Everyday Tips

Stir fry Summer’s fresh abundance encourages stir-frying, a cooking technique featuring fresh local ingredients from farmers’ markets and home gardens. Stir-frying saves energy several ways: (1) Saves fuel with use of one stove-top pan for many ingredients—far more efficient than an oven; (2) Saves energy by not heating the house; (3) Reduces transportation costs for food.   Eat locally.   Cook wisely.
Cloth Napkins Cloth napkins are green, even if they are red, blue, or orange. Imagine saving all the paper napkins on grocery store shelves when you use cloth napkins. They can be used and reused, thrown in the wash, not in the landfill. And they are easy to make from small squares of fabric left over from another project—or from a small piece of material found at Granny’s.
Backyard Chickens Support Paris climate accords with backyard chickens. Besides eggs, chickens give manure to grow vigorous plants and improve soil. Chickens gulp down slugs, bugs, weed seeds and dandelion leaves. With chickens, we avoid commercial fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide, while growing healthy vegetables for the body and lovely flowers for the soul.
Vashon’s Not So
Well Hidden Trash
Often our most beautiful island sites are littered with refuse: oil cans, coke cans, even old TVs. Often unseen by drivers, it is seen by walkers and joggers. But all of us can be effective advocates to prevent dumping trash in spots like Shingle Mill Trail and Burma Road. Speak out for a healthy and beautiful island. Voices matter.
Plant edibles To grow more local food, plant edibles in the flower garden as well as in the kitchen garden. Strawberries make excellent ground cover. Tomatoes, kale, and carrots thrive among flowers or in pots. Edible flowers like pansies, calendula, and violets lend beauty to salads as well as backyards. Food grown at home saves transportation and storage costs. It is fresh, delicious, healthy, and priceless.
Wood chips Choose Wood Chips over Bark Chips. Wood chips shelter beneficial creatures in the soil, prevent erosion and compaction, moderate soil temperature, and improve fertility and texture. They stop weeds and moisture loss. Lastly, they create rich humus to nourish plants. But avoid bark chips, warns Lisa Taylor of Seattle Tilth, because, unlike wood, they harm soil conditions by blocking air and water.
Recycling Textiles If it’s too damaged for Granny’s, you can still recycle textile items, like clothing, bedding, shoes, stuffed animals, curtains, & area rugs. Place all fabric goods – DRY, free of mildew or contaminants – in the blue collection box at the transfer station designated for clothing.
Bokashi Got Bokashi? Easily made at home, Bokashi is a simple, ancient, odorless method of fermenting food wastes (incl. meats, fats & dairy!) to create rich compost materials. Complements or replaces traditional open air composting. Find out more at the Land Trust Matsuda Farm event on 7/23.
Plastic Plant Pots It’s planting time! Plastic nursery pots can be recycled at the transfer station. If too large to fit through the collection bin slots, cut them up. However, other island gardeners are usually happy to take them. A post on Vashon Freecycle or other site and they’ll be snatched right up.
Hazardous Waste Pollution If hazardous waste is disposed improperly, it poisons the air, soil, water, birds, fish, mammals & people. Don’t throw cleaning products, paint, pesticides or batteries in the trash! Use Waste Mobile Events for these & other hazardous materials. Vashon Event is 4/15 – 17. Info at King County website.
Boxed Wine Packaging wine in a box uses less energy, less water & cuts CO2 emissions from transportation in half. The cardboard is recyclable; the inner pouch (with spout removed) can be recycled with other plastic bags & film at IGA – not at the transfer station. It’s a better value & lasts for 4-6 wks. Cheers!
Plastic Waste in Ocean By 2050, plastic will exceed all the fish in the sea & consume 20% of our oil. The largest garbage dump in the world is a deadly toxic stew of plastic swirling in the ocean. It’s eaten by little fish and then eventually by us. Plastic packaging is overwhelming our sources of life. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Plastic Bags at IGA Bundle clean, dry plastic bags/film into one sack & put in drop box at Vashon Market Fresh IGA or Fred Meyers. Accepted: Bags from groceries, bread, produce, zip-locs, soft plastic wrap packaging, bubble & shrink wrap. No hard plastic. DO NOT put these items in the recycling compactors.
Packaging Waste How about a New Year’s Resolution to reduce packaging waste? Shop bulk bins of grocery & hardware stores. BYOB for liquids. Avoid pre-packaged produce – buy loose & bring your own plastic bags. Avoid products sold as individual servings. Buy Bulk, Buy Big, Buy Concentrated. Buy mindfully.
Recycle Christmas Trees Recycling Christmas trees is an easy contribution to the yard waste pilot program. Why not offer a holiday gift to your neighborhood by organizing a collection? One pick up load of 6-8 trees would probably only cost $22. All must be under 8’ in length and the wood of branches & trunks under 4” in diameter.
Green Your Holidays While 3 out of 4 Americans wish the holidays were less materialistic, we still generate 25% more trash in December. Green your holidays! Ideas abound online for earth friendly re-use of household objects as presents, decorations and gift wrapping. Google King County EcoConsumer.
Lightbulb Recycling FREE recycling of fluorescent tubes, CFLs & HID bulbs at transfer station. Drive to collection spot around back, next to garbage unloading area. Limit: 10 bulbs per day per person. Bag broken bulbs. No incandescents, halogens, holiday lights or LEDs. Island Lumber also takes fluorescent bulbs & tubes.
Food Waste Program New transfer station pilot program accepts ALL food waste, even meat, dairy, fat & table scraps not suitable for home composting. Use bags identified as compostable – NOT biodegradable plastic. Consider freezing scraps or joining up with neighbors for a load. $12 minimum charge for disposal.
Yard Waste Pilot Program The pilot program is underway at the Transfer Station. Dispose of yard waste at reduced rates: $12 minimum per load up to 320 lbs., or $75 per ton. Yard waste includes leaves, grass clippings, weeds, brush & branches less than 8’ in length & 4” in diameter. No soil, sod, rocks or plastic bags
Batteries Batteries contain harmful heavy metals that will slowly leach into our landfill’s soil, groundwater & surface water. Don’t throw them in the trash! ACE Service Center behind Thriftway (former True Value) accepts all used batteries (buttons, AAAs & on up to car batteries) for recycling.
Metal Items made of 70% or more metal can now be recycled at Vashon transfer station – auto parts, siding, fencing, BBQ grills, window frames, wheel rims, pipes, lawn furniture, bicycles & lawn mowers. No fluids, batteries, or hazardous waste containers. Metal recycling has a separate bin.
Composting paper Newspaper and office paper are printed with soy based, nontoxic ink so use it for mulching or composting. You MUST SHRED it first so it doesn’t mat down. Don’t compost glossy or colored paper – colored ink is OK. Paper is “brown” carbon material, so mix it with equal “greens”.
Nursery Plant Pots It’s planting time! Plastic nursery pots can be recycled at the transfer station. If too large to fit through the collection bin slots, cut them up. However, other island gardeners are usually happy to take them. A post on Vashon Freecycle or other site and they’ll be snatched right up.
Online Island Exchange Sites Online sites exist to help us reduce, reuse, and recycle amongst our neighbors. Through Yahoo Groups: Vashon Free Cycle, Vashon Maury Info, Vashon Maury Marketplace. Through Facebook: Vashon For All, Vashon Salon & Trading Post, Vashon Community, Buy Nothing Vashon
Fluorescent Lights Protect our environment and health by reducing the release of mercury, a potent neurotoxin, into the ground and air. Recycle CFLs, fluorescent tubes and HID bulbs at Island Lumber (boxes just inside main doors) or at the Transfer Station (ask staff inside building for assistance).
Aluminum Foil Now you can throw clean aluminum foil & trays in with other recyclables. Or better yet, wash & reuse it. Making aluminum is highly energy intensive; re-melting for reuse takes only 5% of the energy needed for initial production. It will take 400 years to break down in landfills.
Styrofoam peanuts Unless your foam packing peanuts are the new green type made of a starch that dissolves in water, they’ll take 100+ years to breakdown in landfills. Best to save & reuse them. Or deliver bags of clean & dry peanuts to UPS stores. Tacoma-2661 N Pearl; West Seattle-4742 42 Ave
Christmas Lights Don’t throw out old or nonworking holiday lights – recycle them! Ace Hardware will take non-working strands. Also they can be dropped off at the Point Defiance Zoo entrance. Most wrapping paper can be recycled, too. Recycling saves energy & prevents pollution caused by the extraction & processing of virgin materials.
King County Take It Back King County offers easy options for recycling products that shouldn’t go in the trash at: KingCounty.gov/TakeitBack. 75% of what we send to the landfill could be recycled, helping to reduce the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
Comingle Recycling You can comingle most recyling items now. Throw everything together except cardboard and scrap metal. Currently, only 10% of Vashon trash is being recycled. We can do better!