Living Green: Ways to recycle in Yakima - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Living Green: Ways to recycle in Yakima

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Yakima, WA -  As of April 2016, the City of Yakima does not have it's own mandated curbside recycling program.  The only curbside recycling service in the city is provided by private company, Yakima Waste Systems.  The good news is, there are other ways to recycle in Yakima, besides having the convenience of curbside bins.

"We encourage people to get a yard waste container, other ways to recycle commodities is to sign up for recycling with private company or you can source separate your material at home and take it to one of the source sites located throughout the city," said Loretta Zammarchi, Refuse Manager with City of Yakima.

The City of Yakima collects garbage and green waste every week.  Yakima Waste Systems, collects recyclables, from their customers every two weeks.

"We provide residential and commercial commingled recycling; we pick up plastics, paper, aluminum, tin, and cardboard," said Keith Kovalienko, District Manager at Yakima Waste Systems.

Kovalienko says that Yakima Waste Systems sends out about 16 tons of recyclables to recycling facilities for further processing, every day, all collected from commercial and residential locations throughout Yakima, and Yakima County.  To receive curbside bins from Yakima Waste Systems, it costs $9.56/a month, and that's because of the current global market value for recyclables.

"Recycling is global, garbage is local. with the international economy not doing so well, being able to broker those commodities [recyclables], is very difficult.  If we [the City of Yakima] get into recycling, its not free, in bad times, you wont get paid for it, you will have to pay for it," said Zammarchi.

That is part of the problem that the city is facing, is the city willing to pay to have the convenience of curbside recycle bins?

"Last year we conducted a Recycling Pilot Curbside program, it was very successful.   We brought the results to Council and at the time they tabled moving forward on it.  Recycling is a very fluid issue for us to be looking at, we are waiting for direction from council on how to move forward on that," said Zammarchi.

Though the city doesn't have its own curbside program, recycling remains a globally important issue that helps the environment, and reduces space taken up at local waste dumps.

"Yakima residents generate about 35,000 tons of garbage a year, and its taken to terrace heights landfill, at its current rate it has about nine more years of life expectancy, because we are the Refuse Division, we look at where will we take it when it fills up,  it will go to the Cheyne Landfill and the round trip is 80 miles, which can cause rate hikes, so we should we be diverting material rather than burying recyclables with garbage," said Zammarchi.

That is why doing your part and recycling your used materials is so important to the local community and the world.  

To find locations where Residents of Yakima can drop off their separated recyclables, click HERE.