Garbage trains on parade
Imagine a parade of elephants, 250 of them lined up from head to tail, parading daily through the streets of Edmonds.
“That’s the weight of the garbage that leaves our county by rail car everyday,” said Steve Fisher, the City’s recycling coordinator, as he had the City Council envision the amount of waste transported by train through Edmonds.
The “garbage train” makes daily passes through Edmonds, hauling more than 1,500 tons of waste from Everett to the landfill in Klickitat County.
The train is about 25 railcars long, containing 48-foot-long containers; piggy backed two-by-two, and carrying 30 tons of garbage each.
In an effort to reduce the amount of waste produced in the city, Fisher helps gather data on trash generated and recyclables collected.
In 2013, 15,300 tons of garbage were collected from Edmonds. This number includes single- and multi-family residences and commercial businesses, including Swedish Hospital and schools.
“It’s about 10 separate trains of Edmonds-specific garbage rolling across our tracks every year,” Fisher said.
In the same year, Edmonds recycled about 5,473 tons of waste, and composted 5,933 tons of food waste.
“The dynamic has shifted somewhat on how people are looking at waste generation and diversion in their households,” Fisher said.
More and more people are beginning to divert their food waste, Fisher said, and are taking advantage of composting bins.
In addition to individual efforts, organizations and businesses are taking advantage of waste diversion programs as well.
Last year, the Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary started collecting food waste at its annual Waterfront Festival, and will continue to do so this year.
Fisher said the City is making an effort to get other festivals to “be a little greener,” with hopes that the Edmonds Art Festival and the Taste of Edmonds will incorporate composting.
Edmonds business owners also can join in the greening efforts by filling out the Green Business Pledge on the City’s website. Those businesses will be given recognition from the City, and will receive an emblem indicating their participation.
City parks will be receiving 25 new recycling containers thanks to recent grant funding.
“The grant is specifically for expanding the presence of recycling in our parks, and replacing some old recycling containers,” Fisher said.
In 2012, the City received a grant from the Hazel Miller Foundation to place a dozen recycling containers in downtown to help with “recycling on-the-go.”
While recycling on-the-go does help, Fisher would like people to “remember the elephants” as the garbage trains go by, and take steps to further reduce the amount of waste generated in Edmonds.
For more information on recycling and composting, visit www.ci.edmonds.wa.us.