The national holiday, which was first organized by longtime Seattleite Denis Hayes, is on Sunday. But the festivities are rolling all weekend and include a community run, free hiking, and a ton of volunteer opportunities.
Over the last several months, there’ve been several stories about something near and dear to many of us Seattleites — recycling. More specifically, that more of our recycling could end up in landfills because of stricter environmental laws in China, which buys tons of recycling from the U.S.. You can learn more about that here, but here’s the TL;DR version: China is increasing its standards for the recycling it buys from the U.S. That means no dirty peanut butter jars or non-recyclable plastics, because they can’t be properly recycled to create new products.
So how can locals up their recycling game? We have six tips for you…
A few things you can’t recycle?
Dirty aluminum foil, Ziploc bags, plastic produce bags, grocery bags that aren’t bundled together, and wax-coated cups and to-go containers. Make sure the things you’re tossing are empty, clean, and dry. Not sure if something’s recyclable? Here’s a handy search tool.
Know what to compost
Food scraps, yard waste, greasy pizza boxes, food-soiled napkins, and shredded paper. A few things you can’t compost: ice cream cartons, metal, plastic, and animal 💩. Get all the details here. Pro tip: Don’t want to spend money on an indoor compost bin? Use empty cereal boxes in your freezer to save your compost. It takes away the smell, too!
Can’t fit all your recycling into your blue bin?
Get a second recycling bin from the city for free. Or put those extra Amazon boxes to good use by placing your recycling in a box next to your curbside cart. More on that here. Don’t want to clutter your curb? Whether you have a ton of moving boxes or dozens of cans after the big game, you can recycle it all for free at the North or South Transfer Station.
If your old clothes are too worn out, don’t toss them in the garbage. If second-hand stores or drop box programs can’t re-sell your old duds, they can be recycled through King County’s Threadcycle program, which turns worn out clothes, shoes, backpacks, and more into carpet padding, insulation, and wash rags.
Reduce, reuse, recycle, repair.
Have a wonky coffee machine, broken chair, or a ripped pair of pants? Before you toss ‘em out, try to get them repaired at one of King County’s repair cafés, where you can get help from your handy neighbors.
Live in or manage an apartment building?
You can become a city recycling volunteer by educating your neighbors about what can go in their recycling bins. Bonus: Your building will get a one-time $100 credit on its utilities bill.
Got other recycling tips or hacks our Evergrey community should know about? Let us know here.