Recycling in Federal Way: Check your mailbox

Federal Way residents should expect to soon receive in their mailboxes a handy educational guide to recycling.

The brochure, labeled "Recycling Options," should arrive around March 15. The guide provides answers to nearly any recycling question a current or wanna-be Federal Way recycler has. Want to know where dishwashers and microwaves can be recycled? Refer to the "Appliances" section in the brochure. Want to know how to contact Waste Management, the company responsible for picking up Federal Way residents' garbage, recycling and yard waste? See the "recycling information" section of the brochure. Want to know how to obtain a discount on a compost bin? Again, refer to the "recycling information" section.

The brochure goes as far as to include how to recycle items that many individuals do not realize can avoid a trip to the trash can. Packing materials, Styrofoam blocks, plastic bags, holiday trees, fat, oil and grease don't need to be thrown away. There are several regional companies that accept and recycle these things.

The brochure is the latest of several measures the city is taking to teach and encourage residents to recycle. It includes some of the same information that was offered in the city's 2010-2011 garbage, yard waste and recycling collection schedule, which was sent to single-family residences in February.

"To keep our recycling rate up where it is, it's going to take continual eduction," said Rob Van Orsow, solid waste and recycling coordinator.

When it comes to recycling, figuring out where and how to recycle is half the battle. Not all cities haul their recyclables to the same processing facility. Because of this, items that the City of Tacoma accepts in its recycle bins are not the same as those accepted in Federal Way's bins. For example, glass items and other commonly recycled materials are put in a separate container and collected curbside in Tacoma. In Federal Way, glass is combined with other recyclables, placed in the large blue recycle can and then collected curbside.

"There's little differences in each community, and hopefully the way we're doing it here in Federal Way (makes it) easy to recycle," Van Orsow said.

April 3 event

The "Recycling Options" brochure will also include an insert about the city's April 3 recycling event. This will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Twin Lakes Park and Ride, at 21st Avenue Southwest and Southwest 344th Street. The event is an opportunity for Federal Way residents to get rid of items such as tires, mattresses, scrap metal, wood, refrigerators, freezers, petroleum-based products, Styrofoam blocks, holiday lights and more. This event is different from King County's Wastemobile.

The Wastemobile visits the Auburn Supermall twice monthly. The collection site is set up in the parking lot every first and third full weekends of the month. Items such as paint and household chemicals are collected at that event.

The "Recycling Options" and spring cleaning affair, are just two ways the city is trying to make Federal Way folks aware of recycling. The city is also in the midst of educating businesses on how to recycle and cut down on waste. Each of the city's businesses will be visited by an auditor, who can help the business and its employees improve their recycling efforts.

"It's a pretty comprehensive level of outreach we're doing," Van Orsow said.

Check it out

For more information about the recycling brochure or the April 3 recycling event, call (253) 835-2771 or visit The brochure can be viewed in its entirety online by clicking here.

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