Green Neighbors Program

The Clark County Green Neighbors Program was developed and is maintained by Clark County 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. Funding for this project provided by a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Clark County makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information provided on this web site. However, due to the possibility of transmission errors, HTML browser capabilities, changes made since the last update to the site, etc., neither Clark County, nor any agency, officer, or employee of Clark County warrants the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any information published by this system, nor endorses any content, viewpoints, products, or services linked from this system, and shall not be held liable for any losses caused by reliance on the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of such information. Portions of such information may be incorrect or not current. Any person or entity that relies on any information obtained from this system does so at his or her own risk.

In offering information on the Web, Clark County seeks to balance our requirement for public access with the privacy needs of individual citizens. Information that appears on the Clark County Web site is part of the public record. By law, it is available for public access, whether by telephone request, visiting county offices, or through other means.

This site contains links to other websites. Clark County is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content, accuracy or opinions expressed on such websites, and such websites are not investigated, monitored or checked by us for accuracy or completeness. Inclusion of any linked website on our site does not imply approval or endorsement of the linked website by us.

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Contact Details

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(360) 397-2121 x4352


  • Got tagged?

    Did you find a tag on your Big Blue cart? Here is more info about what it means:

    2017 cart tags

    Looking good!

    We peeked in the top of your recycling cart. What we saw looked good.

    Thank you and congratulations for having a clean cart on the curb! We are so very excited and thankful for your efforts in doing recycling right!

    However, we didn’t dig deep into your cart, we just took a little peek. So, there may have been contaminates hiding farther down into your cart. We hope you take a look around our website and click on the other items on the tag for more information.

    If you ever have questions about if something is recyclable, check out the recycling refresher poster or visit Recycling A-Z and search for the item you have questions about. Additionally, you can call Waste Connections at 360-892-5370.

    Cart was empty

    Your recycling route truck driver is a pro, and their speed is great. Our crews on the other hand work slower in order to take notes and fill out the tag you received. Because of this, we may have encountered your recycling truck on your street and were not able to take a peek into your cart before it was emptied. Although we didn’t get the chance to look at the recyclables in your cart, we wanted to give you the opportunity to learn about recycling right.

    We do hope you did your best in recycling right. Take a look around the website and click on the other items on the tag for more information. Check to make sure you didn’t put anything on the tag into your cart – examine and tag your own cart!

    Plastic bags/wrap

    Plastic bags and wrap never belong in the cart. This includes garbage bags used to collect recyclables. If you used a garbage or other type of plastic bag to collect and dispose of your recyclables, instead do one of these options:

    • Dump the recyclables out of the bag and into the cart, and then reuse the plastic bag to collect more recyclables
    • If tied closed, tear the plastic bag open and dump out the recyclables into the cart, then dispose of the torn bag into the garbage
    • Instead of a plastic bag, use a paper bag and then you can toss the whole thing into your cart; paper bags are recyclable, whereas a plastic bag is not
    • Use a reusable tote bag or bin and dump your recyclables into your cart, then simply put the tote or bin back under your sick or where you collect recyclables to use again and again

    Although plastic bags and wrap are not recyclable curbside, they can be recycled at grocery and retail stores near you! Check your local grocery store for a plastic bag recycling bin, or ask a customer service clerk for its location. Petition your grocer to get a bin if they don’t have one. Not just plastic grocery bags can be recycled at your grocery store, you can also include plastic wrap and film. For a list of drop-off locations and acceptable items, visit

    Plastic bags are not recyclable because they don’t make it through the recycling sorting process. They tangle up the processing line and create a nuisance causing delays when the processing line has to be shut down to remove the bags and other tangly items. These bags then have to be removed by workers climbing into the machine. It is dirty and very dangerous. For worker safety and streamlining the recycling process, don’t put bags and wrap into your recycling cart!

    Remember your three Rs when it comes to plastic bags and wrap. They’re listed in order of ecological impact, with the first being the best and first thing you should do:

    Reduce first, by refusing plastic bags at the store or using reusable bags.
    Reuse next. Reuse any plastic bags you do get for doggie poo bags, shopping, small trash can liners, packing material, and more – be creative.
    Recycle last, by taking your plastic bags and wrap to a grocery store near you, and never placing them into your recycling cart.

    And if you can’t do the three R’s, place plastic bags and wrap into your garbage for proper disposal.



    Clark County has a “dual-stream” recycling system. These means there are two streams of recycling for processing. The first stream is the “mixed recycling” which includes all recyclables except those in the second stream, that stream is “glass”. Glass, although recyclable, should never go into your blue recycling cart. There are operational reasons why the glass must be separated beforehand. When glass is placed in the blue recycling cart these following issues arise:

    • Glass put in the blue recycling cart ultimately becomes garbage and will never reach a glass recycling plant. Glass is only recyclable when put into the proper stream.
    • Glass breaks and causes worker safety concerns for drivers and sorting crews
    • Glass contaminates the other recyclables, thereby making those good recyclables less suitable to become a recycled product
    • When glass is mixed with other recyclables and reaches a paper mill or other company that uses recyclables for their products, it damages and ruins their machines that weren’t designed to handle glass but softer materials like plastic or paper

    new vs damaged valveOn the left is a pitted, damaged valve from a recycled paper mill caused by glass contamination that no longer works. On the right is a new valve, smooth and shiny on the inside for proper function.

    If it costs a manufacturer a lot with having to buy new equipment, like valves, because of contamination, that business may have no choice but to look into going back to using virgin material for their products instead of recyclables. Do your part by recycling right to keep the production of recycled products.

    Other items that don't belong in your recycling cart

    Recycling can vary immensely by region, so always follow the directions for recycling produced by your hauler. In Clark County, Waste Connections is in charge of hauling and processing curbside recycling. They can answer your recycling questions at 360-892-5370 or you can visit Recycling A–Z.

    new vs damaged valveWorkers cut out material from sorting equipment.

    Hoses, wire & tangly stuff

    Is it stringy? Could you tie it into a knot? Can it stretch? Could you wrap it around something? Could it get tangled and you’d have to unkink or untie it? Is it thin like a wire? If you said yes to any of those questions, it’s not a good idea to put the item into your curbside recycling.

    Tangly items jam equipment that sort recyclables and workers must then climb into the machinery and cut out all the tangled material. It isn’t the safest place to be, it’s very dirty and grimy, and they have to go in with knives and shears to cut the material out. This causes hours of delays for the equipment, which means stopping recyclables from getting sorted and baled to get recycled.

    Help worker safety and the efficiency of recycling by keeping tangly items out of your cart.

    Garden hoses are indeed made of plastics, and many are often made of recycled plastics — yay! — however, these items do not belong in your curbside recycling cart. They aren’t recyclable and they’ll tangle up in the machinery. Cables, cords, and wires (including coat hangers) are indeed made of metal or have desired metal in them, but they cannot be recycled at the curb. Check out the widget on Recycling A–Z to search for a list of locations that take cables and wires, such as metal and electronic recyclers.


    Other tangly items to not put into your blue recycling cart include:

    • Plastic bags, wrap, and film — a large portion of the tangly material in the photo above
    • Pallet or other plastic strapping — see the yellow straps in the photo above?
    • Packaging Tape. Always remove packing or scotch tape from cardboard or paper packaging. You can see some in the photo above, the cardboard-colored material stuck in the rollers.
    • Shoe laces, scarves, drapes, and any other type of clothing or textile
    • VHS and cassette tape
    • Straws

    Food soiled paper


    Yes it is paper, and yes paper is recyclable, but only if it is clean and dry. All recyclables should be clean and dry when you place them into your recycling cart. Food-soiled, wet, or otherwise dirty paper cannot be recycled. This material will end up in the landfill. What is worse though is that this dirty material could ruin clean material preventing it too from being recyclable. The contents of your cart get dumped into the recycling truck and mingle with everyone else’s materials that they had in their carts. If your recyclables are dirty, it could make everyone else’s recyclables dirty too, and then recyclables that could have been recycled into new products now won’t.

    Food-soiled paper is also a public health issue. Food and other organic waste can attract pests and rodents, and can harbor bacteria. When crews in the sorting process receive your dirty recyclables they are exposed to the bacteria, pests, and rodent wastes. Additionally, it then becomes a very dirty job. Recycling should be a clean workplace; if you wouldn’t want to sort through it, you probably shouldn’t be including it in your recycling cart. Place soiled paper in the garbage.



    Styrofoam, block foam, and other plastic foam, like packing peanuts, are never recyclable in your blue recycling cart. This material will break apart and fall through the sorting processing making a huge mess. Additionally, this can cause delays for the recycling process.

    Currently in Clark County, you can recycle block foam at any Recycling Day Event. Just across the river there are a few more options for block foam, including Far West Recycling.

    Clean packing peanuts will often be taken at mailing and shipping stores to be reused for packing packages — always call before you drive!

    If the above options won’t work for you, please dispose properly in your garbage. Ideally you should place the material in a garbage or other plastic bag so that if broken the pieces won’t fly away.



    Sharps, such as needles and EpiPens should never go into your blue recycling cart. This is a public health hazard for recycling truck drivers and sorting crews at the recycling facility. Additionally, these items are not recyclable and should never go into your recycling. However, needles and other sharps, if in the proper container, can be brought to any of the three transfer stations in Clark County — Call before you drive!

    Light bulbs

    Light bulbs are never recyclable in your blue recycling cart. They are made of some glass, but it’s not the right glass. Light bulbs, such as fluorescents, also contain dangerous chemicals if they are broken.


    Fluorescent light tubes and CFLs can be recycled at number of locations around Clark County:

    Visit to find your closest location. Some locations provide an exchange program for doing the right thing; bring in a CFL for proper disposal and get a new bulb! Always call before you drive.

    To-go cups

    To-go cups, both plastic and paper are not recyclable. Plastic to-go cups are not desired and often have food waste or residue that can contaminate recyclables.


    Paper to-go cups, like coffee cups, are not just made of paper. To keep the coffee from soaking the paper, coffee cups are lined with a thin layer of plastic. This thin layer of plastic, in addition to the food waste, is what prevents coffee cups from being recyclable. You may see coffee cups that advertise they are compostable or made of plant-based plastic for the liner, these still are not recyclable. Additionally, they aren’t compostable at businesses or schools that participate in the compostable waste program. If your workplace has compost service, don’t toss in the coffee cups regardless if they say compostable on them. Always follow the directions and instructions provided by your recycling and compost hauler and not the advertising on packaging and materials.

    Hard plastic packaging


    All plastics are not equal. It may be the right material, but the wrong shape and size. Also, just because it has a number or recycle symbol on it, doesn’t mean it is recyclable with your local hauler. Only the items indicated by your recycling hauler can be recycled. Doing recycling right is much more than just what material the item is made out of because machines that process recyclables into new products are designed to handle a particular recyclable object of a certain size and shape and material. These plastics are made of recyclable material, but they are the wrong shape, so unfortunately they’ll end up in the garbage regardless. But if placed in the recycling cart, they will cause delays and issues for the good recyclables to get to their destination or contaminate them. Keep plastics of the wrong shape and size out of the cart.

    Learn more

    Garbage, diapers, pet waste


    When in doubt, throw it out. It’s better to throw a recyclable item in the garbage than it is to put garbage in your Blue Recycling Cart. Garbage mixed with recyclables makes garbage so everything goes to the landfill. Please don't waste valuable recyclables by contaminating the whole load with garbage. Diapers are a material that are frequently misplaced in the recycling cart. They take up a lot of room in the garbage and that large blue cart can be very tempting. Diapers, although made of plastic and paper materials, are never recyclable in your curbside recycling. They also pose a public health threat by not being properly disposed in the garbage. Please always place diapers in the garbage. Pet waste should be bagged in plastic, the top tied shut, and the bag placed in the garbage. Don’t make your garbage hauler handle loose pet waste and please don’t recycle it. You can’t turn pet waste into anything new—it’s garbage.

    Learn more

    Household hazardous waste


    Virtually every home contains products that are potentially hazardous if misused or disposed of improperly. Common hazardous products include pesticides, paints, solvents, batteries, thinners, motor oil, antifreeze, and household cleaners. It’s important to know how to handle, store, and purchase these materials to protect the safety and well-being of your family, community and the environment. You should never pour hazardous wastes down the drain, into the stormdrain, or place it in the garbage.

    Learn more


    Your recycling cart may have contained garbage, or one of the following items not recyclable in the blue recycling cart:


    Donate clothing and household items instead. They are not recyclable at the curb and can cause delays and contamination to good recyclables. Additionally, textiles can become tangly items for the recycling process.

    Yard Debris

    Yard debris never belongs in your blue recycling cart. The material will contaminate recyclables and ultimately will end up in the landfill instead of being recycled. You can request curbside yard debris service by calling Waste Connections at 360-892-5370 or There are facilities throughout the county that also will take yard debris, sometimes even for free; visit Recycling A-Z and search for “yard debris” to find locations. Always call before you drive.


    Lumber and other home construction and demolition material never belongs in your blue recycling cart. The material will contaminate recyclables and ultimately will end up in the landfill instead of being recycled. If you are doing a large home project, contact Waste Connections to get a drop-box at 360-892-5370 or They can also assist in helping divert your construction waste from the landfill.

    Paper Towels and Tissue

    Paper towels and tissue paper (toilet paper, Kleenex, and gift tissue paper) are not recyclable. The paper fibers in these products are very short. Paper products, when recycled, are broken down back into paper pulp and the fibers shorten, but not too much that they can’t be recycled into a new product. However, when paper towels and tissue are pulped the fibers become too short and at that point cannot become a new paper product; instead they contaminate the paper pulp to product a lesser quality paper that has much more limited uses.

    Additionally, paper towels and tissues are often used for dirty jobs, like cleaning a mess or blowing your nose. At that point they are harboring contaminates that could soil clean recyclables and make them then non-recyclable.

    Food Waste

    You may have seen in the news that some regions are moving to curbside collection of food waste, such as Seattle and Portland. Clark County does not have curbside food waste collection.

    Additionally, recyclables should only be placed in your blue recycling cart if they are clean. If a recyclable item’s weight is mostly from the food waste in it, throw the item in the garbage or properly clean the recyclable before placing it in your blue recycling cart. You don’t have to scrub it until it sparkles, just clean it enough that most of the food waste it out, sometimes this can be as easy as a rinse.

    Food waste contaminates recyclables, especially paper. The result is recyclables being sent to the landfill instead of being recycled.

    You can learn about composting your food waste from the Master Composter Recyclers who teach classes on backyard composting and worm bins.

    Learn more

    Loose Shredded Paper

    Shredded paper can be recycled if properly contained. Always place shredded paper into a paper bag and seal it shut by rolling down the top.

    When recycling shredding paper, be sure to not include credit cards or other plastics.

    When shredded paper is placed loosely in the recycling cart, the material can fly out of your cart when it gets emptied by the truck and litter on the ground. If the loose shredded paper makes it to the sorting process, the material is too small to get recycled and will end up in the landfill with other too small items.


    Electronics are never recyclable at your curb, they will jam equipment, harm worker safety, and ultimately end up in the landfill. Cords and wires from electronics can also be a tangly item.

    However, there are many options for electronic recycling in Clark County, but always call ahead before going to drop off items:

    If electronic is still working: Donate to a thrift store or Empower Up

    If not working, but could be fixed: Empower Up

    If it cannot be fixed: It can be dropped off at any E-Cycle Washington location

    Learn more