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.

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Contact Details

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Recycling Done Right

  • Unlucky thirteen

    Not Part of the ‘Big Blue’ In-Crowd

    There are a lot of items that should NOT go in the blue curbside recycling cart. We know that people get excited about recycling and it feels good to do the right thing. Often that leads to ‘wish-cycling’ and our response to that is ‘when in doubt, leave it out.’ We’ve made a list of thirteen of those items and, although there are many more, we hope you’ll make an extra effort to dispose of these where they really belong.

    If you aren’t sure whether an item belongs in Big Blue, please do not put it there, no matter how much you would like to recycle it. Having non-recyclable items mixed into the cart creates additional work for the crews who have to sort it out and results in the wrong materials being bundled together and sent off to the markets where they may cause entire loads to be redirected to the garbage. It can also cause damage to machinery, injury to workers and may harm the environment.

    Read more

     

    unlucky 13 article

    Here are some common wish-cycled materials:

    1. Plastic Bags/plastic wrap

    1. Plastic Bags/plastic wrap

    Plastic bags and wrap are the worse items to place in Big Blue. From the bags you get at the grocery store to the wrapper on your bread or paper towels, none of these items belong in the recycling cart. They can clog the machines and cause a safety hazard for workers who have to cut them out with knives. This also creates down time for the system and that costs all of us money. Return plastic bags and film to your local grocery store to be recycled.

    Learn more

    2. Glass

    2. Glass

    All glass bottles and jars belong in a bin next to Big Blue. It’s important not to put them in the cart because they can break and cause injury to workers plus damage to machinery. And remember, no lids, ceramics, window glass, drinking glasses or incandescent light bulbs. All of these unrecyclable items belong in the garbage (unless they can be donated for reuse). CFLs belong with Household Hazardous Waste.

    3. Sharps

    Hypodermic needles, syringes and lancets are dangerous because they can injure people and spread germs or disease. Needles placed in Big Blue will then go over the sort line where workers can get stuck by them. This could result in medical testing, undue stress, and possibly serious medical conditions.

    Learn more

    4. Cords/Wires/Tangly things

    4. Cords/Wires/Tangly things

    Although these items may be made of recyclable materials, they belong in the garbage because of their shape. Materials on this list include hoses, ribbons, wire clothes hangers and rope. They can wrap around equipment and break the machinery used to sort the mixed recycling. Place these items in the garbage.

    5. Block Foam

    5. Block Foam

    Everyone gets this stuff at some point in time. It takes up lots of room in the garage and needs to be kept clean and dry in order to be recycled. It isn’t taken at the curb but you can drop it off at one of the Green Neighbor Recycle Day events. Just have a small piece or two? Put it in the garbage – it costs more in greenhouse gas emissions to drive it to be recycled. If you have a lot of block foam to dispose of, or if you collect a bunch from your friends and neighbors, you could drive it to Farwest Fibers.

    Learn more

    6. Food Soiled Paper

    6. Food Soiled Paper

    Always put food-soiled paper in the garbage. This includes items such as used napkins, paper towels, paper plates or pizza boxes (some people tear the soiled lid off the pizza box and recycle the bottle half in Big Blue). Food residue weakens the quality of the paper for recycling and can contaminate other materials in the same load.

    7. To-Go Containers and Cups

    7. To-Go Containers and Cups

    All containers and cups that you bring food or drinks home in belong in the garbage. They are likely food-soiled but even if you rinse them thoroughly, they likely contain some level of plastic or special chemical that prevents them from breaking down or getting soggy when food or drink is placed in them. This plastic/chemical makes the garbage only. Try to bring a reusable cup or mug when you stop out for a drink and you might consider bringing reusable containers to bring home your leftovers in.

    8. Loose Shredded Paper

    8. Loose Shredded Paper

    Paper that has been shredded is too small to sort. The pieces drop through the equipment and cause a mess at the recycling facility. Don’t shred paper unless it really needs to be shredded for security reasons. Shredding shortens the fibers and makes it much less desirable for use at the papermill. It can be placed in your backyard compost pile and will quickly break down. If you feel like you must place it in Big Blue, put it in a paper bag with the top stapled shut, but only as a last resort.

    9. Clothing

    9. Clothing

    Clothing is not recyclable but it is definitely reusable! Take your unwanted clothing to a local thrift store. Even if it can’t be worn again, they will likely have an outlet just for the fabric. If you just don’t have time for that, it needs to go into the garbage.

    10. Household Hazardous Waste

    10. Household Hazardous Waste

    Household cleaning products, automotive fluids, garden chemicals and other hazardous materials from your home should be taken to the transfer stations during HHW collections hours on the weekends. Paint can be returned to some local paint stores.

    Learn more

    11. Electronics (E-Waste) and Batteries

    11. Electronics (E-Waste) and Batteries

    Television sets, computers, monitors and other electronic products you no longer want can be disposed of at numerous locations in Clark County for no charge. To get a list of drop-off locations, visit Recycling A-Z and type ‘electronic materials’ in the search box. Household batteries should be placed in a zip-loc bag and placed on the lid of Big Blue.

    Learn more

    12. Diapers

    12. Diapers

    Diapers and other sanitary products are not recyclable and should not be placed in Big Blue. Please place these items into the garbage.

    13. Plastic Packaging

    13. Plastic Packaging

    Items purchased in plastic packaging or ‘blister packs’ should not be recycled in Big Blue. If you want to go the extra mile, you can separate any paper or cardboard from the plastic and recycle that while placing the plastic in the garbage. Plastics are a long and complicated topic. Visit our page dedicated just to plastics for more detailed information.

    Learn more

  • Curbside Service

    Curbside waste pickup in Clark County — including garbage, recycling, and yard debris — is provided by Waste Connections, Inc. You can learn more about your service at the Waste Connections website, or check out this handy Curbside Service and Recycling widget.

    Read more

    Related articles: Recycling Done Right | Household Hazardous Waste

    curbside service article

    Yard Debris

    Curbside yard debris collection is provided by Waste Connections, Inc. You can place leaves, weeds, pruning, grass clippings, brush and woody material up to four inches in diameter and under five feet in length in your green curbside cart for pick-up. Please, no food, household or hazardous waste, vegetables, paper or plastic bags, dirt, sod, rocks, pet waste, or branches over 4 inches in diameter or over 5 feet in length.

    For details about curbside yard debris collection, pdfdownload this information sheet.

    Recycling

    Want to learn more about what recyclables can go in your Big Blue recycling cart? We’ve got everything you need to know on our Recycling Done Right page.

    Correct Set-Out

    Please make sure that all carts are spaced at least 3 feet apart and 5 feet from any vehicles. This allows the driver to stay in the truck for this automated service.

    Self-Haul

    Please visit recyclinga-z.com or use the widget below for locations that will accept dropped-off materials.

     

  • 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.

  • 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
    plastic-bags-and-overwrap

    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 www.plasticfilmrecycling.org

    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.

    Glass

    plastic-bags-and-overwrap

    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.

    plastic-bags-and-overwrap

    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

    plastic-bags-and-overwrap

    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.

    Foam

    plastic-bags-and-overwrap

    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

    plastic-bags-and-overwrap

    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.

    plastic-bags-and-overwrap

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

    Visit lightrecycle.org 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.

    plastic-bags-and-overwrap

    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

    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

    plastic-packaging

    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

    plastic-packaging

    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

    Other

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

    Textiles

    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 CustomerHelp@wasteconnections.com. 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.

    Wood

    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 CustomerHelp@wasteconnections.com. 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

    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