Company that collects hard-to-recycle items now serving area
SNOHOMISH — If you hang onto batteries, lightbulbs and grocery bags intending to get them recycled, you may be interested in a collection service that expanded this month to the Snohomish area.
The company Ridwell picks up and properly recycles thin plastic, clothes and shoes, batteries, bulbs and more.
It has been operating in Everett for a few months now.
Ridwell will also take most types of styrofoam, including clamshell food takeout containers from restaurants, for an extra fee. It plans to soon expand into taking old paint, Ridwell spokeswoman Caroline Stanford said.
You are given a metal box and five fabric sacks to separate what you are recycling. The company will take what’s in the box every two weeks. They rotate the fifth category, such as old eyeglasses, small appliances and used bras. They give the bras to a women’s shelter.
The pay-service is in part for convenience and in part for efficiently transporting oddball recyclables so people reduce taking trips, Stanford said. Think of it like
“carpooling the goods,” Stanford said.
You could shuffle clothing to donation bins, bring
batteries to battery stores, drop bulbs off at the hardware store, take grocery bags to a store collection bin — or throw this waste in the trash if you really wanted.
None of these items belong in your home recycle bin, though, as curbside services do not recycle them. Grocery bags, for example, clog recycling machinery.
Plastic film is “a category you don’t realize how much you have until you start to collect it,” Stanford said. This includes the bags inside cereal boxes, bread bags, newspaper sleeves, dry cleaning bags, plastic wrap, wood pellet bags and resealable sandwich bags as examples.
Ridwell says it is now in Snohomish because it received enough requests to start serving the 98290 and 98296 area codes. It’s a Seattle-based operation that began a few years ago.
Plans are for three, six and 12 months for Ridwell’s service.
It is $18 a month to buy three months of service, $16 a month for six months and $14 a month for a year. These prices are based on the general relative distance to its headquarters, Stanford said.
The company has no problem with neighbors sharing the service or someone setting up a public collection bin. Stanford said that’s because people joining together reduces vehicle trips that create pollution.
Ridwell sorts everything at its warehouse south of downtown Seattle.
The clothing is quality-checked to be re-donated to Goodwill or passed on to textile recyclers that reuse fabric to create carpet pads, home insulation and other purposes.
Dead lightbulbs — both CFL bulbs containing mercury and LED bulbs — are sent to EcoLights, a specialty recycler in Seattle.
Old batteries get trucked to a national processor that separates the metal and chemicals for reuse.
The plastic film goes to the Oregon company Trex, which builds plastic benches and decking. (The group Green Snohomish is collecting these plastics as well to put benches in town.)
The Styrofoam goes to Styro Recycle of Kent.
The young, growing company is not yet offsetting its carbon footprint, Stanford said.
More than 275 Everett residents and more than 145 Snohomish-area residents have signed up, the company says.
There are more than 19,000 people in western Washington using the service, plus about 4,000 more in Portland.
DIY: How can you recycle these items for free?
• Bags: Food banks, such as the Snohomish Community Food Bank, reuse plastic grocery bags. Grocery stores also take plastic bags.
• Batteries: Pacific Power Batteries on Main Street in Monroe takes batteries.
Also, the county’s transfer stations have collected batteries for 20-plus years. Snohomish County Solid Waste recycled 165,164 pounds of batteries in 2020 alone. It recently got an award for this service. (It also takes latex paint for a fee.)
• Bulbs: The Lowe’s in Monroe has a deposit bin for CFL bulbs.
Additionally, the chain store Batteries Plus Bulbs, located in Lynnwood and Smokey Point, take both.
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