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Oct. 26: Lunch time discussion (with pizza), about changes to recycling at SJI Transfer Station


Join Lautenbach's   for pizza and a discussion regarding the changes to recycling on the island in light of China's import restrictions from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, October 26 at Brickworks in Friday Harbor.  They would love to hear your concerns and ideas.

Due to the global recycling issue referred to as China’s “Green Sword”, Lautenbach Industries, the contractor managing the San Juan Island Transfer Station for San Juan County, will no longer be able to accept commingled (mixed) recyclables at the Transfer Station.

The Chinese government has mandated very strict acceptance policies which are currently unobtainable for North American recyclers of mixed recyclable waste. The impact is significant as the Chinese market is where more than 30% of North America’s recyclables have been processed.

In response to this pending restriction, Recology, the facility in Seattle that has been processing San Juan Island’s recyclables has stopped accepting mixed recyclables from San Juan Island and others.

This change only effects curbside collection of recyclables within the Town of Friday Harbor and self-haulers on San Juan Island bringing recyclables to the transfer station.

As of this writing, there are no changes to county-wide curbside collection of recyclables by San Juan Sanitation or self-haulers bringing their recyclables to the Orcas Transfer Station and Lopez Solid Waste Facility.

Lautenbach is responding to this challenge by implementing a source separate recycling program at the San Juan Transfer Station. People will be able to bring in clean cardboard, aluminum cans, metal and wood. Glass, plastics and mixed paper will not be recycled at this time.

It is anticipated that the Town will have to discontinue curbside recyclables collection in the next 30 days but the actual date will be determined and additional information will be provided later.

This solution will allow residents to recycle as much as possible in the short-term while we work together to develop a new long-term sustainable recycling option for San Juan Island. Lautenbach has committed to honor recyclable pricing for mixed recyclables coming to the transfer station during this transition.

We apologize for any inconveniences this will cause for the residences of San Juan Island. Lautenbach has always been and remains a recycle-first company and will continue to refine and find new ways to improve recycling services on San Juan Island, including expanding its source separate recycling program to include plastic water and soda bottles and milk jugs (#1 and #2 bottles).

We are developing information for the San Juan Transfer Station website and Facebook page to provide helpful ways for Islanders to reduce, reuse and recycle.

San Juan County and the Town of Friday Harbor will also provide updates on their websites and are committed to communicating and assisting in every way possible as this situation develops. For more information on recycling changes to San Juan Island contact:

For more information on recycling changes to San Juan Island contact:

Troy Lautenbach, troy@lautenbachrecycling.com, 360-757-4000

Mark Herrenkohl, San Juan County Public Works, 360-370-0534, markh@sanjuanco.com

Duncan Wilson, Town of Friday Harbor, 360-378-2810, duncanw@fridayharbor.org 

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