City, King County offer options for recycling Christmas trees

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.

Decluttering offers chance to reuse, recycle

December 13, 2011

Habitat for Humanity Store volunteer Cindy Clark (left) and merchandising supervisor Molly Jacobson work in the Bellevue showroom, moving and assembling previously owned furniture donated to sell. By Greg Farrar

The items relegated to closets, crawlspaces, garages and junk drawers need not be banished to the landfill during a home decluttering effort.

Local recycling and reuse experts said the trick is to find fresh uses for old and unnecessary items, either through donations or repairs. Items in good condition make ideal candidates for donations to thrift stores. King County and local businesses offer recycling services for many household goods and items in not-so-good shape.

King County EcoConsumer Tom Watson said options abound for unloading the items cluttering the nooks and crannies in a home.

“Always consider donation, because reuse is better than recycling,” Watson said. “Someone else can use it — family, friends,” online classified services and thrift stores.

Watson adds another R to the time-tested mantra to reduce, reuse and recycle — repair. Often, furniture and other household items in otherwise good condition can be repaired for less expense and hassle than replacement. Old furniture, for instance, is a candidate for reupholstering.

Arie Mahler, donations manager for Seattle Goodwill, said sending items to a thrift store is a solid choice to reduce clutter — and aid a local nonprofit organization in the process, too.

“We’re pretty forgiving when it comes to donations,” he said.

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King County offers hazardous waste guide to businesses

October 25, 2011

Entrepreneurs in need of some help manage to hazardous waste can turn to the Hazardous Waste Directory.

The directory is produced and distributed by the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County. Call the Business Waste Line at 206-263-8899 to order a copy, or read the directory at

Business owners rely on the directory to determine how to manage hazardous waste. The directory also describes how to receive help, outlines regulations, explains how to choose a disposal or recycling vendor, and more. The directory lists wastes and includes information about handling, recycling, regulations and chemical hazards.

The program is a partnership of local governments, including King County and suburban cities, to manage hazardous wastes and protect health and the environment.

City could choose CleanScapes for garbage contract, dump Waste Management

October 18, 2011

Officials seek hauler to serve most Issaquah neighborhoods

CleanScapes nudged out larger competitors and emerged as the No. 1 contender to haul Issaquah garbage due, in part, to offering curbside pickup for difficult-to-recycle items, such as batteries and light bulbs.

The city is seeking a garbage hauler to serve most Issaquah neighborhoods. Waste Management is the predominant hauler in the city, but the current contract between Issaquah and the Houston-based company expires in June.

Seattle-based CleanScapes came out as the top candidate after city officials evaluated offers from both companies and another collector, Allied Waste — a local name for national company Republic Services.

City officials said a $3.8-million-per-year CleanScapes contract could mean lower rates for Issaquah customers, plus increased customer service and recycling options. The contract requires City Council approval.

If the CleanScapes contract is approved, a residential customer putting a 32-gallon cart out for weekly curbside pickup could see rates decrease from $13.43 to $12.74 — a 5.1 percent drop.

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King County to answer landfill questions at Issaquah meeting

October 18, 2011

Residents from areas near the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill can offer feedback and receive updates at a public meeting soon.

The agency responsible for the landfill, the King County Solid Waste Division, is hosting a community meeting from 7-9 p.m. Oct. 25 at the King County Library Service Center, 960 Newport Way N.W.

Meeting attendees can learn about landfill operations, plus construction and environmental projects at the 920-acre facility. Officials also plan to discuss the Bio Energy Washington landfill-gas-to-energy facility at the landfill site.

The facility prompted noise complaints from nearby residents last year.

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King County Council increases rate for garbage pickup

September 12, 2011

NEW — 8 p.m. Sept. 12, 2011

The cost for garbage pickup in Issaquah and elsewhere in King County is due to increase by about 80 cents per month next year.

King County Council members approved the rate increase Monday as part of a long-term effort to upgrade the solid waste system.

Under the updated system, the basic rate for commercial vehicles, such as garbage trucks, is $109 per ton. The current rate is $95 per ton.

The average customer putting out a single can for pickup should pay about 80 cents more per month next year.

For people hauling loads to county transfer stations, the rate is due to increase to $17.49 per load from $15.31 per load.

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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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Tour Cedar Hills landfill, destination for King County garbage

August 30, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 30, 2011

See the destination for most King County garbage up close.

The county is opening the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill between Issaquah and Maple Valley for free tours Sept. 10. Cedar Hills, the last operating landfill in the county, encompasses 920 acres and accepts about 800,000 tons of garbage each year from across King County, excluding Seattle and Milton.

The tour is designed for adults. Call 206-296-4490 to organize tours for school-aged children and school groups.

The tour starts at 9 a.m. and lasts about one hour. The tour requires reservations. Reserve a spot by Sept. 6 by calling 206-296-4490, TTY Relay: 711.

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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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Education opportunities grow in student gardens

August 23, 2011

Sunny Hills Elementary School first-grader Digant Dash (left) plants flower bulbs in the school’s first-grade garden with fourth-graders Derek Chao and Spencer Bernsten. By Jane Ulrich

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.

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