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.

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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

Call us
(360) 397-2121 x4352

Master Composter Recycler

  • Compost Consultations

    Are you interested in setting up a better composting system at your community garden?

    The Master Composter Recycler Program offers FREE Composting Consultations for community gardens in Clark County, WA. A Master Composter Recycler Ambassador will come to your garden with resources, tips and tricks to guide you to composting success.

    Read more

     

    mcr compost consults article

    How does this program work?

    Is my garden eligible?

    Any school, church, or community garden can participate in the program. The application will help provide us the details we need to know how to help you best.

    What can I expect from my compost consultation site visit?

    A Master Composter Recycler ambassador will come out to your garden to provide you resources and advice (where to site a bin, what style of bin will work best, what to compost and not compost, how to manage your compost pile, etc.) to help you set up a successful composting system. The visit will take 30 – 60 minutes. At the end of the visit, we’ll leave you with a packet of resources to guide you and fellow gardeners on your own. You are always welcome to reach out to us with additional questions.

    What happens after my site visit?

    You will be responsible for obtaining any necessary supplies to construct your composting system and manage your pile(s). However, your ambassador will be available for additional visits to help you set up your system, check up on your progress, ensure things are working properly, and troubleshoot problems.

    So how do I get started?

    If you are interested in a Master Composter Recycler ambassador coming to your garden for a consult, please call (360) 397-2121 ext. 4352 or email us at mcr@clark.wa.gov and ask to set up a visit. All we need is some basic contact information and few details on your current composting set up, or lack thereof. This will help us determine what resources we can provide to best meet your needs.

    Please spread the word! This is a new service that we are proud to offer the community for free. If you know someone who works in a community garden space, ask if they have heard of this opportunity.

  • What goes in the yard debris cart?

    The yard debris cart is where you can place grass and clippings from your yard to recycle them into compost.

    The Master Composter Recycler Program offers FREE workshops and trainings on backyard composting, worm-bin composting, recycling, green cleaning, and other waste-reduction techniques. For more information about this program and to sign up for a workshop, visit our Master Composter Recycler pages or email mcr@clark.wa.gov.

    Read more

     

    yard debris article

    What goes in the cart:

    Leaves, grass, brush, or woody prunings.

    If you use bags instead of, or in addition to, your yard debris cart, please use only compostable, double walled kraft bags sold for this purpose. Brush bundles must be less than 1 foot in diameter and 5 feet in length. Tie with twine or string, no wire please. Loose yard debris is not accepted.

    There are weight limits for the carts. For more information, please call Waste Connections at 360.892.5370, visit www.wcnorthwest.com or email recyclehelp@wcnx.org.

    Seasonal items:

    • In Autumn, pumpkins are accepted with the candles removed.
    • Christmas trees can be placed in your cart. Cut them into sections no longer than 5 feet and remove all tinsel, decorations and lights. No flocked trees are accepted.
  • Online resources

    Clark County Green Businesses

    The Clark County Green Business Program recognizes and celebrates the achievements of green businesses. The program provides web-based assessments, resources, and assistance to businesses seeking a structured approach to implementing green initiatives and measuring results.

    Recycling A-Z

    A guide for local reuse, recycling, and safe disposal options for hundreds of products and household items. The facilities listed on this site are in Clark County and the Portland metro area.

    E-Cycle Washington

    Washington has a FREE, convenient and environmentally responsible recycling program for computers, monitors, laptops and televisions. This site will help you find out where you can recycle these items in your community.

    Plasticbagrecycling.org

    This website will answer your questions about what type of plastic bags can be recycled, and what products might be made from this recycled material.

    Clark County’s Green Schools Program

    Clark County Environmental Services partners with Washington Green Schools, Waste Connections, and City of Vancouver to provide education and technical support to all schools in Clark County. Schools in this program have the opportunity to focus on one or all six environmental categories: waste, water, grounds, energy, transportation and healthy buildings. As of winter 2015, there are 76 out of 136 public schools in the Clark Green Schools program. Currently, Clark County has the largest number of green schools of any county in the state of Washington.

    2 Good 2 Toss

    Technically known as an online materials exchange, 2good2toss is a convenient way to exchange small or large quantities of used or surplus building materials and large household items.

    Hour Impact

    Hour Impact is a time bank program in Clark County where individuals exchange assets, resources and expertise with time as the sole currency. For every hour deposited, members are able to withdraw an hour of service for their needs. An hour exchanged based on the equality of time empowers individuals to utilize their assets and enhance their lives, neighborhoods and communities. The program assists those who may be unable to pay for important services to support themselves and acknowledges that every human being has something of value to contribute. To participate, you must create an account and profile page and complete a background check. You can then post assets you have to offer, and view other peoples’ profile and offerings.

    More Information

    The Master Composter Recycler program is funded through a grant provided by the Washington State Department of Ecology, Coordinated Prevention Grant program. For additional information about the program or to ask a question, call (360) 397-2121 ext. 4352 or email mcr@clark.wa.gov.

  • How to recycle

    As humans, we generate lots of “stuff.” Caring for our planet, our health, and our community means making sure the stuff we don’t use, need, or want anymore is, whenever possible, reused or recycled, and finally, properly disposed of.

    Read more

    mcr how to recycle

    When you toss or recycle, where is away?

    In Clark County, private companies, under contract to the county and/or to cities within the county provide recycling collection, sorting, processing, and marketing services. Contracted haulers provide residential recycling collection in the cities and throughout the county.

    There are no active public landfills in the county. Most waste from Clark County is barged up the Columbia River to the Finley Buttes landfill near Boardman, Oregon. Three garbage transfer stations offer free drop-off of recyclable materials during all business hours and free drop-off of household hazardous wastes on specified dates each month.

    Learn more about transfer stations

    • West Van Materials Recovery Center
    • Central Transfer Recycling Center
    • The Washougal Transfer Station

    Closing the Materials Loop – Curbside Recycling

    Curbside recycling is available to ALL residents of Clark County. In some cities and urban growth areas, curbside recycling is mandatory. The City of Vancouver uses rolling carts for residential curbside recycling. In all areas, recycling is picked up on the same day as garbage (self-haul garbage customers are given a recycling schedule). Residents are assigned a pick-up day when they sign up for garbage service.

    How do I know who my recycling service provider is?

    In all areas of Clark County except the greater Woodland area, contact Waste Connections, Inc. (360) 892-5370 or customerhelp@wasteconnections.com.

    If you live within the City of Woodland, contact Waste Control at (360) 225-7808.

    What goes in the recycling cart?

    Check out this pdfCurbside recycling guide for Vancouver’s roll carts. Please note that the following items are often confused as being recyclable in your curbside bin. Sadly, they are not!

    These items should NOT go in your recycling cart:

    • Lids from plastic containers
    • Styrofoam™
    • Plastic take-out containers from restaurants
    • Any box that contained frozen food
    • Grocery produce “clamshells” often used for cherry tomato or berry containers
    • Plastic bags
    • Glass

    Glass is collected in its own container. Clamshell plastic items and Styrofoam can be recycled at Far West Recycling. Plastic bags (and other film plastics) can be recycled in drop off containers in the entryway to your local grocery stores.

    Some items that don’t go in the recycling cart can be recycled

    Many items are not accepted in your curbside cart but can be dropped off at one of the local transfer stations, or at other recycling businesses. Not sure what can be recycled or where?

    Check out the A-Z Recycling Directory

    Self-Haul Recycling

    A community building idea that makes a difference

    Get together with your neighbors or neighborhood association to pool your recyclables or materials that cannot go in the roll cart, and take turns doing a run with them to the transfer station or a collection site. It’s a great way to build community, save money, and reduce individual car trips!

    Can I self-haul my own recycling?

    Yes indeed. Both transfer stations will accept your self-hauled recyclables. West Van Materials Recovery Center offers a buy back program for some recyclable commodities. Please call (360) 737-1727 for specific information on the types of commodities accepted, minimum quantities to qualify, material preparation requirements and current buy back rates.

    Other Items accepted for a fee:

    • Yard debris
    • Clean wood
    • Sheet rock
    • Appliances (best to donate working appliances to those who can use them)

    Yucky Poison Stuff: Household Hazardous Wastes

    Many household products (herbicides, pesticides, toxic cleaning products, paint, etc.) contain hazardous chemicals that can, if not properly disposed of, make their way into the environment, contaminate waterways and harm pets and wildlife. If you live in Clark County, there are many opportunities to properly dispose of hazardous waste from your household. You can take it to any one of the three transfer stations.

    Compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs are considered hazardous waste. They contain mercury and it is important to dispose of them properly – not in your trash can. Dispose of CFLs at any of the many locations listed on the Clark County website. You can also check out Light Recycle for more information and to find more collection locations.

    Learn more about how to identify household hazardous waste (HHW) in your own home.

    What About Electronics?

    Washington has a great product stewardship program to help salvage usable materials from used electronics and to remove the toxic materials contained in some items. The majority of the electronics are disassembled for recycling here in Washington. Some electronics go out-of-state for processing and some materials are exported for recycling at approved facilities. Metals, plastics and glass are separated and sold as commodities to be reused as raw materials in the manufacturing of new products. Clark County maintains a complete list of locations where you can recycle electronics in our area.

    Households can recycle these items for free!

    • Televisions
    • Computers
    • Computer monitors
    • Portable or laptop computers including tablets
    • E-readers (also called e-book readers)

    E-cycle is a great Washington resource. This site can help you find out where you can recycle electronic items in your community.

    Plastic Bags and Wrap

    It’s clear: Plastic wraps, bags and film packaging abound. From the wrapper around paper towels, to the plastic enveloping a new shirt, to the sleeve holding the newspaper, to a plastic bag containing bread. Unfortunately, these materials are often wasted or become litter instead of being properly recycled as valuable resources to produce new products.

    You can return clean, dry, empty plastic bags/film/wrap to recycling drop off locations. Look for recycling bins near store entrances. Enter your zip code at plasticfilmrecycling.org to find locations near you. These recyclable plastics include:

    • Retail, Newspaper, Dry Cleaning, Bread, Produce, and also other Plastic Bags labeled #2 and #4
    • Zip Close Food Storage bags (clean and dry)
    • Furniture and Electronic wrap
    • Plastic cereal box liners (if it tears like paper do not include)
    • Plastic shipping envelopes, including Tyvek ®, bubble wrap and air pillows (Remove labels and/or deflate)
    • Product Wrap (used on paper towels, diapers, bathroom tissue, water bottles)
    • Any film packaging or bag that has the How2Recycle Label

    The City of Vancouver has information about recycling plastic bags and wrap in Vancouver, Washington.

    Recycling Construction Debris

    “If yard debris, construction and demolition wastes, and a few other materials are considered, the amount of ‘garbage’ that could be easily recycled exceeds 60-70%.” (ref. Hlavka, R. “Recyclables in the Wrong Can”). Do your part to help properly dispose of construction debris! Here are some great resources:

    The Clark County construction salvage and recycling toolkit offers listings to help builders, developers, architects and residents find resources to assist with commercial and residential projects. This can result in lowering project costs by saving time and money through reuse and recycling of materials that would otherwise go the landfill. This free publication contains over 60 recycling sites within a ten-mile distance of the Vancouver side of the Columbia River.

    Transfer stations and several companies in Clark County, WA accept construction debris (charges may apply), used motor oil and other automotive wastes. See www.RecyclingA-Z.com for a full list.

    The ReBuilding Center (Portland, OR) offers DeConstruction Services, a sustainable alternative to conventional demolition. Working by hand, their skilled crews salvage up to 85% of a building’s major components for reuse.

    Metro Regional Services publishes pdfMetro Construction Industry Recycling Toolkit that lists recycling locations in the Portland area that accept construction debris. The Toolkit is also available at the Clark County offices. Another wonderful resource is the Portland Metro Recycling Information hotline: (503) 234-3000.

    Have something else to recycle?

    Do you have something else to recycle but don’t know where to take it? Check out Recycling A-Z, the ultimate recycling directory for Clark County, Washington.

    What about re-use?

    EPA studies show that a community benefits from the creation of jobs from reuse. Keeping good stuff in use helps our community, and is a smart thing to do. If you have items you no longer want or need, consider donating them. There are many thrift stores in Clark County that accept usable items. Make a difference by supporting sharing and re-use in our community.

  • How to compost

    Composting is a way to turn your yard and kitchen wastes into part of nature’s natural cycle of decomposition. Composting is a great way to reduce our contribution to landfills and climate changing gasses while producing a wonderful soil amendment for yards and gardens.

    We offer workshops and demonstrations on how to feed the earth rather than the landfill.

    Read more

    mcr how to compost article

    Backyard Composting

    There are many systems for composting yard and kitchen waste in your backyard. You can visit one of our composting demonstration sites to see various bins and systems in use. If you want to virtually explore some options for backyard composting systems this website is a helpful resource.

    The two basic backyard composting methods are fast— batch or hot composting, and slow— add as you go or cold composting. Mother nature doesn’t care which one you use. But you might! With the faster hot composting method, the end product can be higher quality— but the amount of work needed to turn and monitor your pile is more. With cold composting, not as much work is needed, but it can take several months to a year to get usable compost.

    SMART is an acronym for the compost factors you should pay attention to for best results:

    S:
    Size

    The size of your pile and the pieces you put in it. Your pile should be at least 3 x 3 x 3 feet in volume (for a hot pile). Your woody pieces of material should be chopped up to less than 2″ in diameter.

    M:
    Moisture

    Keep the pile moist as a wrung out sponge. You can mist it with a hose as you add new material.

    A:
    Aeration

    Turn your compost occasionally. You want oxygen to get into the pile, and to get the materials mixed. Serious composters try to get the pile hot — and turn it once the temperature drops.

    R:
    Ratio

    The ratio of “browns” to “greens” should be an average of Carbon/Nitrogen 30:1. An easy way to measure this is to go by volume — and use 1:1. One unit of brown to one of green. An easy way to remember this is “equal parts of green and brown help to break the compost down.”

    T:
    Turn

    Turn your “garbage” into black gold!

    Here are some other great resources

    Composting Using Redworms

    There is great information on the web about composting with worms. Here are some links to resources we find helpful:

    Red wigglers (Eisenia fetida) are the worm of choice for home vermicomposting. There are a number of local resources in the Clark County area to purchase redworms. It’s always a good idea to call ahead for availability and pricing. One pound is typically a good amount to start a worm bin with.

    If you want to purchase redworms elsewhere, we recommend you enter “buy redworms” in your search engine to find the best source and price for you.

    Happy Composting!

  • Compost Demo Sites

    Visit a Compost Demo Site

    The Master Composter Recycler program operates two composting demonstration sites in Clark County where visitors can view different bins, compost systems, and see compost being made on a backyard scale. These sites are open to the public daily during daylight hours. The locations are:

    CASEE

    Center for Agriculture Science and Environmental Education, 11104 NE 149th, Brush Prairie. Demonstration site is located at the west end of the NatureScaping Wildlife Botanical Gardens.

    Learn more about NatureScaping gardens

    Heritage Farm

    78th St Heritage Farm, 1919 NE 78th St, Vancouver. Demonstration site is walking distance from the parking lot, north of the orchard and west of the community garden.

    mcr compost demo site article
  • Become a Master Composter / Recycler (MCR)

    If composting and recycling interest you, you want a sustainable future, and you want to be part of a great community, consider becoming a Master Composter / Recycler. The volunteer training provides you with the tools and knowledge to build a hot compost pile, tend a worm bin, and reduce waste.

    Master Composter / Recyclers attend an annual FREE 10-session course that explores:  backyard composting, vermicomposting, recycling, sustainable living, green cleaning, and more. Participants then share what they learn with the Clark County community. Master Composter / Recyclers “payback” their training with community service hours. They represent the program at community events such as fairs and farmers markets; teach and host workshops and lectures; grow redworms for wormshops; maintain compost demonstration sites; and share their knowledge with neighbors and community groups.

    Applications are being accepted now for the 2018 MCR training. Classes are scheduled for Wednesday evenings, January 24 – March 28, 2018. If you are interested in getting more hands on experience with composting and recycling, check out our workshops

    Program Application

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    Thank you for your interest in becoming a Master Composter Recycler Volunteer. Upon receipt of your completed application you will be contacted with further information. We look forward to working with you! Please contact the Master Composter Recycler Program at: mcr@clark.wa.gov or call 360-397-2121 ext. 4961 with questions or for more information.
  • MCR Clubhouse

    Welcome to the new Master Composter Recycler “secret” portal. Here you will be able to view upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, log your volunteer hours, and receive program updates. This site will support, but not replace, program communication. It will serve as a central venue to get up-to-date MCR info. Please take a look around and let us know if you have questions or suggestions. Drop us a line at MCR@clark.wa.gov or give a call at 360.397.2121 ext. 4961.

    See what’s new  Volunteer opportunities  Log your hours

    Class Graduation 2
     

    Updates:

    • Congratulations to the 2017 MCR grads! We're so happy to have you join our community, and look forward to seeing you at upcoming opportunities.
    • Did you miss the MC Composta video? Take a look!
    • MCR material is stored at the 78th St Heritage Farm with a convenient combination for easy pick up and drop off. Enter through the gate at the end of the parking lot, turn left immediately and left again for access to the first bay of the garage. The code for the pedestrian gate and the garage lock combination are both 4-7-1-1.
    • Visit the new compost demonstration site at the Heritage Farm! A natural fit for the farm, the demo site is located to the west of the community gardens and to the north of the orchard.
    • New interpretative signs at the CASEE and Heritage Farm compost demonstration sites.
  • Master Composter/Recycler

    Inspiring a greener future by sharing knowledge

    The average American throws away 4.5 pounds of stuff each day. Across our nation, over 165 million tons of potentially usable material is landfilled each year. This represents a large cost both economically and environmentally. Why throw good things away!? Diverting valuable materials back into the production and raw materials stream can save money, create jobs, and foster a healthier environment.

    The Master Composter Recycler Program educates the community about easy ways to reduce waste, recycle more, and re-think our impact on natural resources.

    Trained Master Composter Recyclers are sustainability ambassadors. They host backyard composting workshops, attend community events with a booth chock-full of composting and recycling how-to information, teach wormshops, operate composting demonstration sites, and share their knowledge with neighbors and community groups.

    For more information about the Master Composter Recycler program, please call (360) 397-2121 ext 4961 or email mcr@clark.wa.gov.

    Become a master composter

     

    Related articles: Recycling Done Right | Recycling A–Z

  • Classes and Workshops

    Our Fall 2017 Schedule is here!

    Register now!

    Workshop details

     mcr classes workshops article

    Lasagna Compost Garden – FREE. Pre-registration required

    Saturday, September 30th, 10 a.m. – noon at CASEE Center (Brush Prairie) 
    This no till, no-dig method saves time and backaches.

     

    Backyard Composting – FREE. Pre-registration required

    Saturday, October 21st, 10 a.m. – noon at Heritage Farm (Hazel Dell)
    Why waste a good thing? Recycle organic waste to make a rich soil amendment and keep it out of the landfill. View compost bins in action. Learn how to turn your yard waste into garden gold.

     

    Green Cleaning – FREE. Pre-registration required

    Wednesday, December 6th, 6 – 8pm at Heritage Farm (Hazel Dell)
    Make three versatile household green cleaners. Kit and ingredients provided no charge.