Green Brief: Recycling Stations Turn Waste To Resource

A group of islanders is working to make Vashon Island a model waste-to-resource community.

  • Wednesday, July 7, 2021 5:52pm
  • Opinion
Steve Bergman

Steve Bergman

Editor’s Note: Green Briefs are a new, regular commentary from Vashon’s environmental leaders with useful information to help islanders respond to the climate crisis and heal the earth. Coordinated by The Whole Vashon Project.

With climate change upon us, we want to help improve our island’s sustainability and resilience.

How we deal with waste is high on the list. In nature, there is no waste — everything is a resource. Nutrients and energy flow in continuous cycles of growth, decay and regeneration. Waste is a human-made design flaw in many civilizations.

Good advice for healing the planet: it’s not a silver bullet we need, but silver buckshot — the simultaneous application of many diverse actions. In an ideal circular economy, resources are kept in use longer and waste is eliminated by recycling and reducing the need for new resources.

Fortunately, a group of islanders is working to make Vashon Island a model waste-to-resource community — one of the silver buckshot targeted to reduce waste. Thanks to a 2020 King County CSA grant to Vashon Makerspace, a group of motivated volunteers has created two 3-bin Recycling Stations in the Vashon Town Center at the Village Green and Ober Park. They will be available at the Strawberry Festival, although the Ober Park station will be temporarily moved to the IGA Stage.

These Recycling Stations were created by members of the Vashon Makerspace and Tool Library, in partnership with Zero Waste Vashon, Vashon Parks, VIGA, Open Space for Arts and Community, the Vashon Chamber of Commerce and five island high school sophomores (and their parents): Benjamin O’Connor, Oliver Churchill, Moses Trundle, Nick Zuckerman, and Leo Neidinger. The group aims to engage and motivate our community to reduce waste and promote the benefits of a circular/shared economy, as well as create a collaborative network for more environmentally-focused island programs.

Nancy and Mike O’Connor, next to the recently completely recycling stations (Courtesy Photo).

Nancy and Mike O’Connor, next to the recently completely recycling stations (Courtesy Photo).

This team designed the stations and built them (during the pandemic) under the instruction of retired shop teacher, Kevin Grayum, at Open Space, utilizing the vast tool collection of the Vashon Tool Library. Knowledge and carpentry skills were transferred to the students and other participants during the project, with special COVID-19 protocols in place. Island artist Hope Black provided the creative diversity and nature-inspired mural on the Village Green Station. In total, more than 500 volunteer hours were spent on this effort. A BIG thanks to all who helped.

Vashon Parks staff have agreed to service two of the three bins in each station (garbage and commingled recycling — thank you, Parks!) but not the compostables. We seek your input and advice on developing a system for organic waste. What is the best way to collect it and what should we do with the organic compostable waste? Garden fertilizer? Animal feed? Other ideas? If you have a use, contact us!

Email steven.bergman@zerowastevashon.org to help with this.

Thanks for putting the R’s into practice throughout the day: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and rethink every purchase through a zero-waste filter, considering how it will be disposed of. And stay tuned for future articles on other ways we can make Vashon a model waste-to-resource community.

— Steve Bergman is a geologist, Zero Waste Vashon and Vashon Makerspace board member and Whole Vashon Project advisor.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@vashonbeachcomber.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.vashonbeachcomber.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

As Delta Dawns, Islanders Need To Renew Precautions

We know now what can happen when we follow the rules: life returns to a semblance of normality.

x
Reflections on a Sweet Strawberry Festival

The Festival was filled with our traditional events and activities, but all with a focus on Vashon.

x
Energy Consumption Globally, and Locally, Is Too High

We are not taking the climate crisis seriously.

Vote Yes for Best Starts for Kids

Funding from this initiative has already resulted in direct benefits for Vashon youth.

x
Everything Must Change. What are the New Rules?

What we really need is some concrete guidance, a “to do” list.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
King County primary election candidates to watch | Roegner

With the Aug. 3 primary election, the public will narrow the field… Continue reading

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Massive reforestation effort needed in Washington and beyond | Brunell

Massive forest fires in the western parts of our country are not… Continue reading

x
Mukai Joins Mayoral Race, Hosts Day of Festival Fun

What says Strawberry Festival like the history of the strawberry on Vashon?

Here’s to Friendlier Fourths in the Future

There are people to see, and places to go, and good clean fun to be had.

Most Read