Neighborhood turns trash, food scraps, to treasure, rich compost

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.

Residents of the Sycamore neighborhood near downtown Issaquah dump a last load of food scraps into more than 400 pounds of collected food waste. Contributed

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.

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Residents donate 400 pounds of scraps for trash-to-treasure composting effort

August 24, 2011

King County EcoConsumer Tom Watson mucks around in a pile of more than 400 pounds food scraps from Issaquah residents Wednesday. By Warren Kagarise

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.

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Issaquah Chamber of Commerce unveils city-focused agenda

July 5, 2011

Leaders focus on changes to signage, tourism

Issaquah business leaders plan to focus on City Hall in the months ahead to foster economic development, bolster tourism-promotion efforts and shape regulations to benefit businesses.

Matthew Bott, Issaquah Chamber of Commerce CEO, said the local agenda formed after chamber leaders consulted Issaquah entrepreneurs. The effort marks the inaugural legislative agenda from the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce focused on city issues.

“We really went out and asked our members, ‘What are you seeing? What are your priorities? What would you like to see?’” he said. “We made a specific focus on city government.”

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Joshua Schaer announces City Council re-election bid

February 22, 2011

Incumbent Joshua Schaer announced plans last week to run for a second term, setting off the campaign season for City Council seats.

The candidate highlighted environmental accomplishments in the announcement, including a first-on-the-Eastside food-packaging ordinance and polystyrene container ban.

“Shaping the future of our community is a great honor,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to another four years of creating practical solutions, while continuing to advocate for fiscal responsibility.”

Joshua Schaer

Schaer drafted and shepherded the food-packaging ordinance to fruition throughout 2009. Though the measure initially raised concerns about cost among local restaurateurs, the compliance date in October 2010 passed quietly.

The first-term councilman also leads the Council Transportation Committee and serves as the Issaquah representative to the Eastside Transportation Partnership, a regional group responsible for road and transit issues.

In recent months, as the transportation committee and the seven-member council tackled Newport Way Northwest upgrades, Schaer has been critical of the effort to remake a section of the road near the Bellevue city line and a separate proposal to widen the street near Issaquah Valley Elementary School.

In addition to Schaer’s post, the council seats held by Council President John Traeger and Councilman Fred Butler appear on the November ballot.

Candidates must file to run in Issaquah and other races by June 10. Schaer is the only council candidate so far.

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Joshua Schaer announces City Council re-election bid

February 17, 2011

NEW — 2 p.m. Feb. 17, 2011

Joshua Schaer

Incumbent Joshua Schaer announced plans Thursday to run for a second term, setting off the campaign season for City Council seats.

The candidate highlighted environmental accomplishments in the announcement, including a first-on-the-Eastside food-packaging ordinance.

“Shaping the future of our community is a great honor,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to another four years of creating practical solutions, while continuing to advocate for fiscal responsibility.”

Schaer drafted and shepherded the food-packaging ordinance to fruition throughout 2009. Though the measure initially raised concerns among local restaurateurs, the compliance date in October 2010 passed quietly.

Schaer also leads the Council Transportation Committee and serves as the Issaquah representative to the Eastside Transportation Partnership, a regional group responsible for road and transit issues.

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Mayor predicts ‘momentous year’ in State of the City speech

February 15, 2011

City is poised to complete long-term projects in coming months

Mayor Ava Frisinger offered a bold prediction for the year in the State of the City address last week.

“2011 will undoubtedly be a momentous year for Issaquah — one that will not only reinforce the importance of our day-to-day business, but will also celebrate our larger accomplishments,” she said during the Feb. 7 address.

The can-do speech highlighted projects scheduled for completion in the months ahead, including the city-coordinated zHome townhouses and a landmark effort to outline redevelopment in the 915-acre business district.

“2010 sets high expectations for this year, and I am confident that we can meet them,” Frisinger said. “Our list of goals for 2011 is extremely impressive and yet very feasible.”

The annual address — like the spring City Council goal-setting session and the autumn budget announcement — helps city leaders outline priorities for the public.

Frisinger used the speech to shine a spotlight on long-term efforts on track to mark milestones.

The city is poised to complete the long-running effort to preserve forested Park Pointe on Tiger Mountain soon.

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Grease is the word as city aims to cut risks to pipes

November 30, 2010

Fatty byproducts damage city sewer system and reduce capacity

Grease is more than just a word for city engineers.

The byproduct from french fries and other fatty fare can cause the same problems in municipal sewer systems as in human arteries.

The city is scheduled to consider a plan to cut down on the amount of food grease running down restaurant drains and into the municipal sewer system. City Council members could consider a measure as early as Dec. 6 to require offenders and incoming restaurants and other food sellers to install equipment — such as grease interceptors and traps — to prevent the lardy leftovers from reaching the sewer. Read more

City makes history in effort to turn restaurants ‘green’

September 28, 2010

A plastic fork and spork get picked out of the compost waste pile by Cedar Grove Composting General Manager Nick Harbert. By Greg Farrar

Groundbreaking packaging ordinance takes effect Oct. 1

Inside the neon-illuminated Rollin’ Log Tavern, the full effect of the city-mandated change from foam and plastic to eco-friendly cups, containers and utensils is apparent after a quick glance at the timeworn bar.

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Press Editorial

September 28, 2010

Sustainability takes leadership, balance

Issaquah is about to make history. The city, a longtime leader on sustainability issues, has followed Seattle and other large cities to change how restaurants and all other food sellers — from school lunchrooms to corporate cafeterias — serve food.

In many restaurants, diners noticed the change months ago, as innovative containers made from corn and paper replaced landfill-clogging options made from foam and plastic.

The alternative, the expanded polystyrene foam called Styrofoam, sits in landfills for years. The substance does not biodegrade and instead breaks into smaller and smaller pieces. Read more

Council seeks to fine-tune food-packaging ordinance

August 24, 2010

Less than eight weeks before a landmark food-packaging ordinance goes into effect, city leaders plan to fine-tune the legislation to compensate for fast-melting compostable straws, foil-backed sandwich wrappers and other potential pitfalls.

In a milestone decision late last year, Issaquah became the first Eastside city to ban polystyrene food containers and instead require containers and utensils fashioned from compostable materials. The ban goes into effect Oct. 1 — but businesses can ask to be exempt until early next year.

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