Recology: recycling gets a lot easier with more stringent restrictions

Monday, June 24, 2019

Blue recycling bins are for: 
glass bottles/jars, 
rigid plastic (tubs, jugs, bottles bigger than 3 inches).

Recycling should be Empty, Clean, and Dry
don't leave anything that can mold and contaminate the paper in the bin

Asian recyclers have tired of being the world's garbage dump so they have put strict restrictions on what recycling they will pay for. As a result recycling companies such as Recology are looking for new markets in the US, and trying to meet the new restrictions in all countries.

That means that customers have to be more careful about what they put in their blue recycling bins.

Recology and the City of Shoreline have been considering their options. One idea under consideration was to inspect individual bins and give warnings and then fines. This idea has been put on hold. Not only was it invasive and sure to create backlash from residents, it wasn't particularly effective.

Drivers would not be able to inspect every bin every week. They would not be able to do more than just look at the top layer. And it would not necessarily do anything to educate the public.

The first change for customers is in what goes in the recycling bin. A letter was sent to all Shoreline residents explaining that plastic film will no longer be accepted in recycling bins. That means any plastic that is pliable - plastic bags, and wrapping on food or goods such as toilet paper. As before, rigid plastic must be at least 3 inches (or about the length of your finger).

Prices will also increase by $1.35 per month for residential customers.

Recology will focus on education, particularly for multi-family housing.

If anyone has any questions about recycling / composting / garbage, they should contact Recology at the main number of 206-763-4444. You can also call this number to schedule training or presentations for groups.


Anonymous,  June 24, 2019 at 9:53 AM  

Perhaps you could provide the definition of "easier" that you're using?

Unknown June 24, 2019 at 1:57 PM  

What about the kind of plastic that is semi-rigid, such as the plastic on typical blister packs, or that a lot of grocery take-out food comes in? Is it possible to go by the numbers, since most things not have a recycle number on them.
Also, what about things (mostly packages) that are a mix of materials, such as plastic and cardboard (again like blister packs). Do we have to separate the elements? In some cases that's easy, but in other cases pretty difficult.
And, yeah, you might want to re-think that headline -- it's just going to annoy people.

Anonymous,  June 24, 2019 at 8:15 PM  

How about banning plastic altogether? It hasn't been around very long. More harm than good.

Mike June 25, 2019 at 11:47 AM  

I can make it even easier. Everything goes into the black trash bin for the landfill. Problem solved. I refuse to wash my garbage

Anonymous,  June 25, 2019 at 12:52 PM  

Back to the future - can we not have "mixed" recycling? We used to recycle glass, cans, paper separately - even got $ back for beer bottles. If there was a "source tax" on all what we buy, everything could be redeemed for $ - kids would pick the cans out of the ditch instead of throwing them in...

Anonymous,  June 26, 2019 at 6:48 AM  

Short sighted. Do you have kids?

Dan June 26, 2019 at 2:22 PM  

1. The Shoreline City Council deserves its fair share of blame for this problem. The prices per gallon for the black garbage bins have risen precipitously in order to fund cavernous recycling containers and the recently mandatory yard waste containers. If a household is running out of expensive black bin space, that underutilized 96 gallon blue bin starts to look attractive for marginal trash like plastic films.

2. Throwing paper in a mixed recycling bin is a recipe for failure. If food contaminants makes the precious paper mold, wait until it's introduced to a PNW phenomenon we like to call "rain."

The most important materials to recycle are aluminum, steel, glass, and large plastics. Cardboard is meh, and household paper barely factors. If we really want to protect the paper, we need a separate bin for just the paper while the rest of the mixed recycling stays in the blue bin.

3. I'm with Mike on the futility of washing garbage. Beyond the wasted time, remember that we have the most expensive water of any large municipal utility in the country. Are they really suggesting to me that I use a 1.6 GPF toilet, yet wash a dozen cans, bottles, jugs, etc. every day? Talk about mixed messages.

I'm sticking with Plan A. I'll rinse a milk jug once since those stink, but a scraped out can of pet food is going in unwashed. When the aluminum can goes into the crucible of melted metal down the line, that 1% organic matter content burns completely away.

SeattleSuz July 3, 2019 at 11:44 AM  

Could you create signs for posting at multi-family housing such as apartments and condos? We have a lot of problems at our condo complex and signs that I could put up would help a lot. Also one for composting indicating no plastic bags, no doggie doo, for instance. Our complex would be willing to pay for such signs and I believe others would, too.

SeattleSuz July 19, 2019 at 9:13 AM  

A letter was sent to all Shoreline residents ... NOT TRUE! What about multi-family dwellings? You think we don't have problems with recycling? And I can't find anything (resembling a poster) on this site that I can print off and deliver myself. Also need something on the food/yard waste bin (such as no plastic bags, no doggie bags). If you don't want to deal with multi-family dwellings, at least have something we can access on your site.

DKH July 19, 2019 at 12:21 PM  

SeattleSuz - contact Recology or go to the Shoreline Recology store.

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