Top tips for getting recycling off to a great start!

You have probably heard of some of the recycling changes happening with the stricter standards from foreign markets. An explanation of how it can effect local recycling can also be found here.  As a result, we've had to adapt our practices to clean up the stream of materials sent to be recycled. Here is more from waste reduction educator, Ellen Ives.

A note to let you know about recent recycling changes: With some global markets no longer accepting recyclables from the U.S., the allowable rate of contamination has greatly decreased, therefore reducing contamination in recyclables is vital. Please implement these changes in your schools. Let me know of any need for staff education, if you have any questions, or if there is some way I can be of assistance as you implement these changes. Thank you for your efforts and attention to this matter.

 Ellen Ives

Here's how the recycling changes may effect your school.

Cartons

(Milk/juice cartons)

Small cartons can be precarious for recycling systems. For some time it was recommended to have custodians bag the milk and juice cartons and put them in the recycle dumpster. We've now found that when you do this, the cartons begin to mold within 24 hours and are then not recyclable. Due to this information, we've changed guidance on this.

Revised disposal practices for cartons

  • Empty cartons must be placed in the recycle dumpster loose, not in a bag.​
  • No bagged cartons (milk or juice) in recycle containers
  • Bagged cartons (milk or juice) are GARBAGE.
  • If cartons are bagged, they must go in the garbage dumpster.
  • Note: all recyclables should go in the recycle dumpster unbagged. Bags clog the sort machines.

Shredded paper

Unless shredded paper is collected by a shredding service and brought directly to the recycling facility, it cannot be recycled. This is the same for curbside residential service as well. It is simply too small to properly go through our sort system and becomes like confetti at the transfer station.



​Revised disposal practices for shredded paper

  • No shredded paper in recycle containers, whether in a bag or not.
  • Shredded paper must go in the garbage.
  • Shredded paper can be recycled If a shred service is hired. The shredded paper will be recycled through the service entity.

At least one school district in Clark County uses a shred service and it has worked well for them. There are several shredding service companies in Clark County, Waste Connections is one of them and their pricing is steeply discounted for schools. Ellen can connect you with more information about setting up shredding service from them for your school district.

We're here to help

Consult your custodial and classroom recycle guides below for more guidance on recycling.

To reach Ellen Ives from Waste Connections with questions, email her at Ellen.Ives@wasteconnections.com or you can contact Michelle Picinich from Clark County Green Schools at michelle.picinich@clark.wa.gov.


Tackling milk waste in cafeterias
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