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If you're like me, and I'm sure you're smarter than that, recycling already seems awfully complicated. Sorting the simple stuff--glass, paper, cardboard--I get. Yard waste?

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New Recycling Regs Promise Hours of Dumpster Fun!

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If you're like me, and I'm sure you're smarter than that, recycling already seems awfully complicated. Sorting the simple stuff--glass, paper, cardboard--I get. Yard waste? Not a big challenge. But here comes a whole new set of recycling edicts from Seattle Public Utilities, which just sent out a press release that begins, "Better recycling is coming to Seattle March 30. New programs include weekly food/yard waste collection, glass commingling."

"Glass commingling"? WTF? Isn't my glass already commingling with other glass? I'm so old-school that I remember when, during the 1970s, we drove the family Volvo station wagon to Montlake and hand-sorted the glass by color. And today, I live in a big ugly condo where the dumpsters have recycling rules that are baffling and often contradictory as it stands. How many types of plastic are there with those numbers-inside-of-the-recycling-logo? Look on the bottom of an empty water bottle, pill bottle, old plastic toy, jar lid... and the numbers seem to range from 1 to 100. Even styrofoam, which I thought was banned from recycling, often comes stamped with the virtuous green eco-triangle. So brace yourself for new recycling regulations after the jump...

The city press release continues:

"By popular demand, better recycling is coming to Seattle, starting March 30, with a host of changes including"

  • All food scraps, including meat, fish, bones, shells and dairy products, can go in the food and yard waste cart.
  • More food/yard waste cart sizes to choose from, including 13-, 32- and 96-gallon options.
  • Weekly food and yard waste collection for all single-family households. Organics were previously collected every other week.
  • Electronics, used motor oil and bulky items can be collected through special services.
  • Glass bottles and jars go in the recycling cart -- no more separating!
  • More paper, plastic and metal items can be recycled, including cups, deli trays, aluminum foil and plastic plant pots.

"By popular demand?" I don't remember demanding this. On the other hand, I like the sound of this:

"Seattle's goal is to divert 60 percent of all its generated waste to recycling or composting by 2012. Currently the city diverts 48.4 percent of its waste. Food scraps account for one-third, or 45,000 tons, of residential trash each year. Last year, more than 100,000 Seattle households helped divert 80,000 tons of food and yard waste from the landfill, turning into compost for local parks and gardens."

And there's even a neat little pie chart diagramming our present residential waste percentages:

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You can also go to SPU's official Web page for an exhaustive list of recycling trivia, charts (now available in Oromo!), FAQs, and a link to "Play the Recycling IQ Game." (I did, and I failed.)

There's also a "Top 10 Recycling Questions" link guaranteed to make even the greenest and most conscientious of recyclers second-guess their methodology. For instance, what about caps and lids? "No. Because of their size, they can jam the machinery at the recycling plant. For metal cans, leave lid slightly attached, push lid into the can and recycle."

What about CD cases? "No."

And, what about all those frigging triangular numbers on the bottoms of all things plastic? "Ignore the numbers--recycle only plastic bottles, tubs, jugs, and jars"

Ignore the numbers? Now they tell us?

Oh, and it's tax season, so what about those of us shredding financial documents? That's paper, so it can be recycled, right? Well.... only if those shreds measure "at least 8 ½ inches long and ¼ inch wide." So remember to take your ruler out to the dumpster, too, because it's gonna be a long trip.

 
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