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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Bottled water

  • Holiday Waste Reduction

    It’s easy to be green no matter what holiday it is —
    Here are some tips you can use all year long

    Read more

     

    Related articles: Waste Reduction Home Assessment | Thoughtful Consumption

    holiday waste reduction article

  • How to conserve

     

    First, it’s helpful to understand the 3 categories of water and then consider how you can conserve, save, and waste less:

    1. Blue water is fresh water from lakes, rivers, and sub-surface water or groundwater.
    2. Green water is rain which falls directly on crops.
    3. Greywater is water generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing. It may contain traces of dirt, food, grease, and certain household cleaning products. While greywater may look “dirty,” it is usually safe to be recycled or reused for uses such as landscape irrigation and constructed wetlands.

    A note on bottled water: drinking bottled water itself doesn’t negatively affect our fresh water supplies. But, we should be aware that to manufacture the plastic bottle, 6.74 times the amount of the water in the bottle is used. Not to mention the other energy and resources used and the fact that 86 percent of water bottles end up in landfills!

    When looking at your own water use, begin by observing how much you waste. Do you have a leak in a faucet or a shower head that drips? That leaky faucet or shower could be losing almost 14 percent of the total water you use.

    Some no and low-cost tips for saving water inside your home:

    Dishes

    • Run your dishwasher only when it’s full.
    • Don’t run water continuously when washing dishes by hand. The average dishwasher uses about 10 gallons of water per load. Washing the same number of dishes by hand takes about 16 gallons. Newer, efficient dishwashers use as little as 5 gallons per cycle, which means they also consume less energy to heat the water.

    Faucets

    • Fix leaky faucets immediately. A leaky faucet, dripping once per second, wastes six gallons of water a day.
    • Install low-flow aerators on every faucet.
    • Don’t leave the water running when brushing your teeth or shaving. With the tap running at full force, shaving takes 20 gallons of water, teeth-brushing takes 10 and hand-washing takes two.

    Bath & Laundry

    • Wash only full loads of laundry, or use the proper water level setting for your load size.
    • Take shorter showers and use less water in your bath. A full bathtub requires about 36 gallons of water. A five-minute shower using a water-conserving showerhead will use just 15 to 25 gallons. Showers and baths account for one-third of most families’ water use.

    Toilets

    • Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket. Each flush wastes water.
    • Check toilets for leaks.
    • Did you know 30 percent of your indoor water is used flushing the toilet? Your older toilet could be using way more than the new low flush toilet. If your older toilet flushes 3.5 gallons per flush, one person can use as much as 7,135 gallons per year just to flush a toilet. But, if you have a toilet that flushes 1.0 gallons per flush, one person can consume as little as 1,928 gallons per year. These “improved” toilets rely on an efficient bowl design and increased flushing velocity — instead of extra water — to remove wastes. If you’re thinking about making the switch, get recommendations about the best models from retailers and plumbers who have installed or used low-volume toilets.

    If you’re willing to invest a little money to use less water, consider installing water-efficient toilets, faucets and showerheads.

    For more information about water conservation, check out the Home Water Works website. It’s packed full of good tips and resources.

  • Plastics

    Not all plastics are created equal.

    Not all plastics are recyclable.

    Know the items, not the materials.

     

    Read more

     

    plastics article

    Just focus on the item, not the type of plastic

    It is more important to follow the pdfRecycling Instructions from Waste Connections than to try to find out what exact plastic types are recyclable in your cart. When deciding if you should put something into your recycling cart, the object size and shape are often more important than the material type. Sorting machines are designed to expect certain objects, of which are made of the desired material for recycling.

    The first process in the life of your recyclables is as follows:

    1. You put a recyclable in your cart
    2. The truck picks up the recyclable
    3. The truck dumps the load at a Materials Reclamation Facility (MRF)
    4. The MRF sorts and bales the recyclables
    5. The MRF sells the bales to recyclers for creating recycled products or further sorting

    Your help is wanted! The MRF is designed to recognize objects that are on the Recycling Instructions; the MRF is not designed to be able to identify the material an object is made from. Because of that, objects that are not on the instructions can cause havoc on the machines and shut down the recycling process. Some of these items are recyclable elsewhere, but since they were improperly placed in a curbside recycling cart they now will end up at the landfill, or contaminate good recyclables causing them to go to the landfill too. Do your part, and recycle right.

    Numbers, i.e. Resin Codes

    The ASTM International Resin Identification Coding System (RIC) was originally developed by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association (SPI) in 1988 to identify the plastic resin used to make a product. This was helpful for recycler companies, but was never meant for consumers or residents for recycling. Commonly seen as a triangular symbol made of chasing arrows with a number in the center, the resin code is often confused with the recycling symbol. In 2013, SPI announced that resin codes will start to use a solid equilateral triangle (without the arrows), with a number still in the center, to eliminate this common mix-up with the public.

    Resin Code Plastic Type Curbside Recyclables Non-recyclable examples
     1 polyethylene terephthalate (PET) Soda/beverage bottles Fleece, strapping, tote bags, furniture, chairs, carpet, cups
     2 high-density polyethylene (HDPE) Detergent bottles, milk jugs Pipe, bins, auto and playground equipment, plastic bags
     3 polyvinyl chloride (PVC)   Pipe, siding, fencing, flooring, shower curtains, lawn chairs, toys
     4 low-density polyethylene (LDPE)   Plastic bags, 6-pack rings, various containers
     5 polypropylene (PP)   Auto parts, food containers, dishware
     6 polystyrene (PS)   Styrofoam, plastic utensils and trays, cassettes, clamshell containers, packing peanuts
     7 Other, including acrylic, nylon, polycarbonate, fiberglass, and polylactic acid (PLA)   Headlight lenses, safety shields/glasses, Plexiglass, eyeglass and contact lenses, paint, stockings, toothbrushes, DVD/CDs, etc.

    Did you know it is State law for plastic products to have a resin code? 39 states have such a law. Under the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 70.95F, Labeling of Plastics, “no person may distribute, sell, or offer for sale in this state a plastic bottle or rigid plastic container unless the container is labeled with a code identifying the appropriate resin type used to produce the structure of the container.”