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Natural Resources and Parks

King County, Washington

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DNRP
Aug. 24, 2011

How a banana peel gets recycled

King County helps Issaquah neighbors step up their food scrap recycling; Resulting compost donated to enrich local community food bank harvest

The average single-family household in King County generates 475 pounds of food scraps and food-soiled paper every year, and many people are still throwing this easily recycled and valuable resource in the garbage, rather than the yard waste cart.

King County has partnered with 10 neighbors in Issaquah’s Sycamore neighborhood to increase their food scrap recycling for one month to demonstrate how easy it is to do. Today, the resulting mountain of collected food scraps will be showcased in front of one neighbor’s home to show the public how much readily recyclable material this one community diverted from the landfill.

“We estimate that these 10 neighbors diverted approximately 450 pounds of food scraps and food-soiled paper from the landfill in just 30 days,” said Gerty Coville, King County project manager.

“In fact, more than one fifth of what goes into the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill is organic material that could be recycled and made into nutrient-rich compost for gardens and parks. If we all recycled these items in our curbside yard waste carts, we could save room in the landfill for the things that really need to be there, and give food scraps a second life as compost,” she said.

For a few of the participants, including Sycamore neighborhood resident Donna Misner, this was the first time they had recycled food scraps and food-soiled paper.

“I learned a lot about how much waste my family alone is creating every week,” she said. “Everyone should recycle their food scraps and food-soiled paper – it’s easy.”

The food scraps collected today will be trucked to Cedar Grove Composting and processed into compost. Two months from now, the food scraps-turned-compost will be donated to the Issaquah Flatland Community Garden.

The garden is sponsored by AtWork!, a nonprofit organization that provides work training and placement assistance for adults with developmental disabilities. Twenty five percent of the garden's beds are collaboratively worked by garden members with the harvest donated to the Issaquah Food Bank.

“The garden is a nice focal point for the Issaquah community,” said Dennis Wadja AtWork! Community Development Manager. “Neighbors walk to the garden, children are exposed to growing food, the food bank receives nutritious organic food and space is available for the disabled population. We see this recycling project as an opportunity to connect deeper to the wider community.”

This project is part of King County’s public education campaign, “Recycle More. It’s Easy To Do”, which encourages residents to recycle more and to start recycling food scraps and food-soiled paper in the curbside yard waste cart. To learn more visit www.recyclefood.com.

For more information about recycling in King County visit www.kingcounty.gov/recyclemore, or www.facebook.com/recyclemore.

Related information:

What do I do with...?

King County Solid Waste Division