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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Pesticide

  • 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.

     

    Related articles: Unwanted Medication Disposal | Hazardous Waste Assessment

  • Pesticide labels

    How To Read a Pesticide Label

    The labeling of pesticides is more complicated than most other chemical products. This is necessary because many pesticides are more toxic than other chemicals found around the home. Warnings, use specifications, and directions must be much more complete and detailed.

    You can tell the toxicity of a pesticide by looking at the signal word on the label. Pesticides are classified into Toxicity Categories I – IV (Category I is the most toxic, IV the least toxic). The signal words and the precautionary statements required on the label are different for each category. The following Toxicity Rating Scale indicates the requirements for pesticide labels.

    Signal Words on Pesticides

    Category If the label has this signal word... This is how toxic the product is (approximate amount needed kill an average person).

    • Highly Toxic DANGER, POISON – A few drops to one teaspoon
    • Moderately Toxic WARNING – One teaspoon to one ounce
    • Slightly Toxic CAUTION – Over one ounce
    • Not Toxic – Not Required
    If a product label does not provide ingredients or adequate instructions on how to safely use the product, then you should consider buying a product that does list this basic information. You can also contact the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer and request a copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for that product. An MSDS lists the ingredients in a hazardous product, its manufacturer, its hazards to safety and health, and precautions to follow when using it.
  • What’s a hazardous product?

    How to identify hazardous products

    Hazardous products such as those mentioned above have the potential to harm people, pets, and wildlife. To identify potentially hazardous products, look for words on the product label such as poison, danger, warning, caution, or flammable. Hazardous products should be taken to special collection facilities for disposal. They should never be thrown in the trash because they can pose threats to public health and the environment. These threats vary according to specific properties of the product.

    Things To Consider When Purchasing Products

    • Before purchasing a product, read the label to get an indication of its properties. Be aware that the word “non-toxic” is an advertising word and has no federal regulatory definition.
    • Choose products with child resistant packaging.
    • Avoid aerosol products when possible. Aerosols disperse substances that can be inhaled deeply into the lungs and absorbed into the bloodstream.
    • Use non-hazardous or less-hazardous alternative products and recipes. One general household cleaner can serve many purposes; you do not need a different product for every cleaning problem.
    • If safer alternatives are not available, buy only the amount you will need. Make sure that you understand what hazards are associated with a product’s use or disposal.
    • Flammable: Can easily be set on fire or ignited.
    • Explosive/reactive: Can detonate or explode through exposure to heat, sudden shock, or pressure.
    • Corrosive/caustic: Can burn and destroy living tissues when brought in contact.
    • Toxic/poisonous: Capable of causing injury or death through ingestion, inhalation, or absorption. Some toxic substances are known to cause cancer, genetic damage, and fetal harm.
    • Radioactive: Can damage and destroy cells and chromosomal material. Radioactive substances are known to cause cancer, mutations, and fetal harm.
    Some materials may exhibit more than one chemical hazard; for example, they might be flammable and toxic or corrosive and combustible.

    Other Types of Household Hazardous Products

    • Medications: Pharmaceutical compounds (i.e., antibiotics, reproductive hormones, and other prescription and nonprescription drugs).
    • Sharps: Hypodermic needles, syringes with needles attached, intravenous (IV) tubing with needles attached, scalpel blades, and lancets.
    • E-waste: Electronic waste such as computers, televisions, monitors, and printers.
    • Fluorescent lights: It is important to properly recycle compact fluorescent lights (cfl) because they contain small amounts of mercury. There are multiple sites for proper disposal of fluorescent bulbs in Clark County. Visit Light Recycle to search for a drop-off location close to you. Clark Public Utilities will take up to six unwanted cfl bulbs and exchange them for one new LED bulb at their local offices.
  • 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.

  • Protecting groundwater

    Ways you can help protect groundwater and personal health

    If your property has a water well, make sure to conduct annual well checkups. In addition to protecting groundwater, yearly water testing and well maintenance can prevent costly maintenance, prolong the life of your well and prevent illness from fecal bacteria, nitrates and other contaminants. See the Washington State Department of Health’s website on safe drinking water and Clark County’s Public Health website for additional water well testing and maintenance information.

    You can also protect groundwater and personal health by:

    • Keeping hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides and motor oil far away from your well.
    • Maintaining a “clean” zone of at least 100 feet between your well and any kennels or livestock operations.
    • Periodically checking the well cover or well cap on top of the well casing to ensure it is in good repair and securely attached. Its seal should keep out dirt, insects and rodents.

    Another way to protect groundwater is to conserve it. Groundwater is a limited resource. In Clark County, groundwater aquifers supply almost all the water for drinking, agriculture, and other uses. Increasing demands on water supplies and droughts have made conserving water more important. Everyone can start by monitoring everyday water use around the home. For water-saving tips, see the EPA’s WaterSense website.

    Residents with on-site septic systems can also protect groundwater by ensuring their system is inspected regularly. See Clark County’s Public Health website on septic systems for more information.

    As residents of the rainy Pacific Northwest, we might assume that clean, fresh water will always be ours for the asking. But pollution, urbanization, and other population pressures challenge this assumption. Clark County administers the Clean Water Program to safeguard the quality of our water and comply with the federal Clean Water Act. For more information, see the EPA’s website about the Clean Water Act.

  • Safe disposal

    Take it to the transfer station!

    Clark County residents can dispose of household hazardous waste such as paints, pesticides, poisons, automotive fluids and chemicals at the three transfer stations in Clark County on most Fridays and weekends for FREE.

    Residents can drop of household hazardous waste at the following locations and times (business-generated hazardous waste will not be accepted at these sites):

    Central Transfer Center Station
    11034 N.E. 117th Ave.
    (360) 256-8482
    Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    West Van Recovery Center
    6601 N.W. Old Lower River Road
    (360) 737-1727
    Friday and Saturday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Washougal Transfer Station
    4020 S. Grant St
    (360) 835-2500
    Third Saturdays: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    There are also twelve paint stores in Clark County that accept used or leftover paint:

    • Ace Hardware, 13009 NE Hwy 99, Vancouver
    • Ace Hardward, 1605 W Main Street, Battle Ground
    • Filbin's Ace Hardward, 809 NE Minnehaha St, Vancouver
    • Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 10811 SE Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver
    • Miller Paint, 14300 NE 20th Ave., Vancouver
    • Miller Paint, 9609 NE 117th Ave., Vancouver
    • Miller Paint, 2607 NE Andresen Rd., Vancouver
    • Miller Paint, 111 NE 164th Ave., Vancouver
    • North County Hardware, 40600 NE 221st Ave., Amboy
    • Parkrose Hardware, 16509 SE 1st St., Vancouver
    • Parkrose Hardware, 8000 E Mill Plain Blvd, Vancouver
    • Rodda Paint and Décor, 7723 NE 4th Plain Blvd., Vancouver

    Guidelines for dropping off hazardous waste 

    DO:

    • Keep HHW products separate (do not mix).
    • Bring products in their original containers when possible.
    • Seal products to prevent leaks and spills.
    • Keep products away from the driver and passengers, i.e., in a trunk, truck bed, or trailer.
    • Keep children and pets away from collection sites and events.

    DO NOT:

    • Exceed 25 gallons or 220 pounds of HHW at fixed HHW collection facilities (okay at the satellite collection events)
    • Bring asbestos, explosives/ammunition, or radioactive materials