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Citizen demands prompt King County to restore recycling

Editor's note: the following is a press release issued Thursday morning by King County's Department of Natural Resources and Parks

King County is restoring recycling service at its Enumclaw and Cedar Falls solid waste facilities, two rural areas of the County where residential sign-up for curbside garbage and recycling collection has lagged. Recycling collection services at those two facilities is scheduled to resume Saturday, Feb. 11.

“We heard from many residents in those areas, and we want to ensure that recyclable materials continue to be collected for recycling – rather than thrown away with the garbage, where they would take up valuable space in the landfill,” said Kevin Kiernan, director of the Solid Waste Division (SWD) of the County’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks said. “Restoring this service to these two facilities is intended to encourage continued recycling.”

Recycling services were removed from five SWD locations across the County on Feb. 1 because 99 percent of residents in those areas have access to curbside recycling service through their garbage hauler. Eliminating this redundant service would have saved the County approximately $400,000 per year.

However, Kiernan said SWD received numerous communications from residents of the rural areas in and around Enumclaw and North Bend, which is where the Cedar Falls facility is located.

While curbside collection service is available to residents in those rural areas, many people commented that there are challenges to using the service. Rural residences are often a great distance from the road, and some collections are not available unless materials are brought to locations off the resident’s property.

Kiernan said the Division will need to come up with a way to cover the $200,000 cost of restoring the recycling services. The Division will continue to examine options for providing the service more cost-effectively, and will also look at collecting other recyclable materials at its facilities that cannot be readily recycled elsewhere.

“Customers can help reduce the cost of recycling by sorting their materials correctly and not putting garbage or other unacceptable items in with their recycling,” Kiernan said.

Contamination of recyclable materials in the recycling bins at King County’s facilities has resulted in a significant decline in recycling revenue; the success of the recycling program depends upon the quality of the materials recycled.

More information on the King County Solid Waste Division is available at http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/index.asp.

 

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