We’ve heard your frustration. We understand you want to do the right thing. But it seems the target is always moving, making it hard.
Yes, that is the reality of recycling.
We got complacent. When our mixed recycling was sent “away” to the Far East, we could pat ourselves on the back that we had been great; we had sorted our trash and sent our plastics and paper to a place where they would be reprocessed into more of the same. We believed that. It was rarely true.
When China and then more of the Southeastern Asia nations started refusing OUR garbage we first felt the pain of betrayal, but then we realized it is OUR trash and we need to be more responsible.
We’ve talked about REFUSING to spend money on items you may want but recognize the packaging is adding to the problem. Only when manufacturers feel some pain through reduced income by our REFUSAL, will they explore alternative and greener packaging.
We’ve talked about COMPOSTING those overlapping items that could be recycled but can also be composted, like cardboard and paper. Some of the limitations that make paper unable to be recycled make them prime for composting but even some of those are not smart to compost.
Let’s talk about RECYCLING those items that are not a high enough volume to be collected curbside, but perhaps in an annual or semi-annual event.
Recently, the Washington Country Master Recyclers held another of their quarterly PlanetCon events at a Hillsboro High School. Residents in the county were invited to bring their batteries, electronics, Styrofoam, plastics and more to a one-day event.
There were about fifty volunteers to help direct traffic, accept (and refuse some) items, and then sort them. The items that had to be refused are those that have no local end user. Lists of acceptable items had been provided along with the marketing of the PlanetCon event, but people still bring others in the hopes they can send it to be repurposed. They were told, unfortunately, that some items still must go to the landfill.
PlanetCon also offered one table for swapping items that no longer had value to individuals but were in good condition for further use. Similar to the rest of the event, there was no charge for this, but some rules in terms of what could be brought.
Are you interested in getting rid of items that could be collected at an annual recycling event? Are you willing to put in some time to help this event happen? We will need a planning committee and we will need volunteers at the event to make it flow well.
Currently there is no Master Recycler program in Yamhill County but it will be offered by Yamhill County Solid Waste if at least 10 people express interest. Meanwhile, the county solid waste office holds several household hazardous collections each year. The spring collection was in Newberg in mid May. An event in mid October will be held in McMinnville at the fairgrounds.