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Summer 2017

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In this issue

Pile of mattresses


  • Third LinkUp Mattress Recycling Summit recap ...[read]

Pile of carpet


  • California carpet stewardship program continues to struggle ...[read]
  • Recently published reports critique CARE ...[read]

Pile of shoes


  • Third annual Threadcycle campaign keeps textiles out of landfills ...[read]
  • Eco Fashion Week collective conversation ...[read]

asphalt roof

Asphalt Shingles

  • Recently released study results show asphalt shingle recycling is on the rise nationally ...[read]
  • Despite setbacks, asphalt shingles recycling continues to expand regionally ...[read]

Pile of compost


  • Cedar Grove targets diverse communities in King County to increase food waste recycling ...[read]
  • King County to offer a second round of Commercial Food Waste Grants ...[read]


Third LinkUp Mattress Recycling Summit recap

Large pile of mattresses

King County hosted the Third LinkUp Mattress Recycling Summit on May 24 at the ShoWare Center in Kent. Participants discussed mattress product stewardship, transfer station mattress recycling and challenges in Washington and beyond. Mattress recycling will become more convenient and available when mattress collection and recycling service begins at five of the County’s eight transfer stations: Bow Lake (in Tukwila), Enumclaw, Factoria (in Bellevue), Shoreline and Vashon Island. A solicitation for proposals or bids for 2018 transfer station mattress recycling service will be advertised by King County in July.

Also discussed was the Mattress Recycling Council “Bye Bye Mattress” product stewardship programs in Connecticut, California and Rhode Island; each state trod a different path to their programs. King County emphasized that transfer station mattress recycling is an interim step toward a Washington statewide mattress stewardship system. A coalition of supportive mattress retailers, recyclers, haulers, nonprofits and local governments is necessary for a statewide product stewardship bill to succeed in the legislature. Summit participants expressed interest in mattress stewardship and coalition building.


California carpet stewardship program continues to struggle

Large pile of carpet

The California carpet stewardship program, established in 2010, is facing significant challenges. CalRecycle, the state agency overseeing the program, disapproved the carpet industry's stewardship plan in December 2016, and in April disapproved the revised plan. Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), the stewardship organization, is allowed to continue to operate under their 2016 plan for 60 days while they submit a new plan. The announcement stated:

"Without any approved Plans, all manufacturers of carpet, selling in California, are currently subject to penalties of $10,000 per day until such time as they are covered by a Department-approved plan... However, in order to preserve the recycling infrastructure and to avoid market disruptions, manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers in compliance with the prior 2016 Carpet Stewardship Plan may continue to operate for the next 60 days without being subject to fines for selling carpet in California."

CalRecycle presented its final Enforcement Plan at a June 20 public meeting. CARE’s stewardship plan, CalRecycle’s FAQs, comments, the disapproval and more are all available on CalRecycle's carpet stewardship plans website.

To read more in-depth, see the Plastics Recycling Update article covering the history of the "long-brewing conflict... [and] rare public breakdown", and CARE’s perspective from its April 2017 carpet stewardship program update.

Recently published reports critique CARE

The GAIA and Changing Markets Foundation have published two recent reports critical of the carpet industry and CARE. Swept Under the Carpet: Exposing the Greenwash of the U.S. Carpet Industry (Dec. 2016) describes the scope of the waste carpet problem, makes the case for carpet-to-carpet recycling, and charges that the major players in the global carpet industry have intentionally undermined the California carpet stewardship program and lobbied against legislation that would bring carpet stewardship to other states. The report also states that the industry is prone to blaming outside influences, such as low oil prices and poor market conditions with the failure of California’s program, when in fact “…CARE is largely responsible with its badly designed and implemented plan that fails to take into account concerns of other actors and mostly benefits the big carpet manufacturers…” GAIA concludes that the “real barriers in moving the U.S. carpet industry in a more sustainable direction are complacency, greenwashing, and the lobbying efforts of carpet manufacturers to maintain the status quo...”

GAIA’s April 2017 report, The CAREless Carpet Industry: A Critique of the California Carpet Stewardship Program’s Reliance on Incineration, concludes that “CARE has implemented a program that fails to (1) properly incentivize recycling and the use of recycled content, (2) provide adequate subsidies for collection and recycling, and (3) implement the necessary industry and consumer education to support a serious carpet recycling program in California.”


Third annual Threadcycle campaign keeps textiles out of landfills

Threadcycle bus display ad

Now in its third year, King County Solid Waste Division and Seattle Public Utilities’ Threadcycle campaign partnered with eight large-scale collectors to decrease the amount of textiles disposed of in the landfills by educating residents that all clothes, shoes and linens can be given for reuse or recycling, in any condition as long as they’re not wet, mildewed or contaminated with hazardous materials.

Threadcycle reaches residents through social, earned and paid media (digital and transit ads), and has attracted wide-spread local media attention including stories on KOMO and KING 5. The campaign’s textile collection partners educated their employees on item acceptance policies, and highlighted Threadcycle messages in a variety of ways, including through social media, websites, and collection box and truck signage. As in past years, there will be a Spanish-language outreach component to the campaign in the coming months.

Cities in King County play a key role in sharing Threadcycle messaging with their residents. The City of Kirkland created a window display at the Kirkland library and displayed through the month of April to raise awareness about the very large quantities of textiles that are thrown in the garbage each year in Seattle and King County. The City of Bellevue created a beautiful ad to promote Threadcycle and the other textile recycling services available in their city. Other cities, have also done a great job promoting Threadcycle messaging to their residents.

To learn more about Threadcycle, check out this video from King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.

Liz Fikejs along with other Rethink Reuse panelists

Liz Fikejs (center in red) along with other Rethink Reuse panelists at Eco Fashion Week event in Seattle.

Eco Fashion Week collective conversation

In November of 2016, Value Village and the organizers of Eco Fashion Week hosted a day-long event in Seattle to share information on the challenges, opportunities and innovations facing sustainability in the garment and textile industry. The audience included members from the fashion industry (including students), nonprofits, local governments and thought leaders. Seattle Public Utilities (King County LinkUp partner) participated in the Rethink Reuse panel to describe how Seattle and King County developed the Threadcycle campaign to encourage consumers to give all clothes, shoes and linens to participating collectors. Each year in Seattle and King County, nearly 40,000 tons of textiles go to landfills when up to 95 percent of this could have been reused or recycled.

Asphalt Shingles

Recently released study results show asphalt shingle recycling is on the rise nationally

Liz Fikejs along with other Rethink Reuse panelists

Source: NAPA (used with permission)

According to the latest survey of asphalt mix producers conducted by the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), nearly 2 million tons of recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) was used in new asphalt pavement mixtures during the 2015 construction season. Nationally, RAS tonnage used in asphalt paving has nearly tripled since 2009, the first year NAPA conducted its survey. Between 2014 and 2015, RAS used by public agencies increased moderately, while use in commercial mixes declined slightly. A total of 24 states now allow RAS in some or all mixes used on public roads.

The 6th Annual Asphalt Pavement Industry Survey on Recycled Materials and Warm-Mix Asphalt Usage can be found here.

Despite setbacks, asphalt shingles recycling continues to expand regionally

In 2016, low oil prices and a fire at an Everett recycling facility (involved in asphalt shingles recycling) left local asphalt producers without access to processed recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) for use in asphalt production. This severely impacted both demand and supply of RAS for hot mix asphalt paving. Despite this, at least 4,350 tons of asphalt shingles were recycled into hot mix asphalt used in paving projects throughout the region in 2016, including nearly 1,000 tons used on state roads paved for WSDOT (more than three times as much RAS used for WSDOT projects in 2015).

In another bright spot for the local asphalt recycling effort, a stockpile of tear-off shingles in Woodinville that had been raising concerns for the Snohomish Health District and WA Department of Ecology was removed for recycling by asphalt company Miles Resources. According to the company, approximately 11,000 tons of shingles were removed and will be used in hot mix asphalt production this year.

With more than 30,000 tons of tear-off shingles from Seattle/King County in 2016, King County LinkUp continues its efforts to promote regional market development for shingles in paving.


Cedar Grove targets diverse communities in King County to increase food waste recycling

Cedar Grove logo

Cedar Grove Composting, Inc. (Cedar Grove), supported by a King County Solid Waste Division commercial food waste grant, is conducting a project to increase food waste recycling by restaurants and two farmers markets in King County. A key feature of Cedar Grove’s project is its focus on diverse communities. The company is working with 17 restaurants, new to food waste composting, whose owners are people of color, foreign-born, and/or whose primary language is not English.

Waste audits helped establish baseline measures for volumes of food and compostable materials currently going to landfill that are generated by participating restaurants. Based on the audits, customized food waste recycling programs were created for each restaurant. Cedar Grove is providing them with education, staff training, and signage to maximize food waste diversion while achieving the highest cost savings from composting, which is less costly than disposing of food and compostable items as garbage.

diverse communities

Cedar Grove has worked through several key barriers, including language, cost of service and contamination, while establishing signups for food waste collection. Despite these barriers, Cedar Grove successfully recruited participants and worked with them to divert over 154 tons of food waste and compostable materials from landfill. The goal is to divert of a minimum of 70 percent of the waste stream from these restaurants.

The project will also work with the Burien and Renton farmers markets this season, providing signage to market vendors and training them on best practices for increasing food waste diversion while avoiding contamination.

King County to offer a second round of Commercial Food Waste Grants

In July 2017, King County will be offering a second round of grants as part of its effort to increase waste prevention and recycling of edible and non-edible food waste generated by non-residents (commonly referred to as commercial food waste). Food recovery will be an enhanced feature of this grant program.

In spring 2016, the King County Solid Waste Division awarded grants to two businesses and one city that are exploring innovative ways of reducing food waste generated by non-residential generators and diverting it from the landfill. The pilot projects underway through these grants could result in new approaches to reduce food waste from commercial sources throughout the county. Read about the grant projects here.

If you are interested in receiving notice of Request for Proposals for the Commercial Food Waste Grants, contact Karen May or 206-477-5281.

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