Spokane Regional Waste Will Begin Recycling Food Scraps Starting July 12

Clean&green_recycle Spokane Regional Solid Waste's Clean Green program is getting greener with the addition of food scraps and food soiled paper to their list of acceptable inputs to the system. Starting July 12 you can add your leftovers to the Clean Green bins for curbside pick up or drop them off at one of the collection sites along with your yard debris. This is a big step forward for the Spokane in seeking a more sustainable future.

I think the most significant aspect of the program is their acceptance of food soiled paper products into the recycling stream. This includes pizza boxes, paper grocery bags, coffee filters, paper plates, paper cups among other things. The key distinction is that it needs to be non-shiny, uncoated paper. So make sure when stocking up for your big July 4 party to buy the uncoated, non-shiny paper plates and cups. You can then recycle them along with the half eaten hot dogs and leftover clumps of potato salad.

There are some unfortunate limitations to the new program. According to Suzanne Tresko, the Recycling Coordinator at Spokane Regional Solid Waste, of the close to 90,000 housing units in the City of Spokane, she estimates that 20,000 currently subscribe to the clean green curb side pickup program making it less than 25% of households that are likely to participate actively in the program. (I tried to get an overall percentage of clean green subscribers for all of Spokane County but was unable to make contact with Waste Management.)

The other limitation is that the clean green bins are not collected year round in the City of Spokane, so for Dec - Feb city residents will be on their own to deliver the food related waste to one of the drop off sites. In the cities of Liberty Lake , Spokane Valley and other parts of the County the curbside pickup is weekly March through November and monthly December through February.

It's a big step forward but we've still got a long way to go.

Go here to get the full scoop from the Spokane Regional Waste site. The Spokesman Review has a write-up on the program here.

Here is the list of acceptable items;

Fruit & vegetable scraps
Meat, fish, poultry, and bones
Bread, pasta and grains
Eggshells and nutshells
Coffee filters and grounds
Tea bags and tea leaves
Dairy products (non-liquid)
Pizza delivery boxes
Food-soiled paper towels and napkins
Paper grocery bags
Uncoated, non-shiny food soiled paper products
Houseplants (no pots, shake off dirt)
Tree branches (under 6’ long & 3” thick)
Weeds
Twigs, branches, and roots
Flowers
Sod (3 inches thick, no dirt and rocks)

If you don't have a Clean Green bin for pickup you can take your food waste to one of these facilities and drop it off. The locations are;

    * Waste to Energy Facility, 2900 S. Geiger Boulevard
    * North County Transfer Station, 22123 Elk-Chattaroy Road
    * Valley Transfer Station, 3941 N. Sullivan Road

All three facilities are open daily, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.