Boulder County Recieves National Award for Sustainability
Boulder County recently received a 2011 National Association of Counties Achievement Award for excellence in eight different categories. Most notably, Boulder County received an award for environmental excellence for its participation in two different programs that promote sustainability in the region and fight global climate change.
The ‘Roofs to Roads Colorado’ program has collected over 5,000 tons of asphalt shingles from roofing demolition projects and used them to pave roads in Boulder County. Every ton of virgin binder that is replaced with a recycled asphalt shingle blend (RAS) removes 27 tons of carbon dioxide from the air.
Boulder County also won an award for the ‘Food to Fuel Biodiesel Program. Boulder County fuels their municipal fleet with a biodiesel blend produced by local grease recycling center Sustainable Oil Service. This company collects waste cooking oil from local restaurants and converts it into clean burning biodiesel. Boulder County's use of this biodiesel has diverted 210,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere since July of 2010.
The process of converting used cooking oil, or “yellow grease” as it is called, is reasonably inexpensive and can be done locally, making it a feasible option for any restaurant looking to reduce its carbon footprint. While biofuels have been criticized for diverting food resources to create fuel, using recycled cooking oil resolves that issue and instead eliminates a waste product while reducing our dependence on petroleum resources. This transforms the debate from one of “food versus fuel” to a situation of “food to fuel.”
Through these two programs, Boulder County is actively demonstrating how counties can fight climate change and promote economic growth simultaneously.