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“Naughty or Nice” Recycling Tips


The holidays may present challenges to even the most diligent recyclers!  So what is acceptable in that blue recycling cart?

The “Nice” list includes things like gift boxes, holiday cards and envelopes, paper gift bags and most wrapping paper, just not the tissue or foil-type kind. 


On the “Naughty” list? Items like bubble wrap, foam peanuts, ribbons and bows, sticky gift labels and gift bags that are plastic coated. 


If gifts are carefully unwrapped, consider reusing the wrapping paper next Christmas.  If you have a roomful of eager children tearing into their packages, well, never mind.  Just be sure to collect the remains (wadded up as they may be) and put them in the recycling bin.


And what about that Christmas turkey or that delicious fruit cake that everybody raves about?  Don’t forget, those leftovers, including the turkey carcass, go into the green yard and food waste bin.  The greasy tinfoil used to cover the turkey? It goes in the garbage.


Want to get rid of the oil from your last deep-frying experience?  Pour it into a securely closed one-gallon plastic jug, limit of 2 gallons per month per residence.  Be sure to add your name and address on the side of the jug and place it next to your recycling cart for pickup the next time it’s your recycling collection day.


Green-Holidays-singleAs for Christmas trees, yes, they’re recyclable at the curb on your regularly scheduled garbage day during the week of January 5-9, if cut and bundled with twine (no plastic) in sections no longer than 4 feet.  Anything on the tree (tinsel, lights, bells, ornaments, etc.) is not recyclable. 


Want to get rid of it sooner?  Place it at the curb by 8am on Jan. 3.  Local Boy Scout troops will  come through the neighborhoods to collect trees for a $5 donation.  Or, if you prefer, you can deliver your tree to: Service Club Ball Field, 14608 SE 288 Street, on that same day, also for a $5 donation to the Scouts. 

The following are some creative and practical ways to reuse items that are not recyclable: tree and present
  1. Use sustainable packing materials when packing and sending gifts; instead of purchasing new foam peanuts, use shredded newspaper or even popcorn.
  2. If you receive a package with foam peanuts,  keep them for future shipping needs; some mailing houses/shippers will accept them, as will V&G StyroRecycle located behind the Renton Ikea.
  3. Those fancy greeting cards  will make festive gift tags next year.  For all other paper and cardboard items, toss them into the recycling bin.

Granted, Santa will have already visited your house by the time you need to figure out whether or not to throw away that used gift box or toss it in the recycle bin (where it belongs) but just remember that he has started making his list of who has been “Naughty or Nice” for 2015. And it is never too late to be “Nice” on behalf of the environment.






vectra8Congrats Vectra fitness!

2014 kent Green business of the year!

At the November 18 Council meeting, Mayor Cooke presented Jen Velez, Vectra Fitness buyer and shipping coordinator, with two plaques designating the organization and its 30 employees as Kent's 2014 Green Business of the Year.  The company has been designing and producing high-end, compact, multi-station fitness gyms for home and institutional use since 1987.   During this past year, they launched an aggressive recycling program.  


Velez implemented commingled recycling, placing collection containers labeled with pictures of what items belong in each throughout the office and warehouse.  In addition, she sought out recyclers for specialty items such as wood, metal, foam, and plastic banding.  They are now able to recycle almost 80% of waste they generate, and this number is still rising. 


Recycling is important, but reusing also cuts costs.  Vectra Fitness reuses materials including large envelopes, single sided paper and packaging materials.  Purchasing recycled products helps to “close the loop”.  Recycled products purchased by Vectra Fitness Corporation include: file folders, toilet paper and some types of paper. 


Waste prevention is incorporated on many levels of production at Vectra Fitness.  Just a few of the ways Vectra Fitness reduces waste include: purchasing products in bulk, providing durable dishes for employees and avoiding coversheets.  More information about Vectra Fitness can be found on their website www.VectraFitness.com.


The city of Kent has been awarding the Kent Green Business of the Year since 2000.  Previous recipients of this award include: Hexcel Corporation, Torklift Central, Applus Technologies, The Boeing Company, REI, Worldwide Distributors, Emerald City Graphics, Staples Store #1357, Mikron Industries and Panasonic Services Company.





Taking a load to the dump?

Cover it or pay a $25 fine at the Transfer Station (if you were lucky enough not to get a $260 ticket on the way).  Uncovered materials can get airborne and cause accidents and injuries in addition to littering our streets.  Play it safe - use the $ to buy a tarp and tie-downs instead.  For a great video, visit:  here.






Save $$$, reduce food waste...

The average household tosses out an amazing 25 percent of food and drink purchased, which adds up to $30 each week ($1600 a year) in wasted groceries.  And it’s not just about wasted money.  When we throw away food, we also waste all the water and energy used to produce, package and transport food from the farm to our plates. Uneaten food accounts for 23 percent of all methane emissions in the U.S. – a potent climate change contributor.


Visit King County’s Food: Too Good to Waste for lots of good tips to help you reduce waste and save money.








Oct. 11 Recycling Event nets 118 tons of material! 101610 RecEvent Stove

968 carloads came through the Saturday event bringing appliances, tires, petroleum products, batteries, Styrofoam & an amazing 14,550 pounds of documents for shredding! 


The next recycling event in Kent is scheduled for March 21, 2015.  Don't want to wait that long?  Check out:  www.your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/garbage-recycling/events.asp for other opportunities. or visit www.kingcounty.gov/whatdoidowith for a list of recyclers.  For shredding, visit the Attorney General's site at www.atg.wa.gov/shredathon.aspx#events.


For information on where to safely recycle or dispose of computers, monitors, laptops, and TVs year-round at no cost, please visit http://www.ecyclewashington.org/ or call 1-800-RECYCLE.  For information on how to safely dispose of household hazardous products, those marked:  Caution, Warning, Danger, Toxic or Poison, call 206-296-4692 or 1-888-TOXIC-ED (1-888-869-4233), or visit:  www.hazwastehelp.org.









Free Recycling App!

Calling all smart-phone users!  Good news!  1-800-Recycling.com, a national data base of recycling vendors now has a FREE App to download for iPhone and Android users.  How cool is that?  Anything you’d ever want to recycle can be found on it.  Just select the material category, and the GPS function will provide a list of vendors in our area that will accept that material.  Check it out!












Approximately 30% of what we throw away consists of things that can go into the yard waste bin. Listed below are steps to help minimize the amount of "garbage" that goes into your cart.  

Throw food scraps away in a convenient kitchen countertop container   

  • Many styles are available and some offer carbon filters to eliminate odors
  • Line the container with a paper or compostable bag for easy carry-out

Collect food scraps and food-soiled paper after a meal and when cleaning out the fridge  

  • Peel spuds right onto yesterday’s news – a couple of pages from a newspaper will do to wrap it up
  • Add in fruit and veggie trimmings, meat, fish, chicken-even the bones, bread, pasta, coffee grounds
  • After dinner, scrape the plates straight into the container
  • Paper towels, napkins, greasy pizza delivery boxes, uncoated (non-shiny) paper plates and cups can go in too

Empty the container into your green yard waste cart 

  • Reduce odors by dumping kitchen container contents into your green cart daily
  • Keep your cart clean by lining the bottom with newspaper and/or layer your food scraps in with your yard waste;  using compostable or paper bags will also help keep the cart clean
  • Add shredded paper with food waste to absorb moisture  
  • Rinse out your cart on a strip of lawn, NEVER DOWN A STORM DRAIN.  Republic Services offers one free cart cleaning per year and additional cleanings cost $8.68 each call 206-682-9735 to sign up for the service.

Worried about odors? Designate a produce drawer or corner in your fridge or freezer to store those “odor ridden” items-generally the raw meats, chicken and fish. Add these items to your green yard waste cart and reduce your garbage, the size of your gray cart and garbage bill.  See flyers for more information.


Recycling Resources


Business Recycling   

Household Recycling  

Apartment/Condo Recycling 

Business Recycling Newsletter 







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