Green Neighbors Program

The Clark County Green Neighbors Program is coordinated by Clark County Public Health’s Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach to assist citizens with developing more sustainable lifestyles and building a strong environmental community in Clark County. Solid waste regional planning and programs are a cooperative effort of Battle Ground, Camas, Clark County, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal, and Yacolt.

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Green Blog

News about our community as it relates to the environment

Where Do Our Organics End Up?

What happens to our trash after it leaves the curb?

Disposing of trash is commonly referred to as throwing something "away." It's easy for us to imagine that our garbage just disappears after the contents of our curbside carts are hauled away by Waste Connections, but the unfortunate reality about our trash is that it doesn't simply go "away." In Clark County, our garbage is loaded onto a barge and shipped up the Columbia River to Finley Buttes Landfill in Boardman, Oregon. Next time you are about to dispose of something, think twice to see if there is a way you or someone else could reuse it. And if it is possible, try to opt out of consuming superfluous products in the first place.

(garbage being dumped in the Finley Buttes Landfill)

If you live in a single-family home within the city limits of Vancouver or Ridgefield, chances are you throw your food waste and yard debris in the green organics curbside cart. Like the county's trash, these organic materials are sent east as well, however they are turned into quality compost at the Dirt Hugger industrial composting facility in Dallesport, Washington. You may think that once the contents of your organics cart are hauled away, they leave Clark County forever, however this is not necessarily true. Dirt Hugger composts our organics and sells it back to the community, strengthening soil health and adding nutrients to our plants! Despite composting being an excellent alternative to throwing food scraps and yard debris in the garbage, reducing the amount of food and yard waste you produce is still the best thing you can do.

(organics cart contents from Clark County)

(this is what your food and yard debris are turned into through composting!)

This June, some of the Green Neighbors team had the privilege of touring the Dirt Hugger facility and the Finley Buttes Landfill. We got to see first-hand what garbage and organics processing looks like beyond Clark County. Food scraps go through three different stages of composting at the Dirt Hugger facility to ensure a high-quality product is produced. At the landfill, giant cells are excavated, filled with waste and covered up with layers of shredded tires before the hole is filled in again with soil and rocks.

(group photo from the end of the tour)

Why this matters

It's important to know where our waste ends up because understanding the process helps us be mindful of the fact that it doesn't just disappear. To support environmental, human and animal health, do your best to reduce the amount of waste you produce and be aware of the impacts. If you are interested in buying secondhand or donating unwanted but useable items, check out our Donation Map (hyperlink: 

Meet the new Green Neighbors team!
2023 Natural Garden Tour