"What's in your garbage?" Environmental experts say recyclables. - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

"What's in your garbage?" Environmental experts say recyclable materials.

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From your garbage can to the landfill, it's the inevitable for a lot of the trash we throw away. But did you know that a lot of the trash you toss out can actually be recycled? From your garbage can to the landfill, it's the inevitable for a lot of the trash we throw away. But did you know that a lot of the trash you toss out can actually be recycled?

RICHLAND, WA - From your garbage can to the landfill, it's the inevitable for a lot of the trash we throw away. But did you know that a lot of the trash you toss out can actually be recycled?

"If you look at your whole waste stream, there's a high percentage that's recyclable…there's another percentage that is compostable. There's another percentage that is reusable and what's left over is a small percentage of trash," said Gail Everett, the environmental education coordinator for the City of Richland.

Everett says one of the most common reasons why people don't recycle is because it's not convenient. 

"We're so worried about what is convenient for us and what takes less time and the less that has to go with it," she added.

Within the last year, the Tri-Cities and the City of Yakima, combined, generated about 250,000 tons of garbage. That's about 1 ton per person for the year; around 20 percent of that waste was actually recycled.

The Richland Landfill alone brings in about 100 tons of waste every day and they handle Richland's trash only. And once the trash reaches the landfill, it gets buried even if it could have been recycled.

"The cost to separate that at this point is too high…so that's why we like those blue cans at the curb or folks to transfer at the transfer stations, cause one it's here really the only thing we can do with it is take that compactor and pack it as tight as you can and put it the landfill," said Kip Eagles, the solid waste manager at the landfill.

Everett says that means we need to find creative ways to get rid of our waste. 

"A big solution to the problem is to practice waste reduction efforts in your everyday lives," she added.

Richland and Kennewick both offer curbside recycling. Plus, you can find recycling centers and drop-box locations throughout the Tri-Cities and Yakima areas.

"Recycling should be a part of our human nature to want to give back…not keep taking away from the environment, but make it sustainable for the future and recycling is something that everybody can do," said Everett.

If you want to know more about recycling in your city click on the following links:

- For recycling information in Benton County, click here

- For recycling information in Franklin County, click here

- For recycling information in Yakima County, click here

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