Recycling: It’s our way of looking out for our great-great-grandkids

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Recycling benefits your community and the environment. As a sovereign tribal nation, the Tulalip Tribes’ core values includes conserving natural resources and sustaining our surrounding environment for future generations. That is why two years ago the Tulalip Tribes set out to implement a tribal wide recycling initiative.

The Solid Waste department was renamed the Solid Waste and Recycling department and was put in charge of the step-by-step process to bring a recycle, reduce, and reuse mantra to the reservation.

The first step took place on the tribal government level. The Tulalip and Quil Ceda Village (QCV) administration buildings received new recycling bins that separated cans, paper, and plastic into their own compartments. These bins were placed in specific common areas of each floor within the Tulalip Administration Building. In some cases, like the commonly populated first floor reception area and second floor lunch area, more specific type of recycling collection bins were used. These bins designated trash/organic, cans, plastic, and white paper only into their compartment.

What started out as voluntary program with the larger, more specific recycling bins on each floor had to evolve as it was observed employees were continuing to put their recyclables in their desk-side garbage bin. The bottom line was that it was more convenient to put recyclables in the desk-side garbage, rather than getting up and walking to the end of isle recycling bins.

“When we started our recycling program about two years ago it was a very small program. Mostly only our tribal government buildings were participating,” says Sam Davis, Solid Waste and Recycling Manager. “There wasn’t a lot of participation. People weren’t getting up and going to the end of the isles to dispose of their recycling, so last year I decided to make it easier and more convenient for everyone. We got these little desk-side recycling bins. We put the recycling bins at each and every desk. In all, we put over 700 desk-side recycling bins in tribal government buildings and Quil Ceda Village.”

Staff at Solid Waste and Recycling noticed a huge increase of recycling output once the smaller bins were put desk-side. It showed that Tulalip employees were consciously aware of what they could and couldn’t recycle, but the recycling program has to be convenient as well.

In 2014, with the larger end-of-isle bins and smaller desk-side bins in place, the Tribal Government collected and recycled 40.76 tons (81,520 pounds) of recyclable materials. Before the implementation of the tribal wide recycling initiative all of that 40.76 tons of recyclable materials would have gone the way of garbage and sent to landfills.

“It’s great to see the Tribal Government recycled 40.76 tons of paper, cardboard, plastic and aluminum,” says Davis. “In the next two years I’d like to double that amount. If you were to walk around and look in employee’s’ garbage you’ll still find recyclables in there. In 2014, the Tribal Government had an output of 726,820 pounds of garbage. I’d say that a 100,000 pounds of that is probably recyclable.”

The second step of the tribal wide recycling initiative took place on the residential level. The Solid Waste and Recycling department made life easier for community members by providing curbside recycling pickup services. They proveded a single-stream recycling bin that allows for community members to put all their recyclables into one bin without sorting. You have an easy way to reduce your impact on the environment and these materials are diverted from going into a landfill. The recycling collection crews come around on one of two days depending on your area and empty all curbside recycling bins. For Silver Village and Battle Creek residents, the pickup day is Thursday afternoon. For Y-site and Mission Highlands residents, the pickup day is Friday afternoon.

“Now, we have moved on to our tribal housing homes. We have put recycling bins at every single one of our housing homes except for the homes on the Quil, which is our next step,” continues Davis. “It’s been a step-by-step process because of the cost of each bin. It’s a onetime cost of $95 for each residential recycling bin, so it’ll take a while to recoup that cost, but in my eyes it’s worth it to not see all that recyclable material go to a landfill.

“It’s starting to get to where we want it to. Last month (February 2015) housing recycling did 4.41 tons, which is over 8,000 pounds. My goal is to get to 10,000 pounds a month for housing recycling.”

The residential housing recycling program started very slowly as recycling was a new concept for many in the Tulalip community, but, as the program continues to build momentum, more and more materials once considered garbage are now being recycled. In fact, Tulalip housing members are recycling nearly three times as much as they were only months ago. In October and November of 2014 there was an average of 1.81 tons of recycling collected, whereas in February 2015 there was 4.41 tons of recycling collected.

“I think it’s just people getting used to the program and us being consistent with our pickup. Knowing that we are actually doing something with it,” Davis says of the surge in residential recycling. “Follow through: I think that’s a big thing is knowing that if they put in that little bit of extra time to sort thru and fill their recyclable bin that we are going to be there to pick it up. We want to continue to educate our tribal members so that everything that can be recycled is being recycled.

“Recycling is not just a cost savings for us, it’s our way of looking out for our great-great-grandkids. The future generations.”





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Fatal Attraction: Ospreys In A Bind With Baling Twine, Fishing Line


This is how ospreys' unhealthy affinity for baling twine can kill. Idaho Fish and Game biologist Beth Waterbury rescued this osprey in the nick of time.Beth Waterbury Idaho Fish and Game
This is how ospreys’ unhealthy affinity for baling twine can kill. Idaho Fish and Game biologist Beth Waterbury rescued this osprey in the nick of time.
Beth Waterbury Idaho Fish and Game


By Tom Banse, NW News Network


Osprey nests are a common sight near rivers, lakes and bays in the Northwest. If you look closely with binoculars, you might notice some of these large raptors like to line their nests with discarded baling twine or fishing line. The problem is it can kill them.

Now wildlife biologists are working with ranchers and at boat ramps to keep the attractive nuisance out of the ospreys’ clutches.

University of Montana professor Erick Greene has surveyed osprey nests in his home state and parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming. In all those places, he discovered nests festooned with brightly colored plastic twine.

“Basically, wherever you’ve got agriculture, hay fields, livestock — which is a lot of the West — you have baling twine, which is used to tie up hay bales, and you have ospreys,” Greene explained.

Greene said for unknown reasons, the fish hawks are particularly fond of soft, frayed twine. They use it in place of lichens or grasses in their nests.

“Ospreys have a jones for this baling twine,” he said. “I wish they didn’t.”

It’s sometimes a fatal attraction.

Preventing Death By Twine

“It looks as if anywhere between 10 to 30 percent of osprey chicks and adults in some areas that are particularly hard hit are killed by this baling twine,” Greene said.

The entangled raptors can suffer gruesome deaths by strangulation or starve because they can’t fly off to fish. That is, unless someone comes to the rescue — or better yet gives a nest what Greene calls a preventive “haircut.”

Last month, Greene enlisted a bucket truck and a crew of linemen from the Missoula Electric Cooperative to clean up a nest with chicks that sat on top of a power pole in the middle of a ranch by the Clark Fork River.

“This is a nest I’ve been worried about for years,” he said. “It has killed a lot of ospreys over the years. This is going to be a good one to clean up.”



Lineman George Porter and I went up to the nest with scissors. Strands of orange string draped from the wide bowl of sticks like Christmas tinsel.

It appeared as if the ospreys tied knots in the nest.

“That’s basically what it looks like, all tangled,” Porter said. “Yeah, they definitely use it to hold everything together.”

We found multiple kinds of twine in the nest, including a piece of black nylon rope. In the background, you could hear the osprey parents squawking. But they circled at a distance and did not interfere with the quick cleanup of their nest.

Out Of Sight, Out Of Nest

The preferable solution of course would be to keep twine and fishing line out of nests in the first place. In Idaho, the state Department of Fish and Game along with local partners are placing periscope-shaped recycling bins for fishing line at boat ramps.

Idaho Fish and Game wildlife biologist Beth Waterbury also worked on setting up a baling twine pick up and recycling program in her area, the upper Salmon River valley.

“It’s a logical solution and I think it is going to make a difference for the incidence of entanglement,” she said.

In western Montana, student researcher Amanda Schrantz did public outreach to farm groups and individual ranchers. She said many of her contacts didn’t have any idea about the lethal effects of discarded twine or the pressing need to collect and store it out of sight.

“Ospreys will go great distances to pick up this baling twine,” Schrantz explained. “Even though we don’t know why, they are. You kind of have to have 100 percent cooperation with this.”

Schrantz said if just one ranch or dairy leaves twine in its fields, the ospreys will find it. In Oregon’s Willamette Valley, a private plastics recycler accepts used baling twine and hay wrap.

“We recycle about a quarter million pounds per month of baling twine,” co-owner of Agri-Plas, Allen Jongsma said. He added used twine can be melted down to make new baler twine or automotive parts.

A different company, fishing tackle maker Berkley, recycles recovered monofilament fishing line into artificial reef pieces.