County planners want residents talking trash

Island County is asking for public comment on its plan to dispose of waste, including garbage, recycling and “moderate-risk waste.”

The plan, which is required by state law, provides guidance for the county’s programs for waste reduction, recycling, compliance and enforcement and proper management of moderate-risk waste over the next six years. Public Works staff is in the process of updating the document, which was created in 2014, and is accepting comments until July 31.

A public hearing on the plan is planned for 6 p.m., July 24 in the commissioner’s hearing room.

“We’re looking for any gaps that people could identify that we’ve missed,” said county Solid Waste Manager Joantha Guthrie.

The update addresses the significant downturn in the market for recycled materials that occurred in 2018. Because of these changes, the plan doesn’t recommend expanding recycling programs until the market improves.

There are recommendations to eventually add curbside recycling in Langley and Freelend, once the markets improve.

Among its goals are development of public-private partnerships for waste reduction, an emphasis on reduction and recycling as fundamental strategies and education to promote waste management practices, according to the plan.

For “organics,” such as yard and food waste, the document recommends considering composting at the Island County Solid Waste Center.

The recommendations in the update were created last year by the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, comprising industry representatives, the health department and members of the public.

The full document is available on the solid waste page of Island County Public Work’s website and copies are available to view at each of the libraries on the island.

Comments may be sent to Joantha Guthrie at joanthag@co.island.wa.us

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