Recycling service expands

'The less you throw away, the less you pay'

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

Mixed paper:

* junk mail

* magazines

* paper bags

* paper-backs/phone books

* cereal boxes

* gift boxes

* other clean paper


* newspapers and glossy ad inserts -- loose and flattened

Corrugated cardboard:

* clean cardboard -- flatten boxes and fold or cut to 2-foot-square pieces

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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