recycling

King County Solid Wast

The same shiny gift wrap and bright bows that make Christmas presents so enticing are exactly what give recycling centers headaches the day after Christmas.

At the Kootenai County Solid Waste Department in north Idaho, the day after Christmas has two distinctions: it's one of the busiest days of the year by volume, and one of the lightest days by weight. The reason: wrapping paper, says Roger Saterfiel, who oversees the department.

Jake Ellison / KPLU

It’s been a month since single-use plastic shopping bags were banned in Seattle. Now, if you buy groceries, clothes or pretty much anything else, you can either bring your own bag or pay 5 cents for a paper one. 

At KPLU, some of us have had to admit it – instead of paying the 5 cents, we loaded our arms with our new purchases and tramped off to our car/bus/home.

And, we’re not alone.

Over 50 food vendors are pitching tents at the Seattle Center this weekend for the annual Bite of Seattle food fest. Organizers are hoping to make this year’s festival a zero-waste event. There are three new composting and recycling booths where visitors can dump their plates and forks.

The Associated Press

If you’ve shopped in Seattle lately, you’re probably aware of the ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags that started July 1. Now, you have to bring your own re-usable tote, or pay five cents for a paper bag.

It’s the second law of its kind to take effect in Washington. And with five more recently approved in cities from Issaquah to Port Townsend, momentum is growing for a possible statewide ban.

Kris / Flickr

They may be sorely missed by many dog owners in Seattle, who use them for cleaning up after fido. But they pollute our waterways, get stuck in the gears at recycling plants, harm marine wildlife and never break down completely. 

We're talking about thin plastic shopping bags, which are becoming a thing of the past at cash registers in Seattle, effective July first.

A plastic bag ban ordinance modeled after the ones already passed in Bellingham and Seattle is on the agenda of two suburban Puget Sound cities this week.

Bainbridge Island’s council is holding a public hearing on the issue tonight (Wednesday, 5:30 pm.) The hearing can be monitored via webcast.

And a committee at the City of Issaquah takes up the issue Thursday evening.

CocteauBoy / Flickr

Statewide, recycling for Washington State has reached the highest rates ever.  The biggest areas in which people are doing more are in reusing construction materials and composting food waste…and then there are those pesky Christmas trees.

Recycling rates have grown to 49% statewide – higher than ever. It’s an increase of 14% more than the prior year. 

But even though we’ve all become great at composting, many people still aren’t sure how to dispose of their Christmas trees.

If you’re confused about what to do with the plastic bags you get at grocery stores, you’re not alone. 

Many people know that they’re bad for the environment and that they can be recycled, but how to recycle them is another question.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

Seattle residents and businesses have hit an all-time high for recycling rates. And from the front yard of a model recycling family in Seattle, Mayor Mike McGinn gave the city a pat on the back:

“53 percent – an all-time high– 53 percent of the waste produced in the city of Seattle is taken out of the waste-stream and recycled,” McGinn said.

Bert van Dijk / Flickr

Washington officials say residents have recycled more than 100 million pounds since the state's electronics recycling program began in January 2009.

In Seattle, residents have hit an all-time high in recycling of all products, according to the City of Seattle’s annual recycling report to be released Wednesday.

Publicola.com

Starting today (Thursday) a new online registry will allow Seattleites to choose whether or not they receive yellow pages phone books. But an industry group says it’s redundant, because there’s already such a website in place nationwide.

The City of Seattle site is www.seattle.gov/stopphonebooks.

AP photo

Insiders from many of Seattle's most recognizable big businesses are gathering today at the Washington State Convention Center downtown.

Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks, REI, and The Mariners have all been invited to give interactive presentations meant to inspire others in the region to follow in their footsteps. The topic? Going Green.

At events in Olympia and Salem Tuesday, an activist group called on Washington and Oregon's governors to stop spending taxpayer dollars on bottled water.

Organizer Sriram Madhusoodanan, with the group Corporate Accountability International, says those little plastic bottles, sometimes available at public meetings and events, create unnecessary waste and undermine confidence in the quality of public water supplies.

Liam Moriarty / KPLU News


Sure, like most Northwesterners, you recycle like a demon. Cans, glass, plastic, yard waste. You even compost your kitchen scraps. You’re a regular environmental hero.


Or maybe not ...

ecyclewashington.org

Washington's electronics recycling program has collected 78,000,000 pounds of e-waste in its first two years. Put in perspective, that's roughly the same weight as Maine's lobster catch or US black bean exports to Mexico! The state Department of Ecology says the amount of e-waste recycled each year amounts to 5.8 pounds per person.  Old TVs account for 61% of the waste.

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