Recycling superstar contest
Thanks to all the “recycling gurus” who entered the Recycling Superstar Contest!
The creative talent of King County residents has been brought to light by the winners, who shared their ideas on how they go the extra mile to recycle items, rather than throwing them in the garbage. For their winning recycling efforts, these residents will receive great “experience” prizes, including a trip to Victoria, tickets to a Seattle Sounders game, and more. All prizes were donated by local radio station partners. The winners include:
- Platinum award winner Sharon Blackadder from Lake Forest Park
- Gold award winner Laura Ramon from Maple Valley
- Silver award winner Michael Wilson from Auburn
- Bronze award winner Lori Rush from Renton
- Bronze award winner Wayne Elson from Issaquah
- Recycling Superstars in the news
In our household, recycling is second nature. Pizza boxes, cardboard mushroom containers, used napkins, and every food scrap goes into yard waste in a nice little BioBag that we keep in one of those cute little metal garbage cans. It joins the weeds and ivy that we're getting rid of. We mulch all grass clippings and leaves, including lots of big leaf maple leaves, which is really just another form of recycling. Paper of all sorts, cans, glass bottles and jars, aluminum drink containers, plastic milk and orange juice containers, and all plastic containers numbered 1-7 (except for 6s) go into the recycle bin. Cardboard gets cut up and placed in a cardboard box next to the recycle bin when we've accumulated enough. That leaves very little garbage, all of which easily fits into the smallest container provided. After all, how much space can used kitty litter and bottle caps take up? Recycling is a cinch. I'm hoping that I am really not a "Superstar" in this regard and that most people are doing exactly the same thing.
As a child, I have fond memories of returning bottles for deposit, recycling aluminum cans and collecting newspapers for my elementary school newspaper drives. I used a little red wagon, which was retrofitted by my grandfather with special wood sidewalls. This addition enabled me to lug stacks of newspapers down the streets of my neighborhood. My dad would then help me haul the newspapers to school in the big green truck, which is still in commission and was recently used to haul compost from Cedar Grove.
During my teenage years, the little red wagon evolved into a little red car. However, to use the little red car, I had to commit to dropping off our recyclables (cardboard, newspaper, mixed paper steel/aluminum cans and glass) at Community Enterprises of Issaquah. Boy was that fun, explaining to friends why I couldn’t drive my car to lunch since it was always full of junk.
At the UW, I was a member of the campus Recycling Committee, which helped install the first recycling bins on campus. Since then I have volunteered for several community recycling programs including Mason County MRC & Recycling Advisory Committee, Bellevue Neighbors’ for Recycling and since 1997, the King County MRC program.
I have always recycled as much as possible, even when living in apartments when I had to self-haul my recyclables to the nearest transfer station. Currently, I recycle and compost at home and work (newspapers, mixed paper, milk cartons, metal, aluminum cans, glass, oil, alkaline/rechargeable batteries, plastic bottles, tubs and bags, food/yard waste, shredded paper, packaging peanuts, CFLs and electronics). It is even difficult for me to walk past public garbage cans without being compelled to retrieve aluminum cans and once I confiscated several fluorescent bulbs from a neighbor’s can for hazardous waste collection.
Silver award winner Michael Wilson of Auburn was nominated by his daughter, Megan. Here is Megan’s story of her father’s commitment to recycling
The True Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Guru? I know who.
Whether his motivation be to save money, the planet, or both- you'd have to ask him to be sure. Somewhere my dad finds it in himself to even rinse and reuse the trash bags at our house. In 2006 he was given a roll of 500 trash bags... that roll, and that roll alone, lasted him until the beginning of this year.
Food doesn't even make it to see a landfill, it goes in the "small trash" can located on the counter. If it's compostable or will soil the inside of the bag in main kitchen trash- small trash can.
When rinsing out soda pop cans before they go into the recycle bin: he empties the can, after he's collected enough to rinse. He fills one with water, shuts off the faucet, then dumps that water in the next can and so on.
In fact, the only rules in our household pertain to recycling and the way we "process" our waste for disposal (aka recycle). No curfews here. Stay out as long as you want, just make sure you break down that cardboard box before it sees its respective recycling container. He sees to it that our household recycles everything, but not before it's rinsed and the labels and lids are removed.
These quirks-just to list a few, make my Pa the True Recyclin' Guru!
You know how some people leave mounds of garbage in front of their house when they move out? When I moved to Renton, I left behind a single bucket of trash. And I’m not talking about a move down the block -- I came all the way from the East Coast!
When I got here a few months ago, I unloaded my moving boxes (which, by the way, I repurposed from my former employer) and Freecycled them along with all my packing materials. Even now, I take out two bags of trash a month, at the most. The recycle tub, meanwhile, is usually overflowing, while the food scraps go either in the city-provided yard-waste container or into my backyard composting bin.
I always shop for items in recyclable containers. I buy recycled paper for my printer, and I always recycle my empty ink cartridges at the office-supply store. And I’ve already figured out where to take my old light bulbs and even my Styrofoam (thanks, Ikea!). If I can’t recycle, I get creative: I save all my bottle caps for crafting projects.
For things I no longer want, I’ll first try online solutions like eBay and Craigslist. There’s also the Freecycle
network (and Sharing Is Giving, and the ReUseIt Network, and REcycleSWK!). Using these services, you might just help
out someone who’s on a tight budget and was looking for just what you’re offering.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be on the bus, minimizing my carbon footprint!
I began recycling cans and bottles 30 years ago before recycling was as easy as it is today. To me recycling has always made common sense. I began recycling cans and bottles 30 years ago before it was in vogue. I began worm bin composting about 20 years ago when King County first published plans for building a worm bin. I have promoted worm bin composting in my church in my office. And I now have two other relatives that worm bin compost because of my influence. I have been known to be the recycling police through teasing a prodding.
As well as having 3 active worm bins, I also yard waste compost. Both worm bin and yard waste compost ends up my vegetable garden. When possible, I recycle building materials like plywood and 2x4s. For example, scrap wood trim has been made into picture frames and I am currently making sawhorses from a recycled exterior fir door.
I believe it often makes sense to purchase products made from recycled materials. For example, I have purchased recycled plastic worm bins, and purchased Cedar Grove Compost. Fluorescent lighting and used paint gets recycled at the King hazardous waste collection at the Factoria Recycling & Transfer Station. I recycle scrap steel and copper at Keppler Feed and Recycling. Used auto crankcase oil goes to O'Reilly Auto Parts. And of course, I recycle plastic bags at the grocer. Computer monitors and other electronic parts are recycled at Community Enterprises of Issaquah. I recycled a dishwasher and I am about the recycle a microwave and water heater. Of course, glass bottles, steel cans, number 1 and 2 plastic containers, mixed paper and cardboard get recycled as well. I try to avoid buying products that are in containers that cannot be recycled. And finally I have an aluminum can recycling project drawing from neighbors and our church, the proceeds of which go to a water project in Uganda.
- Read about Laura Ramon, Gold Award winner from Maple Valley, in the Covington Maple Valley reporter external link .
The Recycling Superstar Contest is a partnership of: