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Island County > Public Works > Solid Waste > Waste Reduction

Waste Reduction


The most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place.  Reducing the amount and toxicity of products that you purchase will reduce your individual environmental impact as a consumer. Island County's municipal solid waste (a.k.a. garbage) is transported by road and by rail to the Roosevelt Regional Landfill in Klickitat County.  In 2015 Island County sent 194,920 cubic yards of garbage weighing 88,350,000 pounds to the landfill in 1,772 semi-trailers.  That's an average of three pounds of garbage per person per day.  Reducing waste lessens the environmental impact of transporting and burying garbage in the ground.


The EPA estimates that 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable but only 30% is getting recycled.  Making new products requires raw material extraction from the earth and the consumption of energy to fabricate new products.  Recycling uses materials already extracted and requires less energy to remanufacture.  The benefits to recycling include:

  • Prevents pollution caused by harvesting or extracting raw materials
  • Saves energy
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • Helps sustain the environment for future generations
  • Saves money
  • Reduces waste sent to landfill
  • Allows products to be used to their fullest extent.

Ways to Reduce Waste

  • Compost yard and food wastes.  See our Yard & Garden Waste page for more information.
  • Shop Smart – Buy in bulk when possible to reduce packaging waste.
  • Buy products with less packaging.
  • Buy products that are packaged in locally recyclable packaging.  Aseptic and gable top cartons are not accepted for recycling on Whidbey Island so look for products in glass bottles, plastic jugs, tin, or aluminum cans which are accepted for recycling on Whidbey Island.
  • Buy durable, not disposable.  Disposable products are convenient but wasteful.  Throwing away single use paper plates, plastic utensils, plastic cups, disposable diapers, etc. adds up over time.
  • Repurpose items when possible.
  • Donate usable items to thrift stores or charity.
  • Repair it don't replace.  You'll save money and reduce waste.
  • Go paperless.  Look for ways to reduce paper using today's digital technology.

Reduce Junk Mail

There is no single step that can eliminate unwanted direct marketing mail because there is not a national "Opt Out" registry.  Visit DoNotMail.org to learn more about junk mail.

Here are a few tips that will help:

If you must give your name and address to a business or organization, request to be kept off of their mailing lists.

Contact the following businesses to request your name be taken off their lists:

Equifax/Trans Union/Innovus/Experian call 1-888-567-8688 or visit the Opt Out website for more information.

Publisher 's Clearinghouse, call 1-800-645-9242 

Reader 's Digest, call 1-800-334-9599 or write to: Reader 's Digest Sweepstakes Dept., Reader's Digest Rd., Pleasantville, NY 10570

PennySaver/Potpourri, call 1-800-479-4795

Send a letter requesting "Please remove my name and address from your mailing list", with your name, address, city, state, and zip code to the addresses below:

Valassis, P.O. Box 249, Windsor, CT 06095 

Direct Marketing Association, Mail Preference Service, P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008            

Val-Pak Coupons, Label Order Department, P.O. Box 13428, St. Petersburg, FL 33733

Become Waste Wise

For more information and tips on waste reduction, visit the Washington State University, Island County Extension Waste Wise website.  

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