Tuesday, April 28, 2015

1-800-RECYCLE answers the big questions

By Andrew Wineke, communications manager, Waste 2 Resources

Where do you go to recycle llama poop?

That was one of the first questions Ecology’s Michelle Payne received when she began staffing the 1-800-RECYCLE hotline back in 1998.

Most of us know where to go to recycle aluminum cans or newspapers, but what about a tanning bed? How about a scuba tank? What about an old set of blueprints?

The 1-800-RECYCLE line (1-800-732-9253) is a free service that helps Washington residents find the appropriate place to recycle just about everything. The hotline’s database includes 1,801 recycling facilities and 116 different types of recyclable materials.

And, yes, that includes llama manure. As it turns out, Payne says, you can take it to a composting facility.

The 1-800-RECYCLE hotline has operated since 1976, and the 1800RECYCLE.wa.gov website came online along with Michelle in 1998. The 1-800-RECYCLE Facebook page started just last year.

Three Ecology staff members answer the hotline from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays – which will expand to 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays beginning May 1. The phone team averages nearly 400 calls a month, while another 6,000 people find answers on the automated website.

The 1-800-RECYCLE team relies on local governments, businesses and the public to learn about new collection sites, or new materials being accepted for recycling. They work hard to keep the database current, checking on every facility via the web or through an email or phone call at least once a year.

If you know of a new facility, or an existing facility accepting new materials, email 1800recycle@ecy.wa.gov.

And if you’ve got some alpaca scat you need to unload, now you know who to call.

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