Food Scrap Waste Bins At SeaTac Airport – Too Hectic To Use? Too Soon?

Food scrap recycling bins at SeaTac Airport.We recently went on a trip that took us through SeaTac Airport just outside Seattle. The kids had a blast doing kid things on the trip but my highlight was the food scrap bins in the airport. Food waste from restaurants is a significant contributor to the waste stream and creating ways to separate and recycle it is important. Here are the waste disposal options at SeaTac:

  1. Recycle: plastic bottles, cans, mixed paper etc.
  2. Food scraps: fruits, vegetables, french fries etc
  3. Trash: landfill bound.

Rather than dumping all of our food and food related trash into the landfill bound bin, to become future-methane, we now have the ability to divert our food waste to be recycled and turned into compost.

Unfortunately, as I trash-stalked, not a single person used the food scrap bins correctly. Some did recycle their plastic bottles and aluminum cans but most carelessly dumped all over their trash into the nearest of the 3 bins. The food scrap and aluminum/plastic recycling bins were basically the 2nd and 3rd trash cans.

Hopefully we’ll see more separate bins for recycling / food / trash in public places and people get used to the idea of separating their trash. Due to the inherent chaos of the airport, it might not have been the best place to install food scrap bins but then again, maybe the idea will strike a nerve with a few travelers who’ll bring it to their local airport and restaurants.

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Dear Seattle, The Garbage Strike Is Good News And An Excellent Time To Start Jubbling.

Waste Management strike in SeattleJubbling is the only team I’m rooting for during the Waste Management garbage strike in Seattle. Those affected by the strike, please think about what you purchase and what you throw out and get to know your local transfer station (dump). It’s an easy work around and being forced to cut back on your garbage in these conditions will help you reduce what you throw out in the future. Maybe after the strike, Seattle’s residents will be ready for the same bi-weekly that Portland has

So citizens of Seattle, please look at the bright side because this is your chance to consume less and reduce what you throw out. It’s less about a garbage strike and more about some good Jubbling.

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Bi-Weekly Garbage Pickup May Be The Key To Reduce Waste And Drive Up Recycling Rates

Waste Management in Portland.Great article in the NY Times, “Cities Get So Close to Recycling Ideal, They Can Smell It,” about the success of waste handling programs in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. What stood out most was the City of Portland’s switch to bi-weekly garbage pickups and how it has increased recycling rates. Yes, more people are putting their garbage in the recycle bin because they produce trash beyond the twice-a-month pickup. But overall, 44% less waste is being deposited in the landfill thanks to the program.

Sanford and Son Salvage TruckThe bi-weekly trash pickup is a simple solution that’ll definitely motivate people to recycle more. We tried to get that type of garbage service where we live and it’s just not available. So now, about once a month, I load up my car with one 32 gallon trash can and head to the dump. It’s my stinky, flying-bug infested, Sanford & Son’ish monthly date with the dump that is propelled by cheap and guided by Jubbling. [NY Times]

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Seattle Is Joining The Cool Kids By Creating A Rooftop Garden On A Parking Garage

Garage rooftop gardenIf you have a glut of parking spaces in your city, why not turn them into gardens? The City of Seattle is following the lead of New York and Chicago by adding a rooftop garden to a parking garage. Seattle has approximately 23 acres of P-Patch gardens in open spaces throughout the city but the parking garage rooftop, community garden will be its first.

Rooftop gardens make sense on many levels and putting them on a seldom used parking garage is a double win. Not only do they bring fresh, low-mileage produce to the city but they also help keep urban areas cooler, mitigate runoff and look better than the alternative – empty parking spaces. Hopefully this is just the beginning. [Seattle Times]

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Retreat To Move Forward – Is That What It’ll Take To Save A City Like Detroit?

Grist.org’s article Only bulldozers and bison can save Detroit now is an interesting read. According to the article, Detroit has lost 25% of its population over the last 10 years and it’s not getting any better. So the article pushes the idea of dismantling Detroit in order to rebuild it. The part about adding bison might be more for effect but the idea of retreating the city limits in order to move forward seems like a good one. The city of Seattle faced a similar situation in the early 1970’s as Boeing’s workforce shrank by more than 50% in less than two years. The citizens fought to save what they felt was important, like Pike Place Market, and then as companies moved into the then more affordable downtown core, Seattle grew outward and more diverse. Seattle was no longer a one company town.

In addition to being a great episode of 30 Rock, retreat to move forward may be the Jubblingest way to save our deteriorating cities. Preserving the character and history of a city like Detroit and then removing the crumbling, vacant buildings will create more open spaces. It’s kind of like pruning.

Detroit’s Step One – no revitalization theme song from Kid Rock.

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Jubbling Squared: Bike Works Seattle

Once again my kids are calling me cheap for deciding to purchase my 6 year old a brand new, pre-owned bicycle and I happily made the trip to Recycled Cycles. With a name like “Recycled Cycles,” you’d assume that they would have their way with Jubbling but that is not how it worked out. After making our purchase, I found out from Recycled Cycles that the majority of their sales are for new bikes vs. recycled ones. They were helpful though and told me to contact Bike Works Seattle as an organization that is focused on reselling recycled bikes.

Bike Works is the pinnacle of Jubbling and my only regret is that I didn’t find them first. Bike Works goal is to make biking “more accessible and affordable to people from all walks of life”. Their programs include “Earn-A-Bike” and an annual Kids Bike Swap. With Earn-A-Bike, kids spend 8 weeks learning bike repair and then donate 18 hours of their time repairing recycled bikes to get one of their own. It’s kind of a self-perpetuating Jubbling and is extremely valuable for kids. And Bike Works annual Kids Bike Swap is just that – bring your working, outgrown bicycle and swap it for another bicycle. It’s a great way to upgrade and also to keep a bike out of a landfill.

Their mission statement says it all:

The mission of Bike Works is to build sustainable communities by educating youth and promoting bicycling. For more than a decade we’ve worked to educate and empower youth, and make bicycling accessible and affordable to the Seattle community.

Tina Bechler, Bike Works Program Director, told me that people find out about them through referrals from local bicycle stores, bicycle publications as well as a lot of word of mouth. Tina also told me about several similar organizations in other cities that can be found through the Youth Bicycle Education Network (yben.org). The site is currently down and should be live again soon.

So if you’re in need of some environmental penance and are considering the purchase of a carbon offset or credit to clear your conscience, throw your money toward an organization like Bike Works or a similar organization in your area instead. Or you could show your support by purchasing and making your kid’s next bike a pre-owned, barely loved bicycle. These organizations could use the help and you will have the satisfaction knowing that your money is going to be well spent.

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