The Spokesman-Review


Recycling resolution

Darn those tin cans. You want to recycle them because it’s good for the Earth and all that, but to do so you have to tear off those labels. You place the cans under hot water, hoping to make it easier. Nope. Eventually, the hassle outweighs the greater good. Into the trash the cans go, accompanied by some guilt.

The recycling gurus at Spokane Regional Solid Waste System have some good news. Since November, you haven’t had to take those pesky labels off. Just place those cans in your blue bingee – guilt-free. And you don’t absolutely have to crush those cans, either, although that allows the trucks to fit in a greater number of cans, which means more streamlined pickups, which means less gas – and you get the green concept.

“Everyone has the perception that there are too many (recycling) rules,” says Suzanne Tresko, the system’s recycling coordinator. “We’re going to look and see if we can break some of the rules.”

Holiday weeks are the trashiest time of the year. Christmas first, then New Year’s and all the parties in between translate to tons of wrapping paper, beverage bottles and packages. It’s prime time to begin to recycle, if you aren’t hooked on it already. This year is expected to go down as the best in Spokane County recycling history. Tresko hopes 2007 will top 2006 record figures in which residents recycled 45 percent of their waste.

Expect garbage to remain a hot topic in 2008. Garbage turned into a campaign issue in the Spokane mayoral race because some residents were angry when alley pickups were discontinued. Now city and county leaders are analyzing the best ways to dispose of the area’s growing waste stream, in anticipation of paying off bonds for the waste-to-energy plant in 2011.

Expect also to hear more about how easy and convenient it is to recycle. In a survey taken last summer, four in 10 Spokane County residents said they needed more information about recycling options. Solid waste folks are trying hard to get more information out there, as they should.

Check out their Web page at, call (509) 625-6800 or open up your phone book to the “brown pages” toward the front. The pages list just about everything you need to know about recycling. For instance, you can recycle your cell phone and charger by placing them in a plastic bag on top of the bingee. There are also plenty of tips for those who don’t yet have curbside recycling.

Going green will get even easier in 2008, one tin can at a time. Join in.

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