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Following the local recycling stream

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Many of us have harbored an underlying worry that our paper, plastics and pop cans don’t actually amount to much. It’s time to dump those old ideas and embrace recyclers and the EDS transfer station on Highway 73. Nothing brought in remains on site. Your commingled recyclables are responsibly sorted and sold to various commodities brokers.
The environment is surely the main beneficiary, but it must be profitable for a private trash company to accept this stuff for free. Many factors have to line up to make it all work.
The sorting and baling is done by a crew from Developmental Disabilities Resource Center. Since the bales are judged for contamination, rinsing adds to their value and allows EDS to continue offering curbside pickup and free single-stream dropoff.
The recipients of recycling, companies such as Altogether, Waste Management and Miller Coors, can point to tangible results in saving landfill space, conserving fuel and electricity, preserving trees and protecting water.
I spoke with Lynn Brown from Waste Management and enjoyed hearing about her commodity customers, Patagonia and Trex, for example. Trex buys some materials we really shouldn’t even be using any more (plastic grocery bags and empty water bottles) and responsibly recycles 400 million pounds of plastic and wood scrap each year. Miller Coors, a purchaser of glass bottles, even asks its customers to take a recycling pledge.
“Many folks in our community are good stewards of the environment and want to recycle,” says Dianne Bennett of EDS. The company slogan used to boast “generations going to trash.” Now, “It’s not just trash; it’s our future.”
We all can be more responsible about how we consume. Patagonia reminds us that recycling is the last option after avoid, repair and reuse.
So after you’ve read your Courier and shared it with a friend, you won’t believe all the things you can do with newspaper. Check out YouTube videos on making newspaper yarn or a serviceable bag by “suporterbumi.”
My favorite is a “happyslob” idea for creating a compost blanket that will smother grass roots and, come spring, yield a bed that is prime for planting. Your Courier is printed with soy-based inks by Signature Offset, so there are few VOCs (volatile organic compounds) leaching into the soil. Signature is the first cold-process printer in the state to earn “Gold Leader” status for its environmental responsibility.

Hannah B. Hayes is a former Both Sides Now debate columnist, small-business owner and peace activist. She has been a part of the Evergreen community for more than 35 years.