Just in time for Recycling Awareness Week, which begins today, Hood River Garbage Service has expanded its services and offers increased recycling opportunities.
Garbage pick-up rates for all customers have increased slightly, but service is more flexible and customers can recycle more. In addition, recycling pick-up is now offered throughout the county as part of regular garbage service.
"We're giving people more options," said Chery Sullivan, recycling coordinator for Waste Connections, owner of Hood River Garbage Service. Rural residents will have their recyclables picked up every other week, and Hood River Garbage is in the process of creating recycling depots in Odell and Mt. Hood for rural residents who want to take advantage of recycling services more frequently.
Highlights of the expanded service include distribution of more recycling bins to help customers separate recyclables (and allow for a greater volume) and the option of using a 20-gallon mini-can for trash, which will be picked up at a cheaper rate than the regular 32-gallon can.
"The new rate is incentive-based," said David Skakel, coordinator of the Hood River County Recycling Program. "What it comes down to is, the less you throw away, the less you pay." Flexible pick-up schedules combined with increased recycling options will make it possible for customers' rates to actually decrease.
"It involves commitment," said Sullivan. "But for the dedicated recycler, it could actually mean paying less."
The increase in options and flexibility are a direct result of a survey conducted by Hood River Garbage and the Hood River County Recycling Program last December.
"Eighty-seven percent of respondents indicated a desire for some change in recycling service," Sullivan said. "People wanted to be able to recycle more items."
Hood River Garbage purchased a new recycling truck for the rural pick-up routes. "We hope that there will be all kinds of people out there recycling who maybe weren't before," Sullivan said.
Skakel hopes the changes will help the county reach what has been an elusive goal: a 25 percent recovery rate for recyclables. While the statewide recyclable recovery rate rose to nearly 39 percent last year, the rate for Hood River County dropped from 19 to 18 percent for the same period.
Skakel believes Hood River County can "easily attain" the 25 percent recovery goal if everyone takes advantage of the convenient recycling available from Hood River Garbage. He adds that, for people who don't use Hood River Garbage Service, the recycling depot at the Transfer Station at 3440 Guignard Dr. is available for anyone to drop off recyclables free of charge.
All the items you can recycle
Items can be recycled through regular pick-up by Hood River Garbage Service or by taking them to the Transfer Station at 3440 Guignard Drive. Recyclables can be divided into four categories:
* aluminum and tin cans -- rinse, remove labels
* all glass bottles and jars -- rinse, discard lids
* plastic bottles and jugs -- rinse, discard lids
* milk cartons, drink boxes -- rinse, discard straws
* junk mail
* paper bags
* paper-backs/phone books
* cereal boxes
* gift boxes
* other clean paper
* newspapers and glossy ad inserts -- loose and flattened
* clean cardboard -- flatten boxes and fold or cut to 2-foot-square pieces