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Zero Waste Initiative

Zero WasteBainbridge Island Zero Waste, an initiative of Sustainable Bainbridge, is dedicated to reducing the amount of trash generated on Bainbridge Island. We are diverting resources bound for the landfill by promoting waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting.
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Want to be on the BI Zero Waste listserv
and receive 2-4 emails a month?
You'll hear about ZW activities, field trips, special recycling events,
regional ZW news and monthly meeting dates, as well as be part of
the collective wisdom when we pose questions to the group.

Contact us for any reason at

OCTOBER ZERO WASTE MEETING  - Wednesday, October 21, 7-8:30pm
At the Marge Williams Center, 221 Winslow Way West
Please come!  Everyone has a unique perspective to offer,
from which we build a more effective program.
When: Saturday, September 26, 10am-4pm
Where: City of Bainbridge Island Operations Maintenance Facility, 7305 NE Hidden Cove Rd.
Accepted: oil-based paints, stains, adhesives, aerosols, paint thinners, corrosive cleaners, lawn & garden chemicals, pool & spa chemicals  (No containers can be emptied or returned at this event.)
NOT accepted: latex paint, oil, antifreeze, household or auto batteries, fluorescent bulbs and tubes, propane tanks
(Latex paint-solidify and dispose of in trash; household batteries-take to Bainbridge recycling center; auto batteries-Bainbridge recycling center or retail stores that sell car batteries; fluorescent bulbs and tubes-free takeback at ACE Hardware, 10 per day; propane tanks-exchange BBQ tanks with a propane supplier)
When: Saturday, September 26, 10am-2pm
Where: Bainbridge Police Station
What: All prescription and over-the-counter medications in pill or patch form.  No liquids, needles or sharps. 
Never flush medicine down the toilet or drain.  It's bad for fish (and maybe us, too)!
TAKING TRASH to TASK - Did you know that eighty percent of ocean trash comes from the land?  Well, less will be entering Puget Sound now, thanks to the Glam Gals of Bainbridge Island, who dedicated four hours per week this summer to picking up litter around the island.  Read all about it in this article.
PLASTIC PLANT POTS - What to do with them? 
> Persephone Farms will take back the 4" size.  Visit them every Saturday, 9am-1pm, at the BI Farmers' Market. 
> Bay Hay and Feed takes back any maroon-colored ones and 5 gallon or larger of any color.
> Bainbridge Gardens takes back 2 gallon or larger.
> Lowe's in Silverdale REUSES and/or RECYCLES ALL plastic plant pots, trays and tags, regardless of condition. Return to their garden department. Go here for program details.
CLOTHING RAGS - Don't toss in the trash!  Give washed items (nothing moldy, wet or hazmat) to Goodwill, located in the ACE Hardware parking lot.  It's open every day, 8:30am-5pm, or until the truck is full.  Unwearable items may become wiping and polishing cloths or are turned into fibers for things like upholstery, insulation and furniture stuffing.  If we put clothes in the trash, they end up decomposing in a landfill, emitting global-warming methane gas. 
COMPOST FOOD LEFTOVERS - Food becomes a greenhouse gas offender when we toss it in the trash (and down the drain is just the same).  Its next stop is the landfill, where it and any other organics - paper, textiles, yard waste, wood - will produce a potent global warming culprit, methane gas, while decomposing.

Luckily, Woodward Middle School and Wilkes Elementary students are setting the standard for sending their leftovers off to be composted into a nutrient-rich soil amendment instead of being buried in a landfill.  Under the watchful eye of custodian Jim Behrens, Wilkes kids have been putting their food scraps into a separate container for about six years.  From there, Bainbridge Disposal hauls the food to a commercial compost facility in Belfair. 
BD also services Woodward, where award-winning French teacher Susan Knell has trained the 7th and 8th graders not only to sort organic waste (including napkins, paper bags, and waxed sandwich bags) but also to set aside unopened food for others and to create stashes of carrots and pizza crusts for island horses and chickens.  Find out just how much food these middle schoolers are keeping out of the landfill by reading Deb Rudnick’s eye-opening account of a recent food waste audit at the school. 

So what about the rest of us?  Follow the zero waste mantra and reduce first, or in food terms, clean your plate! If you do have prep or post-meal scraps, here are your compost options:
> Make or buy a home compost unit (only for certain food, like produce).
> Ask to put your scraps in a neighbor’s pile.
> Find people who will feed the scraps to their poultry and/or livestock.
> Contract with Bainbridge Disposal for a yard waste toter and put any kind of food in it.
> Go to the BD Transfer Station and dispose of your organics for a small fee.The Environmental Protection Agency acknowledges that, "Greenhouse gases from human activities are the most significant driver of observed climate change since the mid-20th century.”  Diverting food from landfills is a simple habit to adopt to steer us toward a better future.
- General Biodiesel Northwest has teamed with Bainbridge Disposal to install a cooking oil recycling tank at BD's Vincent Road transfer station (open 10-4, Wed-Sun). There is no charge for recycling fryer and used cooking oil.  General Biodiesel recycles vegetable, canola, soy, and peanut oils into locally produced, commercial grade, extremely low-carbon fuel for cars, trucks, trains, and ships (including the ferry).

Please no motor oil (the transfer station has a separate tank for that).
Also no solid fats (bacon grease or lard).
Bainbridge has 10 restaurants that are recycling enough used cooking oil, which has the effect of removing 20 cars from the road each year. General Biodiesel collects from over 2000 restaurants in Puget Sound and the Northwest and produces low-carbon, clean burning fuel to the ferries, truck fleets and distributors in the Puget Sound area.
-  Bainbridge's radio station is set to start live-streaming and needs music!  Donate your CDs - with original jewel case, as royalties will be paid - to Bainbridge Community Broadcasting.  Contact for details.
FLUORESCENT LIGHT RECYCLING - We used to have to take our fluorescent tubes to Poulsbo.  Now they can be dropped off at Ace Hardware, up to 10 per day by both residents and businesses. As an article in insidebainbridge notes, "Ace will take your traditional fluorescent tubes (including straight, curved and circular tubes), twisty compact fluorescent lights, and high-intensity discharge lights, which are commonly used in outdoor lighting fixtures. Ace will then turn them over to Seattle’s EcoLights Northwest for processing. EcoLights breaks down the lights so that the recyclable components, including mercury, can be refined and reused."

CLIMATE ACTION BLOG - ZW member and scientist Deb Rudnick writes an engaging account of ways she is "committed and focused on taking concrete steps to support climate change actions."  Four stories that concern local zero waste efforts and events are described here