What can be recycled now?

Lautenbach held a community meeting at Brickworks at lunch time on Thursday, October 26, 2017 to discuss the situation with recycling at San Juan Transfer station. Last week, the company announced the end of commingled recycling due to China cracking down on contaminated imports. 

Glass can't be recycled currently but perhaps islanders will use it in other ways. Photo from SJ Transfer Station FB page

Because the company didn't want to leave customers stuck with a bins of recyclables at home, they have been taking commingled at the old price of $3 a bin. They are letting people know that the material is not being recycled but will end up in the landfill. 

While paper, plastics and glass can't be recycled at this time. The Transfer Station is set up to take separated recyclables consisting of clean aluminum cans, clean tin cans (it's OK to leave the paper label on), and clean cardboard.  

Clean cardboard is defined as:

No grease or food (pizza boxes are the biggest offender!)

No excessive tape or labeling

No dirt, paint, or other contaminants
No plastics or liners



Lautenbach Industries Sales Manager Paula Brichler is posting the latest information on San Juan Island Transfer Station's Facebook page. including this info about cardboard: The quality of cardboard is important because it is essential for recycling. Cardboard is ultimately baled, sent to a mill, and inspected prior to be processed. If it contains excessive contamination it will be rejected and sent to landfill because glass, rocks, styrofoam, wax, and excessive moisture, etc could potentially damage the equipment, cause a health concern, or make the end product unusable.

Brichler offered to put together a group of volunteers who want to brainstorm on ways to solve the recycling problem locally. The problem created by China declining to accept the commingled recyclables is a global, national and local problem. 

If you'd like to participate in the group, contact Brichler through the Facebook page. 

Orcas Island Transfer Station is still accepting commingled. They have a contract with Waste Management. However, the end of commingling there is just a bit further down the road, according to Troy Lautenbach. 

Lopez Island Transfer Station has dealt with recyclables separately. Glass is crushed and placed in the ground at a site that is being restored. 

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