With support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Boulder County has launched a pilot program to decrease environmental impacts associated with food and beverage packaging. The Boulder County Food & Beverage Pollution-Reduced Packaging Pilot will support manufacturers as they transition to pollution-reduced and sustainable packaging formats. 

The pilot program is funded by the EPA Source Reduction Assistance grant program. Resource Recycling Systems (RRS), a sustainability and material recovery consulting firm with a location in Boulder, will facilitate the program.

“This program will find ways to reduce food packaging impacts by conserving resources at the start of the manufacturing process through the design of reusable, recycled, recyclable, bio-based, and compostable packaging,” says Tim Broderick, senior sustainability strategist at Boulder County’s Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience. “With 46% of all manufacturing in Boulder County being attributed to the food and beverage industry, there’s a huge opportunity here to support the creation of closed-loop products. We hope this program helps accelerate the local circular economy.”

The county is encouraging area food and beverage manufacturers of all sizes to apply to participate in the program. Selected businesses will receive up to $10,000 in financial support for sustainable packaging related expenses, technical assistance from subject matter experts, access to tools to evaluate environmental and cost impacts associated with a packaging transition and workshops where businesses can learn, collaborate and meet with packaging experts.

To be eligible for the pilot program, businesses must be food or beverage manufacturers with headquarters or a business location within Boulder County. Eligible businesses may package their products directly or have a co-packager that they send the products to for packaging. The product packaging may take place outside of Boulder County. 

“Boulder County’s food industry is renowned for its long-standing history of sustainable business innovation,” says Susie Strife, director of Boulder County's Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience. “This is the perfect environment to launch a program that will inspire new ways of thinking about the potential and possibility of food packaging in reducing pollution and addressing the climate crisis.” 

Visit recycle.com/boulderpackaging/ for more information.