March 2023
A wall of clean cardboard ready to be recycled at Lautenbach Recycling.
Hi <<First Name>>,

Big news for Bellingham residents! On Monday, February 27, Bellingham City Council unanimously passed a resolution to negotiate their contract with Sanitary Service Company (SSC). The proposed changes would include replacing curb-sorted recycling with a single-stream (or commingled) system and adding FoodPlus! curbside composting to all basic residential service. Benefits to this new system include improving recycling collection efficiency, aligning with the recently enacted state organics legislation, and addressing goals in Bellingham’s Climate Action Plan. Single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, and 4-plexes would all be affected.

In addition, by moving to single-stream, we will be joining 85% of the state in using this system. It will significantly reduce miles driven by recycling trucks, is expected to reduce L&I claims, and should reduce the amount of litter created by wind-blown recycling. The challenge will be maintaining our current low levels of contamination. Whatcom County residents are great recyclers and have a contamination rate to be proud of - less than 1%. This is compared to single-stream recycling contamination rates ranging from 10 - 25%.  

Including FoodPlus! in standard single-family service should lead to reduced methane emissions associated with landfilled organic waste. With 30% of Bellingham’s residential waste consisting of organics, this is an important step forward in local climate action and keeps this valuable compost resource in the local economy. For residents that can reduce the frequency of garbage pick-upsthere could also be savings as organic waste is cheaper to haul than garbage. 
Currently, there is no timeline for the proposed changes. Sustainable Connections’ Toward Zero Waste team is happy to help you navigate these changes and keep you informed.

What this could mean for single-family residents:
  • Your three stacking crates will be replaced by one blue lid ToterTM with service every other week.
  • Everyone gets a FoodPlus! toter with service every other week.
What this could mean for residents at complexes with 5 or more units:
  • No change to recycling.
  • FoodPlus! service is still opt-in. Contact us if you want help adding this service or reach out to SSC directly.
What this could mean for businesses:
  • No change to recycling.
  • FoodPlus! service is still opt-in (for now).Contact us if you want help adding this service or reach out to SSC directly.
  • Heads up that under new state law, beginning in 2024, businesses that produce more than 8 cubic yards of organic waste a week will be required to divert it to composting or other organic materials management. The threshold drops to 4 cubic yards in 2025.
Residents can call SSC at 360-734-3490 or email to discuss different service options at their home or business. Read more about the City's decision here and in this FAQs page.


Jenna, Brandi, and Elodie
The Toward Zero Waste Team

Toward Zero Waste News & Events 

Free decals for single-use plastics free businesses!

Contact to get your free decal! (Also available in white)

Save the date!

April 25, 2-3pm on Zoom

Login into our convenient online event to review the basics, learn how other businesses have become fully compliant, and get the updates on exemptions. More details to come! In the meantime, check out our single-use plastics webpage to access our product purchasing guide, look at FAQs, and to contact us for technical assistance. 
The Freedge has its very own Instagram! Through Instagram, you can find the latest Freedge info and updates. This free community refrigerator is located at 2316 Kulshan St, Bellingham, behind The RE Store and open from 11 am-6 pm Tuesday-Saturday. At the Freedge, you can find anything from sandwiches to hand warmers. Come see for yourself! Click the Instagram button below to give us a follow and be the first to know when the Freedge has been restocked!

Home Item Repair Workshops

March 14 & 21


Bring your broken household items to SkillShare at the Central Library and work with skilled volunteers from NW Free Repairs to learn how to repair them. Please note: Owners may participate in making the repairs with the repair volunteers. More information here.

Waste Reduction Resources

What to do with....Plastic Plant Trays and Pots?

Planting season is upon us! While you cannot recycle garden pots in your curbside bins you do have options. Consider saving them for starting seeds in the future. Donate them to a local plant club or post them for free on your local Buy Nothing Page. If you can't find any takers that way, there are some drop off options. Make sure to knock excess dirt out and neatly stack them before drop off. 

Lowes garden department at 1050 E Sunset Dr., Bellingham, WA 98226
Home Depot garden department at 420 Telegraph Rd., Bellingham, WA 98226 
Reclaim Northwest bulk, sorted drop offs only at 199 H Street Road, Lynden, WA 98264, Call ahead with any questions.

Find out more answers to the common question of "what to do with...?" using WasteWise, Whatcom County's Garbage and Recycling database.

Food Recovery Spotlight

Thank you for your service, Elodie! 

Our AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, Elodie Cerauskis, is nearing the end of her service term with our Food Recovery Program. She has brought so much energy and enthusiasm to our team. She has helped to grow and train our volunteer base over the last year, as well as bring on two new recipient agencies. As our "Van Captain" she has taken on the role of organizing and maintaining the Food Recovery van. She rounded out her service term by creating and teaching her own cooking class at 22 North focused on food waste reduction. Thank you for your service, Elodie! 

Looking for a way to help our community and mitigate climate impacts?  Volunteering for the Food Recovery Program is easy, fun, and you can pick and choose shifts that work for you!
Sign Up Here!
Business Spotlight
A+ Window Washing is a local family-owned business serving Whatcom County since 2013. They offer free estimates, flexible scheduling and competitive pricing.  While they already implement a number of waste reduction practices, including a "boneyard" of parts to have on hand for future repairs, they were looking for additional waste reduction opportunities.  They now divert their spent rags and plastic film through Ridwell and collect steel wool for curbside scrap metal recycling.

Get a free estimate: or phone/text at 360.927.9235

If you are interested in helping improve waste diversion at your place of business let us know! Whether you are a champion in the making or just starting out we can help.
Sign up for a waste assessment at your biz!
Thank you to our Toward Zero Waste Sponsors & Partners 
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Toward Zero Waste Campaign Partners

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