How to be a recycling rock star

by Susan Gillin | Jun 28, 2018

Want to be a better recycler? Here are some tips from local experts:

  • Don’t put items in the recycling bin if you’re not certain they can be recycled. “When in doubt, throw it out,” said Brenda Blanchfield, Chelan County Solid Waste program coordinator. Plastic bags, to-go cup lids, straws and shredded paper don’t belong in your bin.
  • Along the same lines, don’t be a “wishful recycler.” Just because you think it should be recycled doesn’t mean it can be, Blanchfield noted.
  • Make sure everything is clean and intact. China stopped taking a lot of West Coast recyclables because they were contaminated with food wrappers, greasy pizza boxes and broken glass. “China just got tired of taking our garbage,” Blanchfield said.
  • Follow guidelines specific to your area, said Steven Gimpel, education and outreach coordinator for Waste Management. With Waste Management that means visiting and using the dropdown menu to “Choose Your Local Service Area.” Residents of Cashmere, East Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Rock Island, Wenatchee and unincorporated Chelan and Douglas counties can find specific instructions.

Chelan Recycling CenterThe Chelan Recycling Center has closed, but curbside recycling is available in the Chelan-Manson area. Here are letters with details from the City of Chelan (city residents) and Zippy Disposal (outside city limits and in Manson).

No curbside service? Drop off locations include the Dryden Transfer Station and Central Washington Recycling in Wenatchee.

Gimpel noted that the three R’s still apply: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – in that order.  “Reducing and reusing has a much  bigger impact than recycling,” he said.

Other resources:

  • Recycle Often Recycle Right –  Waste Management’s easy-to-read website features interesting tidbits. For example, the chasing arrow symbol on plastics doesn’t always mean it’s recyclable. Who knew?    
  • Residential Commingled Recycling – Updates on “commingled recycling” (that’s mixing it all up together) and the China market from the Washington state Department of Ecology.

Wondering what to do with burned-out fluorescent tubes and CFLs? Stan’s Merry Mart, Lake Chelan Lighting Center and the Rock Island Community Recycling Center are the local LightRecycle Washington sites. They’ll accept up to 10 fluorescent lights, CFLs and HIDs per day free of charge from households, small businesses, charities and cooperatives.

Upcoming Events