign FAQs or email [email protected].