By Nicole Kidder, Reporter
Each year, we set aside time in April to reflect on how our actions are contributing to the health of our planet. As the spring sunshine inspires you to clear out the clutter, be sure to catch our tips for responsibly getting rid of household waste. You’ll find Don’t Dump It, Donate It! Your Local Guide to Recycling in the May 2021 print edition and on our newly redesigned website. In celebration of Earth Day, here are some helpful resource links the Loon Lake Times has dug up for our readers:
Spokane Kootenai Waste & Recycle Directory: Using the Waste & Recycle Search feature instantly connects you to dozens of local service providers that accept a wide range of items from vehicles, construction materials and old tires to contaminated soil, explosives and shredded paper.
Office Supplies and Electronics: Consult the Best Buy, Staples and Office Depot websites for a list of recycling options. e-Cycle WA also provides a comprehensive list of options for recycling broken and outdated technology.
Light Bulbs: Most light bulbs can only be recycled by specialty centers. Batteries Plus in Spokane takes a variety of lights, and Colbert is the nearest transfer station that accepts bulbs. Light Recycle WA has a thorough list of recycling options for specialty bulbs.
Medical Supplies: Check with your local pharmacy or doctor’s office to see if they take bottles, expired medications or medical equipment. Be sure to remove labels or scratch out personal information. Do not flush any medicine unless the patient information leaflet instructs you to do so. The annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 24, 2021, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) maintains a list of locations that safely dispose of controlled substances year-round.
Composting: Food scraps and yard waste make excellent fertilizers for enhancing the soil of new spring gardens. One way to encourage healthy family behaviors is to add a small compost bin to the kitchen. You can toss in everything from spoiled leftovers to coffee grounds to fruit rinds. An outdoor compost can is great for disposing of houseplant trimmings, grass clippings, tree leaves, newspaper, cardboard and farm animal manure. You can even transform those notoriously frustrating pine needles into fire starters, vinegar flavoring, meat seasoning, garden mulch or a mole deterrent.
Mail Packaging: UPS runs a mail services recycling program. Check with your local branch to see if it accepts bubble wrap, Styrofoam and packing peanuts.
Burn Safely: Stevens County Fire District No. 1, which covers the 375 rural square miles across southeastern Stevens County, recommends following the detailed Burn Safely guidelines provided by the Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) when handling yard waste.
Waste Disposal: To dispose of waste responsibly or to utilize the free recycling bins, haul your unwanted stuff to the Stevens County South Transfer Station in Loon Lake or the Stevens County Landfill in Kettle Falls. Consult this advice from the Stevens County Landfill if you are unsure whether it goes To the Bins or to the Landfill?
Spokane County Disposal Sites: Spokane County offers three one-stop drop-off locations that are also used by local residents:
- Waste to Energy Facility Recycling & Disposal Site: 2900 S. Geiger Blvd., located west of downtown Spokane, across from the Washington State Patrol office. Visit the Secure Disposal Services page for information on safely handling and disposing materials that require a certificate of destruction.
- Valley Recycling & Transfer Station: 3941 N. Sullivan Road, located south of Trent Ave. across from the Spokane Industrial Park.
- North County Recycling & Transfer Station: 22123 N. Elk Chattaroy Rd. in Colbert. The Spokane County North Transfer Station accepts clean green yard waste for $10 under 300 pounds or $55 per ton. Summer hours are Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Due to the COVID-19 response, it is good to check conditions at this facility before arrival by calling (509) 477-6800.
- Starting April 1, 2021, all Spokane stations now accept paint in the free recycling drop-off area.