Council gets the lowdown on waste

  • Written by David B. Clark
The Woodinville City Council met on Tuesday, February 6th.  Among the many items that required the council’s consideration and attention was a presentation on King County’s Solid Waste Comprehensive Plan presented by King County Solid Waste Division Director, Pat McLaughlin.
McLaughlin began by explaining how this plan was in definite need of an update; the last coming in 2001. He shared the following statistics with the council: King County contains 37 cities and all but two of these (Seattle and Milton) utilize the following: six urban transfer stations, four rural transfer facilities, nine closed landfills, and one open landfill to handle our solid waste. Solid waste is largely materials that cannot be recycled. McLaughlin explained the major planning elements to help move King County forward with its green initiatives while adhering to the major developments that are occurring in cities like Woodinville, Redmond, and Bothell.
McLaughlin went on to show that future developments need to be cognizant of social justice and equity factors making it so the majority of the citizens in King County would have access to the same methods and abilities to effectively dispose of their garbage and unusable materials. “70% of what goes to the landfill doesn’t belong there,” explained McLaughlin. “The landfill has a finite capacity.”
McLaughlin shared that right now the county is sitting at about 52% of waste that is properly allocated; recycle, compost, or otherwise, which is better than the rest of the country, though that number has stalled. “Waste can be contaminated. Sorting [at these facilities] doesn’t always work,” McLaughlin said. He went on to clarify that these initiatives are going to be much more achievable by encouraging manufacturers to use sustainable materials: for packaging and for the goods themselves. McLaughlin received quiet laughs and chuckled himself at his word-play that resonated well when he explained the initial price of continuing towards more sustainable goals. “It’ll cost you if you do, you’ll pay if you don’t.”
McLaughlin’s primary focuses were those of education and outreach. These include curbside programs and how to successfully use them.
His advice over the next few months is to, “…spend some time hearing from you [council] and other Northeast  cities  to learn what would be best.” The three major options that are being contemplated are building a new facility, developing the existing facility at Cedar Hills, or exporting the waste by rail to an out-of-county landfill. McLaughlin went on to show that the current facility at Cedar Hills that has been operating since 1965 is projected to be at capacity by 2028.
The public comment period is until March 8. The public is welcome to comment by completing an online survey, sending an email, writing a letter, or attending an open house.
Council also reached a decision at this meeting regarding  the  mural  design  for the main entrance at the train trestle underpass along 131st Ave NE. Both sides of artist Will Schlough’s massive mural were presented to council, including a piece that depicts Woodinville’s agricultural and outdoor elements. Assistant to the City Manager, Kelly Mazzoli, explained that Schlough “opened up the barn doors, so to speak” after receiving direction from council last month. The art itself captures the interior of a barn leading out into the land with Mount Rainier etched into a blue sky. Additionally, the color scheme was refined to become brighter.
After some minor concerns among council, the motion was amended with implementations for the artist and the team to consider. Slight modifications of the art are expected to be presented next week. An unveiling is still looking likely for the previously scheduled date of March 31.

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