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 does Clark County recycling go?

20220202-221007Big_Blue_n_Binnie Big Blue and Binnie

Where do goods recycled in Clark County go? This is a question that has run through my mind and the minds of others when tossing our paper, plastic, and metal goods into the recycling bin. The answer to this question can encourage us to recycle with confidence and give us tangible knowledge that by recycling we are contributing to a sustainable future.

Goods that can be put into the blue recycle cart:


Plastics currently accepted by Waste Connections in Clark County are bottles, tubs and jugs. At the West Vancouver Material Recovery Center, they are separated by type, baled into large cubes, and sold to plastic recyclers in Canada. From there they are sorted again and shredded into flakes or reformed into pellets to be sold to companies that recycle them into new plastic items. It is important to remember that the number listed inside the recycling symbol does not determine if an item can be recycled but more specifically the identity of the item.

In a report examining the disposal of packaging, The Columbian obtained reports from Waste Connections' West Vancouver Material Recovery Center that indicated most plastic over the last five years was sold to brokers for export. While it still may feel like the plastic disappears during export, Derek Ranta, Waste Connections Clark County district manager, told the Columbian, "I haven't come across instances in which facilities or mills are not handling material in an environmentally appropriate way." 


Photo by Fabien Barral on Unsplash

Paper is the most recycled item in Washington. Mixed paper collected in Clark County is sent to North Pacific Paper Company in Longview, Washington. There it is turned into pulp and then remade into various paper products including package lining, office paper and newsprint. The same process occurs for newspaper in Spokane and Yakima, Washington.


Another big component in shipping and product packaging, cardboard is also used in smaller projects that encourage reuse like making art or composting. Cardboard collected in Clark County is sent for recycling in Toledo, Oregon. Similar to paper, cardboard is broken down into a pulp, treated and repurposed into new paper products.

 Aluminum cans

Photo by Evgeny Karchevsky on Unsplash

Aluminum cans are primarily used for storing food and beverage products. Aluminum cans recycled in Clark County are sent to an aluminum recycling center in Russellville, Kentucky where they are melted down and pressed into sheets. Once processed, the aluminum is sold to American beverage company Anheuser-Busch, who turns them back into the recognizable can we see at the grocery store.

 Goods that can be put on the side:


Glass bottles and jars are easily recognizable, have a wide variety of uses, and can be recycled to maintain its original quality. After being sent to Owen-Brockway, with locations in the Pacific Northwest and internationally, glass collected in Clark County is made into glass bottles or broken down and used for construction projects.

Hopefully with this knowledge in mind, you can move forward on your recycling journey with more confidence. If you are unsure whether an item can be recycled, the best course of action is to toss it into the trash bin. By doing so, you support our recycling system by avoiding contamination and streamlining the recycling process.


 Check out Clark County Solid Waste and Recycling FAQs to more information about recycling.

For information on where to recycle certain materials, visit the Recycling A to Z tool online or download the Recycle Right app on a smartphone.

Have recycling questions? Email Waste Connections at or call 360-892-3244.

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