Terrace embraces recycling, composting

Terrace residents do better at recycling than many other South Snohomish County cities.
MLT residents do better job of recycling than many other South Snohomish County cities.

By Doug Petrowski

While separating one’s garbage, recycling and yard waste can be a hassle or an inconvenience, Mountlake Terrace residents have come to accept the practice, and even have a better record of recycling than some other neighboring communities, according to Waste Management.

“Mountlake Terrace has done very well with it,” said William Ibershof, Public Sector Manager of Waste Management, during a presentation to the Mountlake Terrace City Council on Monday. “You have a really strong community that likes to recycle and compost its different products,” he added.

According to Waste Management figures, Mountlake Terrace homeowners separate 60.3 percent of their recycling and yard waste into their proper containers in 2012. At multi-family locations (apartments, condos, townhouses that share waste and recycling collection containers) the percentage of diversion drops to 19.9 percent, and to 19.8 percent at Mountlake Terrace businesses, but those totals are still twice as much as in some South Snohomish County cities.

“Multifamily, usually, is only about 8 to 10 percent diversion rates, and here in this case, it’s almost 20,” Ibershof said. “I was at Mill Creek the other day, and their multi-family and commercial numbers weren’t quite as high.”

Ibershof praised multi-family unit residents in Mountlake Terrace for their conscious efforts to recycle. “That’s where we usually struggle the most, is trying to educate the apartment dwellers, because, what’s their vested interest? They’re paying the same amount. If they reduce their garbage amount, it doesn’t affect their rent. So, from their perspective, instead of having to walk to multiple locations to drop stuff off, they just would as soon toss it all in the garbage because it’s easy for us,” he explained.

“But here you’re finding 20 percent of the people are actually thinking about that and saying, ‘hey, I want to do my part.’”

Waste Management wants to partner with local businesses, especially restaurants, to increase the amount of food waste being disposed of in yard waste recycling. “A lot of restaurants right now, they throw out their leftover food and it goes into the landfill,” Ibershof said. “There’s actually ways for them to basically turn it into compost. There’s ways to pull it out of the waste stream and put it into a different source, which is, in a sense, composting.”

“We’re able to help a lot of restaurants reduce the size of their garbage containers by actually recycling a lot of the food,” he stated.

The presentation was well-received by city council members, especially Seaun Richards, who owns the local Red Onion Burgers restaurant. Following the explanation of reducing garbage collection by diverting food waste into recycling containers, Richards responded, “Sign me up.”

  1. Fantastic job MLT! 60.3% for residences is excellent. How great that Red Onion wants to lead the way among area businesses for food waste recycling. All our gardens are fed with Cedar Grove compost.

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