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Tech trash to fund sixth-grade field trip

With Earth Day around the corner, local municipalities and agencies are gearing up for some spring-cleaning, or … recycling.

Area farmers, gardeners or electronics enthusiasts can pitch in unusable supplies and equipment and help support the Port Angeles Food Bank or the sixth-grade class at Sequim Middle School.

The charitable collections are among several in April.

“We want to keep as much out of the landfill as possible while making it convenient for people to get rid of unwanted waste, which could actually be a commodity,” said Meghan Adamire with the Clallam Conservation District. “Our farm and garden plastics recycling event should be a real hit, considering the amount of plastics used in the industry.”

The Clallam Conservation District partnered with the city of Port Angeles for the April 13 event in Carlsborg. Ecycle Northwest, a local electronics and plastic waste recycler, will take old nursery pots, flats, plastic baling twine, supply bags, bale covers and tarps for no charge.

Organizers ask that materials be mostly clean and sorted by size and type.

“We sort them, we bale them in export-ready size and we sell them on the commodity market,” Ecycle president Daniel Tharp said. “We’ve been in operation just short of a year and the amount of materials coming to us has already forced us to expand twice and we’re looking to do it again real soon.”

Tharp grew up on a farm and later worked in construction waste management. He said the two influences led him to where he is today, recycling Clallam County’s unwanted plastics and electronic appliances.

“Many of these plastics are highly recyclable, but you are unable to put them into the regular recycling system,” he said. “With the onset of single-stream recycling, the machines don’t sort these types of plastics very well so they are taken out and tossed. We want to recycle them.”

Tharp also is working with the Sequim Middle School Parent-Teacher-Student Association to collect old or broken electronics from people in the area. The service isn’t free but it is cheaper than usual. For example, recycling a 17-inch computer monitor would cost $15, while smaller machines such as phones and palm pilots are $3. Other electronics vary in cost based on the size.

“It’s great to be able to help these kids get a better education,” Tharp said. “Some of the proceeds will go toward a trip to the Olympic Park Institute.”

Tharp estimates he must throw out about 2 percent of the materials that go through Ecycle, a figure he hopes to bring as close to zero as possible.

“Other than these types of events, we have hours for the public to drop off electronics on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the second and fourth Saturdays,” he said. “Right now we don’t take public’s farm plastics other than through an event, but we do work with large operations to pick up their plastics; so we’re able to line something up in that respect.”

The electronics are stripped for their materials and hard drives are destroyed. The plastics often are remolded into the same things they were before, such as nursery items, pipe fittings, bags and plastic imitation lumber.

“It’s amazing what they are able to do with our waste, encouraging too,” Tharp said.

The cities of Port Angeles and Sequim are hosting collection days for large appliances, tires, yard waste and other trash. Port Angeles will take the materials April 20 at the Regional Transfer Station at $10 per load, which directly funds the city’s food bank. April 17-19, Sequim is accepting materials at no cost at the city yard, but only from Sequim residents. Sequim will not take refrigerators, freezers, paints or hazardous materials.

To contact Ecycle, call 681-8645 or visit www.ecyclenw.com. To learn more about the city of Port Angeles operation, visit www.

cityofpa.us/transferstation.htm. The city of Sequim can be found at www.ci.sequim.wa.us.



Recycling events in Clallam County

this month include:

• April 13, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. — Clallam Conservation District and the city of Port Angeles will take farm and garden plastics to be recycled free at 40 Harrison Road in Carlsborg.

• April 17-19, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. — The city of Sequim will accept garbage for no charge at the city yard, 169 W. Hemlock St., but only from city residents.

• April 19, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. — Sequim Middle School and Ecycle Northwest will recycle electronic devices to fund a sixth-grade trip, at the school, 301 W. Hendrickson Road.

• April 20, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. — The city of Port Angeles will accept trash up to a three-quarter ton truckload for $10 at the Regional Transfer Station, 3501 W. 18th St. Proceeds will help fund the city’s food bank.

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