Seattle Recycling and Green Living News Round-up
Updated: May 20
It’s important to stay up to date with local news when it comes to recycling and green living! Local policy changes, lawsuits, and investigative studies can impact our lives and environment in a number of ways, unbeknownst to the general public. Keep reading for our new, monthly, local Seattle news coverage!
Capitol Hill Seattle Blog
This article provides a great overall look at how Seattle’s recycling efforts fared recently, as well as an outlook on new policy changes like Seattle Public Utilities potentially hiking its rates through 2019 on garbage, compost, and recycling for businesses and individuals. These come as a result of a new waste transfer station, as well as a way to offset costs from its discount program for low-income residents. Additionally, the plastic bags ban is working well, seeing a 58% reduction in plastic bags being disposed of since 2011. Overall, recycling in Seattle has gone up by 20% since 2003.
According to the Basel Action Network, Total Reclaim, a local electronics recycling company (and one of the largest in the PNW) has been accused of sending its inventory to places like Mexico, Kenya, and Hong Kong. These types of practices can lead to toxic materials leaching into the environment and hurting people in other communities. The Washington State Department of Ecology is currently investigating this and a variety of agencies are taking another look at their contracts with the company.
A new investigation by Basel Action Network claims that up to 20% of all US electronic waste is exported to Hong Kong, which represents an estimated 43 containers of e-waste per day. This allegedly violates different international treaties that ban the cross-border transfer of tox electronic materials. 27 different recyclers seem to have sent electronic waste to countries where importing US e-waste is illegal. Unfortunately, Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection department seems to be doing little to pursue prosecuting this matter, even after dangerously high concentrations of toxic materials have already been found in soil samples.
A recent op-ed from Jason Rantz, a local Seattle radio host, writes a scathing criticism of Capitol Hill’s recent push to reduce crime by using smaller dumpsters. He claims that the City of Seattle’s removal of large dumpsters in order to reduce the public safety risk of people being attacked is merely an shortsighted attempt to encourage environmentalism. The owner of the local Comet Tavern and Lost Cafe also chimed in: ‘Plastic to go bags are banned from restaurants for environmental reasons (a good thing) but now the City wants restaurants to use thick plastic garbage bags instead of dumpsters, which will get picked up 3 times as often, meaning MORE plastic bags and 3x as many garbage truck trips adding to traffic and exhaust problems. Irony?’