I am an avid recycler. I am always looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. When I move, one of the first things that I do is to try to get the lay of the land with regard to recycling. Yes, please feel free to refer to me as a recycling nerd.

Thurston County maintains a list of materials and where to recycle: http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/cm/solidwaste/index.asp

Most materials can go in the curbside recycling bins if you have residential service. Here’s what can go in the bin. In Olympia, glass goes in a separate container and is picked up on a different schedule. Because it’s rainy here, the bins need to have drainage holes. A couple of my neighbors use bins with lids.

There are a number of stores that recycle specific items like e-waste, plastic bags/wrap, CFLs and batteries, including Target, Best Buy, Lowe’s and Home Depot.

One of the most vexing things here is the inability to recycle plastic clamshells. I just haven’t found a place nearby that will take them. We have tried to reduce what we buy in clamshells (typically it’s produce), but we still wind up with some. If you have ideas, send me an email.

OTOH, you can recycle styrofoam, both block and takeout containers. Clean polystyrene (Styrofoam) can be recycled at the Thurston County Waste & Recovery Center, 2420 Hogum Bay Rd NE, Lacey, WA 98516, (360) 786-5494.

I also learned that you can recycle plastic bags and plastic wrap at the Waste and Recovery Center! Yay!

The Waste and Recovery Center is a one-stop location for dropping off recyclables, trash and household hazardous waste. This is a great place to drop off large cardboard that doesn’t fit easily into curbside recycling bins. There is also a Goodwill drop off on site that will accept clothes and small household items (no large furniture).

The hours for the Waste and Recovery Center are:

  • Monday through Friday: entrance gates open from 7 a.m.– 4:45 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: entrance gates open from 8 a.m.– 4:45 p.m.
  • Entrance gates close at 4:45 p.m.

If you are interested in recycling green waste, the Waste and  Recovery Center also accepts green waste:

Items accepted as self-hauled yard waste

  • Garden trimmings and prunings
  • Grass clippings (as fresh as possible)
  • Leaves, needles, and cones (no dirt or rocks)
  • Tree branches and cedar boughs
  • Tree stumps and roots (no dirt or rocks)
  • Untreated lumber (no paints or stains; nails are OK)
  • Plywood and particle board (no laminate)

If you have things to shred, there are a number of free shredding events throughout the year. Some serve as fundraiser and food drives: http://www.lemaymobileshredding.com/community-shred-events

For hard to recycle items, there’s always TerraCycle. This is a more expensive option but it’s very satisfying to be able to recycle as much as possible. TerraCycle sells postage-paid boxes that can be filled and returned. TerraCycle does have some free programs.

Happy Recycling!

Love, Oly

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