Updates on Additional Recycling Collection Service in Unincorporated Washington County
You can stay up to date with these efforts by subscribing to the “For interest in garbage and recycling regulatory topics or the Garbage and Recycling Advisory Committee (GRAC)” email list at this link.
April 27, 2022
On April 26, 2022, the Board of County Commissioners approved a new addition to curbside recycling. The County is calling it Recycle+. This optional service, which begins July 1, 2022, will provide an opportunity for community members in urban unincorporated Washington County to recycle materials not included in standard recycling. Interested community members can request service through their current garbage and recycling collection company.
Community members who sign up for Recycle+ will receive a 20-gallon purple bin for convenient home pickup of plastic film and bags, plastic #1 clamshell containers, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and textiles such as clothes, sheets and towels. Customers who wish to participate will be charged a base fee of $2.50 per month and only pay for needed pickups at $9.25 each. They can cancel service at any time; no subscription is required. Dropping these materials off at a recycling depot remains a no-cost recycling option for community members.
Additionally, as part of the board’s action, the standard curbside recycling program will immediately expand to include all types of household batteries, which will be collected in existing glass recycling bins.
More information about Recycle+ is available on the county’s website. Customers in urban unincorporated Washington County can expect to receive information about how to sign up in the coming months.
Meeting materials and a copy of the presentation can be reviewed on the Board of County Commissioners’ iAgenda webpage website. A recording of the video is also available on the County’s YouTube channel or by clicking on the image included here.
April 13, 2022
On April 12, 2022, the Board of County Commissioners held a work session and reviewed proposed administrative rules and rates for Additional Recycling Collection Service. The Board directed staff to return to their regular business meeting on April 26, 2022, with an action item for a final vote. Meeting materials and a copy of the presentation can be reviewed on the Board of County Commissioners’ iAgenda webpage website. A recording of the work session is also available on the County’s YouTube channel. Fast forward to 43 minutes into the recording.
Meeting materials for the April 26, 2022, regular business meeting will be posted on April 19, 2022, one week prior to the meeting date. Materials can be accessed through the Board of County Commissioners’ iAgenda website. When meeting materials become available, we will notify the email list for the “For interest in garbage and recycling regulatory topics or Garbage and Recycling Advisory Committee (GRAC).” Public comment is accepted during regular business meetings according to the Board of County Commissioners’ Testimony Procedures.
March 16, 2022 (updated April 7, 2022)
On March 10, 2022, the Garbage and Recycling Advisory Committee voted to favorably recommend to the Board of County Commissioners that proposed administrative rules and Additional Recycling Collection Service rates, as outlined in the February 23, 2022, update below, be adopted. Meeting materials, an action item summary and a recording of the meeting are available on the Garbage and Recycling Advisory Committee webpage.
Following the advisory committee’s recommendation, staff will be presenting the proposed administrative rule and rate changes to the Board at their April 12, 2022, work session. Meeting materials for the April 12, 2022, work session are posted on the Board of County Commissioners iAgenda webpage. As soon as meeting materials are available, we will notify the email list for the “For interest in garbage and recycling regulatory topics or Garbage and Recycling Advisory Committee (GRAC).”
Note: The purpose of the April 12, 2022, work session meeting is for the Board to discuss the Board agenda and identify questions for staff before taking action on an item in a future regular business meeting. Community members observing these meetings should hold their comments and questions for the regular business meeting.
February 23, 2022
On March 10, 2022, the Garbage and Recycling Advisory Committee is scheduled to review and make a formal recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners regarding proposed changes to the Solid Waste and Recycling Administrative Rules. The Board will then review and act on the proposed rule changes, likely in April.
Proposed changes would require that by July 1, 2022, county-regulated garbage and recycling collection service providers will offer additional recycling collection services for items such as plastic film, clear plastic clamshells, textiles, and compact fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs. These optional services would be provided at County-set fees separate from standard garbage, mixed recycling and yard debris collection fees. Also, the proposed rules would require that service providers participate in reuse collection drives and require services be provided to community members living in multifamily dwellings by July 1, 2023. Additional proposed rule changes would immediately add household batteries to the standard residential curbside recycling collection service.
Draft Solid Waste and Recycling Administrative Rules are available for review and comment at this link. A copy may also be requested by contacting the Solid Waste & Recycling division at 503-846-3605 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments can be sent to Washington County Solid Waste & Recycling at 155 N. First Ave., MS 5-A or email@example.com by March 10, 2022. Additional information will be made available on the Garbage and Recycling Advisory Committee webpage on March 3, 2022.
January 26, 2022
On January 25, 2022, the Board of County Commissioners approved a Resolution and Order temporarily amending the Solid Waste and Recycling Administrative Rules. You can view the board meeting on YouTube.
What does this mean? Businesses other than current certificate holders are temporarily authorized to collect recyclable materials not currently being collected by county-regulated providers. County staff will continue to work with the regulated garbage and recycling collection service providers on a new program for collecting recyclable materials. Under this new program providers could expand their recycling services to include additional items such as batteries, plastic film, textiles and more. Once this new program is launched, the temporary rule will be repealed.
Why is the County taking this approach? The Board of County Commissioners and County staff have been listening to community member feedback on the need for additional recycling services for items not included in the curbside mixed recycling bins. We share the community’s commitment to recycling and reducing waste and are working to ensure that:
- Community members have equal, fair and consistent access to waste removal services.
- New programs include regulatory safeguards to protect the health and welfare of our community.
- All garbage and recycling services are delivered at fair and just rates and approved by the County.
- New programs incorporate the vision and values of the 2030 Regional Waste Plan.
What comes next? County staff are evaluating a comprehensive framework to provide additional recycling services. We will ensure any new program complies with local, regional and state rules and regulations – while also aligning with the 2030 Regional Waste Plan and providing services that community members value. This work will include coordination with current franchised service providers to innovate and expand opportunities for additional recycling collection services in our community. Staff anticipates program development work will occur throughout the spring, with new programs available to community members this summer. Until a new program is launched, businesses other than current franchised service providers may continue to operate.
January 20, 2022
The Board of County Commissioners reviewed the topic of additional recycling collection service at their work session on January 18, 2022. The Board asked staff to develop a new collection program to ensure that community members have access to recycling collection services for additional items not currently included in the curbside recycling program. The new program will be made available to community members through the county’s current garbage and recycling collection service providers. It will be designed to incorporate equity considerations and align with County rules and regulations that protect the health and safety of all community members. The recording of the work session can be found here: January 18, 2022 Board Work Session
The Board also requested that until the new program is in place, we temporarily adjust the rules to allow others to provide expanded recycling collection services so access to these services is not interrupted. This includes Ridwell. We anticipate the Board will act on temporary amendments to the Solid Waste and Recycling Administrative Rules at their meeting on January 25, 2022. Meeting materials can be found here: January 25, 2022 Regular Meeting
December 22, 2021
The following message is provided in response to community concerns regarding the operations of Ridwell Inc. in Unincorporated Washington County. The Board of County Commissioners will be reviewing the topic of expanded recycling services at their January 18, 2022, Work Session. You can review the Work Session agenda and watch it live by visiting the County’s iAgenda webpage.
Thank you for your commitment to recycling and reducing waste. We are heartened by the outpouring of support for waste reduction efforts and want to assure you that Washington County shares your goals and passion for protecting our environment. We want to clarify a few things regarding Ridwell’s operations in Washington County:
- Washington County is the solid waste authority for only the unincorporated areas of the county outside the boundaries of any city. If you live within the limits of a city – you will need to contact that city for information about whether Ridwell is an authorized service provider.
- Ridwell has been operating its solid waste collection service in unincorporated Washington County without proper approvals or authority for almost a year. Ridwell knowingly expanded its business into unincorporated Washington County in violation of county code and without proper approvals as required of any other solid waste collection business.
- Throughout the last year the County has been in close communication with Ridwell and allowed Ridwell to continue existing operations only while Ridwell’s request for an exemption from county code requirements was reviewed. While Ridwell pursued an exemption, the County requested it cease expanding its customer base in unincorporated Washington County.
- The Garbage and Recycling Advisory Committee, comprised of community members and solid waste industry experts, reviewed Ridwell’s exemption request. After holding a public hearing and much discussion, the committee did not support an unregulated solid waste collection company operating in unincorporated Washington County. The advisory committee had questions regarding Ridwell’s approach to where its services were or were not offered, its employment practices, whether potentially hazardous items like compact fluorescent light bulbs and batteries were safely handled, the inability to know where or whether the materials were getting recycled or reused, and whether expanding unregulated solid waste collection services may not align with the 2030 Regional Waste Plan. After discussion, the Committee voted to reject Ridwell’s exemption request.
- In accordance with the Washington County Code, the committee’s decision was final and the Board of Commissioners has no role in the exemption request.
- Following the committee’s action, the County notified Ridwell that the committee did not find that an exemption of any kind was warranted at this time and that it needed to stop its operations in unincorporated Washington County.
We want you to know that the County has heard considerable interest from community members regarding expanded recycling collection services through a variety of channels – including public hearings, community surveys and emails like the ones recently sent in response to Ridwell’s notice to its customers. The County has already begun reviewing a variety of ways to provide an expanded recycling collection service. A service that would be regulated to ensure safety and fairness, incorporates equity considerations, is responsible and transparent in how materials are managed, ensures that recycling markets can accept what is collected, and most importantly, ensures that capturing certain items for recycling benefits our environment.
You can stay up to date with these efforts by subscribing to the “For interest in garbage and recycling regulatory topics or the Garbage and Recycling Advisory Committee (GRAC)” email list at this link. If you want to continue recycling the items Ridwell was collecting they can be dropped off at a variety of locations. To find a location near you visit the What to Recycle and Where? tool on the County’s website or download the Garbage and Recycling Day app on GooglePlay or the AppStore.
Thank you for your support of waste reduction.
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