Trash, trash, and more trash — or is it?

Ken Rhodes, our Certified Environmental Clean-Up Engineer (and Saint), has some tips for us on handling our garbage and recycling.

Jesus calls us to be good stewards of the earth and I am sure most of the people try to do their part in the effort to conserve natural resources and protect the environment.

Here at St. Andrews, we also try to do our part but sometimes come up a little short. Part of the problem may be that where you live – your recycling program may be slightly different than the City of Tacoma’s program. Tacoma’s is slightly different from Pierce County, Lakewood, Gig Harbor, or King County. It also different from private carriers that you may have in your residence.

I will try to give some guidelines to clarify the program here at church.

Blue cans- we have 4 cans, all located outside the back kitchen doors. These are for mixed recycling – clean paper, aluminum cans, tin cans, plastic bottles (no caps), clean food trays, magazines, mail, cardboard, plastics of all grades. Note a few exceptions:

Food residue should be cleaned off containers.
No waxed cartons like milk cartons or juice cartons or wax paper cups. Everything should be loose, not in a larger plastic sack.
The only exception to “C” above is that shredded paper should be in a clear plastic bag.
Cardboard boxes MUST BE FLATTENED!!!!!!

Brown can. We have one.
Yard waste including leaves, twigs, pruned branches, grass, spent flowers, weeds and the like. Food waste-anything you can eat like food trimmings, leftovers, peelings, coffeegrounds, tea bags, the stuff that collects in the sink strainer (Ewwww!) and refrigerator “surprises. “ The only things forbidden are bones and fat like cooking oils or meat trimmings.

Green Cans- we have 2. These are for everything else. Often called garbage. These things go there. Used paper plates, coffee cups, paper towels, napkins, tissues, pizza boxes, foils, gift wrapping, waxed cartons and juice cups, and containers that can’t be cleaned, broken glass, Styrofoam, and more.

I have a few more requests:

  •   Clean off platters and trays like you get at a market or deli. If not cleanable, then it will go in the green can.
  •   Programs, bulletins, music sheets and other clean paper to be recycled can go in one of several bins in Ada Webb room, entry way and in the office.
  •   Ask if you are unsure.
  •   There is no current program for glass bottles. People usually bring them home and recycle them. We can work on this.
  •   I have been doing the trash cans for over 20 years. I can continue for 20 more and these pointers will help me avoid digging through the cans in the dark and rain on a January Sunday night.

Adapted from Ken’s article in the June Tartan