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Bainbridge Island Zero Waste

Bainbridge Island Zero Waste strives to reduce the amount of waste produced by our community, from the purchase of material to disposal. We encourage changes in behavior that lead to the sustainable use of our resources.

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Want to be on the BI Zero Waste listserv and receive 2-3 informative e-newsletters a month?
Issues may contain feature articles, news about ZW activities, special recycling opportunities, pertinent legislative updates, regional zw news, meeting dates and minutes, and chances to volunteer for zero waste events.

Contact us for this or any other reason at .

The next Zero Waste meeting is Saturday, January 18, 11am-12:30pm, at Sotheby's Realty.
Special Guest: Jay Hildebrand, Safeway/Albertson's Superintendent of the Asset Recovery Center (i.e., landfill diversion) at the Auburn Distribution Center. In 2017, they received the Business Generator of the Year from the Washington State Recycling Association. Go here and scroll down to read more about the stores' landfill diversion efforts. Come to the meeting to ask Jay questions and make suggestions about Bainbridge Island's Safeway's practices.

                                             WINTER CALENDAR

January 18 - Zero Waste meeting, Saturday, 11am-12:30 at Sotheby's Realty. Special guest: Jay Hildebrand, Regional Sustainability Officer for Safeway
Before January 19 - Declaration of intent to do Trashion Mystery Box Challenge is due prior to Sunday, January 19. Email to enter this category.
January 19 - Due date for Call for Artists sketch and raw materials list. Email  with entry category, sketch and raw materials. More details here.
January 19 - Mystery Box Challenge boxes available for pick-up at Esther's Fabrics.
January 19 - Last day to see display about the Trashion Show in the lobby case of the Bainbridge Public Library
January 20 - Last day to recycle light strings at Bainbridge Ace Hardware.
January 29 - Preparatory meeting for first Bainbridge Barter Network meet-up, Wednesday, 7:30pm at Winslow Cohousing Common Room. Check Bainbridge Barter Network Facebook page for details.



NEW competition category this year: Mystery Box Challenge

(ATTENTION: This category is currently FULL.
You may get on the waiting list or choose a different category.)

                                   For more information, go to .


Efforts are underway to establish a Library of Things on Bainbridge Island. 

The goal of the Library of Things is to act as an accessible repository of shared goods for the community to borrow. A recent BI Facebook survey showed that over 92% believed a Library of Things would be a valuable resource, with home and garden tools, recreational equipment, entertainment items, kitchenware and toys being the top five categories of items that residents would want to borrow. 

There are well over 300 tool libraries and libraries of things in the world. Community resources and activities on Bainbridge like Zero Waste's Tableware Lending Library, BI Parks and Recreation Gearbank, the Rotary Auction, and Helpline House's medical equipment lending library are all amazing and well loved examples of our community's penchant to share, reuse, and offer affordable access to goods. 
To find out more, go to the Library of Things web page.



Ideally, we're all trying to use less disposable plastic whenever possible. However, if you have decided that plastic signs are the way to advertise your event or cause, you may request free, used wire posts from islander Herb Hethcote. Herb has gathered them from past political campaigns, devoting time to hammering bent legs straight when needed. Email for his contact information.

If you have corrugated plastic (Coroplast) signs to get rid of, you may drop them off at the door of portable 230, located at the southernmost end of Woodward Middle School's south parking lot. (Do NOT drop them off inside the school.) They will be used as templates in school shop projects. If the wire post is still attached, that is fine. 

If you just have wire posts to get rid of, instead of recycling them with other scrap metal at the transfer station, drop them off for reuse at Herb's house, 1866 Commodore Lane.

This counter represents the number of beverage cans and bottles that have been landfilled, littered and incinerated in the US so far this year.

        ALUMINUM CANS are arguably the best material to recycle:

  • It takes only 5% of the energy to make a new can from recycled aluminum as it does to make the can from virgin aluminum (other materials take 40-70% as much energy).
  • It is made back into the same item that was recycled (not "downcycled" into a different, one-and-done product).
  • It is endlessly recyclable (like steel and glass; unlike paper and plastic).
    FUN FACT -  75 percent of all aluminum produced (not just from cans) is still in circulation.
  • It takes only two months to go from your recycling bin back onto the store shelf!                            

PLASTIC - The bane and boon of our existence.
In May 2019, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law SB 5397, which initiates a study for the management of plastic packaging in Washington State through product stewardship, industry-led initiatives and other options. Watch this short video that briefly delves into the reasons for having extended producer responsibility (EPR) on plastics.

Washington state currently has EPR programs for the following products:

  • TVs and computers (E-cycle -- WA was first in the nation!)
  • Prescription medicines
  • Solar panels
  • Mercury lights
  • Paint (starting in late 2020)

Why product stewardship by the companies producing barely recycled plastic? Because individuals' actions are a drop-in-the-bucket compared to what an ever-growing plastics industry (which creates the material/problems) can accomplish. Listen to this story for a more comprehensive look. 


Thank you to the Bainbridge Community Foundation, whose 2019 capacity-building grant has helped our Zero Waste organization grow towards a more sustainable future.   
Think of recycling as a commodity feedstock, not as landfill diversion.
MEDICATION TAKE-BACK YEAR-ROUND - In late 2017, the Kitsap Public Health Board approved an ordinance establishing secure medicine return regulations throughout the county, including on Bainbridge.  On the island, the police station is where our dropbox is located (no needles!). It is free for all county residents.  Those who are homebound may dispose of unused medicine by mail at no cost.  Go here for all the details.

STOP FOOD WASTE - How to store 100 fruit and vegetables to prevent spoilage. See pages 4-11 of this guide by Seattle Public Utilities. Wasted food = wasted resources (water and energy used to produce, package and transport) and money down the drain.

This page has ideas for cooking parts of veggies that we normally compost.

Except for infant formula, the following dates on food/drink packaging do NOT mean, "throw away". (Source: Food and Drug Administration):
"Best if Used By/Before" indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
"Sell-By" date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. It is not a safety date.
"Use-By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. It is not a safety date except for when used on infant formula as described below.

INSPIRATION for students and adults alike...
Check out this 4-minute video of 4 years of trash, then choose some of Lauren Singer's "Trash is for Tossers" brief FAQ youtube clips to see how to make one change at a time toward a zero waste lifestyle:

PLASTIC PLEDGE - Single-use plastic: We use for minutes, yet it lives on for hundreds of years.  Plastic is fast becoming the fatal food of marine animals, as plastic bits are on pace to outnumber fish in the ocean by 2050. (And behavioral evidence says they seek out plastic because the biological matter covering it, like algae, mimics the smell of food).

Take our plastic pledge.  For one month, switch from using a single-use plastic item to a durable one (or none at all).  We're hoping it becomes a lifelong habit!

Start with this: Stop sucking! 


RECYCLE ANYTHING WITH A CORD (that is, if you can't pass it on or fix it) - Take to Bainbridge Disposal Transfer Station.  Put in designated box in the e-waste section.

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PARTY TIME! - Throwing a big bash?  Keep disposal costs down by borrowing tableware from Zero Waste.  ZW has a tableware lending library of reusable dishes, cups, glasses, utensils, napkins and tablecloths.  Contact for your next function.
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WHERE DOES OUR RECYCLING GO? - It is trucked to the Port of Tacoma to a materials recovery facility (MRF, pronounced "murf") run by Waste Management.  There the mixed recyclables are sorted by type, baled, then sold off to be processed into new materials.  Here is a short video explaining the general process. For a bit longer video about the actual Kitsap County recycling process, go here.