February 5, 2013
In Mirrormont, longtime homeowner Cathe Avila can no longer keep windows open at home, or walk black Labrador retriever Django in the neighborhood.
The problem, she said, is the odor from the Cedar Grove Composting facility in unincorporated King County between Issaquah and Maple Valley, about seven miles southwest of downtown Issaquah.
Avila said the odor is traceable to 2004, once Cedar Grove starting accepting food scraps for composting.
“Then, after that, the smell just started getting worse and worse,” she said.
June 12, 2012
Ordinance goes into effect for most businesses in March 2013
Issaquah joined a string of cities along Puget Sound to outlaw plastic bags at local retailers June 4, after months of sometimes-acrimonious debate about adverse impacts to the marine environment and the regional economy.
In the end, concerns about the environment led the City Council to decide 5-2 to eliminate most retail uses for plastic bags. The legislation — and a 5-cent fee on paper bags — go into effect in March 2013 for most businesses.
The council listened to advocates from environmental groups and the plastics industry in public meetings throughout April and May, and then again before the decision.
The plastic bag ban sponsor, Issaquah Highlands entrepreneur and City Councilman Mark Mullet, presented the legislation as a way to reduce the estimated 10 million plastic bags the city sends to the King County landfill each year.
April 17, 2012
The historic Pickering Farm emerges from a seasonal slumber soon as the popular Issaquah Farmers Market returns.
The market debuts for the season April 21. The return is a sign springtime is inching closer to summertime.
The farmers market runs every Saturday, rain or shine, from April to October. The market features seasonal produce, crafts, food vendors, and demonstrations or entertainment each week.
February 7, 2012
Efforts that started in September 2010 just paid off for students and staff at Briarwood Elementary School.
In December, the school was certified a Level One King County Green School. Along with only three other schools in King County, Briarwood’s efforts were formally recognized Jan. 31.
“Each of these four schools can be proud of how they have involved their students and staff in learning about conservation and improving conservation practices,” said Dale Alekel, King County Green Schools Program manager.
Level One programs focus on waste reduction and recycling. There are several criteria schools must meet. The schools must reach a recycling rate of at least 40 percent; establish at least one paper reduction practice; one lunch waste reduction practice; and, one practice involving durable products. Alekel said many participating schools sliced garbage disposal costs by reducing waste and recycling.
Briarwood staff and students took several steps in order to reach Level One status, said Jennifer Mitchell, a program assistant at the school. First, the school created a Green Team of students, third-graders who helped train other students how to sort lunch waste into recyclable materials, compostable materials and garbage. There are now about 35 third-graders trained to help younger students sort their lunch leftovers.
December 26, 2011
NEW — 10 a.m. Dec. 26, 2011
Christmas is history, and Issaquah residents ready to pitch Christmas trees have a few options.
Customers tired of evergreens dropping brown needles can set out trees for yard waste collection on regular collection days. The trees must be cut to 4 feet or less. Haulers do not collect trees decked in flocking or decorations.
For residents interested in recycling, or tree-cycling, the King County Solid Waste Division offers a list of recycling locations throughout King County.
Or drop off trees at Cedar Grove Composting near Issaquah and other recycling sites.
Or, Issaquah Highlands and Sammamish residents can wait until Jan. 7, as a local Boy Scout troop collects Christmas trees for a fundraiser.
November 29, 2011
Turning trash to treasure — or, at least, rich compost — could lengthen the landfill’s lifespan.
King County Solid Waste Division officials said the average King County family tosses 45 pounds of food scraps each month. The agency estimates food recycling could divert the amount of garbage headed to the county-run Cedar Hills Regional Landfill by more than 20 percent.
So, the Solid Waste Division enlisted 10 families in the Sycamore neighborhood near downtown Issaquah to collect food scraps throughout August — and demonstrate the ease of food-scrap recycling. Overall, neighbors amassed more than 400 pounds from refuse otherwise headed for the landfill — chicken bones, pineapple tops, paper towels soaked in bacon grease and much more.
The garbage pile festering beneath the hot August sun in Donna Misner’s driveway re-emerged Nov. 16 as rich compost.
King County EcoConsumer Tom Watson joined the residents in late August to bid the garbage heap farewell on a journey to Cedar Grove Composting.
Then, 85 days and a decomposition cycle later, Misner and other Sycamore neighbors gathered on a rain-soaked morning to see the result.
August 30, 2011
Residents donate 400 pounds of garbage for composting effort
The half-gnawed corncobs, shorn pineapple tops, slimy banana peels and grease-stained pizza boxes simmered in the midday sun — a concoction assembled from the kitchen castoffs of 10 Issaquah families.
The festering pile in Donna Misner’s driveway Aug. 24 included more than 400 pounds collected from residents in the Sycamore neighborhood near downtown Issaquah.
King County joined the residents to increase food-scrap recycling for a month to accomplish dual goals: demonstrate the ease of food-scrap recycling and turn the garbage into rich compost for a community garden.
“I don’t consider this waste. People always joke, ‘Oh, it’s garbage and it’s stinky. This is a material. This is a resource — that’s what this is right here,” King County EcoConsumer Tom Watson said during a midday event in the Sycamore driveway. “It may smell a little bit on a hot day, but when you do it at home, it’s not going to smell. When Cedar Grove makes it into compost, the final product is a product that’s going to help your garden grow. It’s a resource.”
Cedar Grove Composting plans to transform the refuse into compost and then donate the results to the Issaquah Flatland Community Garden near the AtWork! Recycling Center by late fall. Gardeners send 25 percent of the organic bounty to the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.
“The garden is a nice focal point for the Issaquah community,” AtWork! Community Development Manager Dennis Wadja said. “Neighbors walk to the garden, children are exposed to growing food, the food bank receives nutritious organic food and space is available for the disabled population. We see this recycling project as an opportunity to connect deeper to the wider community.”
(Cedar Grove Composting is near the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in unincorporated King County between Issaquah and Maple Valley.)
Officials and teams from the King County Solid Waste Division and Cedar Grove Composting — including a county staffer dressed as a banana — gathered at the Misner home along Issaquah Creek as Tiger Mountain basked in the sunshine beyond.
August 24, 2011
NEW — 12:50 p.m. Aug. 24, 2011
The half-gnawed corncobs, shorn pineapple tops, slippery banana peels and grease-stained pizza boxes simmered in the midday sun — a concoction assembled from the kitchen castoffs of 10 Issaquah families.
The festering pile in Donna Misner’s driveway included more than 400 pounds collected from residents in the Sycamore neighborhood near downtown Issaquah. King County joined the residents to increase food-scrap recycling for a month for a month to accomplish dual goals: demonstrate how easy such recycling can be and turn the garbage into rich compost for a community garden.
August 23, 2011
Inch by inch, row by row, students are planting lettuce, herbs and broccoli in their school gardens.
This fall, teachers are transforming gardens into outdoor classrooms as students pick up trowels and learn about drip irrigation systems.
Dozens of schools incorporate gardening into their curriculum or have gardening clubs, including Apollo, Cascade Ridge, Challenger, Clark, Creekside, Discovery, Endeavour, Grand Ridge, Issaquah Valley, Maple Hills and Sunny Hills elementary schools; Issaquah and Pine Lake middle schools; and Liberty and Tiger Mountain Community high schools.
“I think the outdoors is just a natural place that kids want to be,” Sunny Hills fourth-grade teacher Jane Ulrich said.
August 21, 2011
NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 21, 2011
Donate school supplies for children in need at Cedar Grove Composting near Issaquah.
The composting facility, 17825 Cedar Grove Road S.E., is a collection site for back-to-school donations to the Maple Valley Food Bank. Donate through Wednesday to receive a 15 percent discount on bagged or bulk compost, and a 33 percent discount on kitchen collection kits.
Donate binders, notebooks, pencils and more to the food bank in order to receive the discount.
The food pantry encourages people to purchase and donate school supplies, make a monetary donation to support the purchase of wholesale backpacks and supplies, or include a monetary gift alongside supplies.
The food bank distributed 568 supply-filled backpacks at the start of the 2010-11 school year.
Cedar Grove Composting is near the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in unincorporated King County, about eight miles south of downtown Issaquah.
Friends of Youth in downtown Issaquah is also collecting back-to-school supplies for needy children before classes start in the Issaquah School District on Aug. 30.