In Our View: Forget Ghosts, Just Bust Waste

One way to accomplish our goals is to simply reduce consumption


In addition to emphasizing waste reduction and recycling programs, Clark County also provides this website to help local residents list or look for reusable large household items and building materials.

This includes household items such as appliances, furniture, gardening items, electronic equipment, automotive parts, recreational equipment.

Also, construction materials such as wood, brick, roofing materials, plus demolition-deconstruction materials such as doors, windows, kitchen cabinets, siding, big beams and fixtures.

If you live or work in Clark County, you can post your listings by registering at the site. Or, if you find an item that you want through exchange or purchase, enter your contact information. All exchanges will be carried out directly between interested parties. Learn more by clicking here.

Congratulations to the five Clark County families participating in this year's Wastebusters program, a friendly competition to see who can most reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills and recyclables sent to recycling centers.

Last year's debut of the contest saw competing families reduce monthly household waste by impressive rates ranging from 24 percent to 72 percent.

Meanwhile, the rest of us can do our part by intensifying our attention to the massive amounts of byproducts that result from our consumption of materials and foods. Many families typically search for better package materials. They reduce waste by composting, or they devise ways to pass on items for reuse by other people. Those efforts are all commendable, and one good way to consign items for local reuse is listed at left.

But there's another easy way to meet these goals that often gets ignored: Reduce consumption in the first place. That way you don't even have to worry about as much of the leftover packaging.

Some of the families in this year's Wastebusters program are already learning this lesson, as Eric Florip reported in Wednesday's Columbian story about the contest on Page D1. One of the teams, the Loudenback family, lives in the Brush Prairie area and is using rural life as a starting point for reducing the number of shopping trips. "You can't just run to the store every time you want something," said Amy Loudenback. So, the family's conscious effort has meant fewer take-out-food meals, focusing instead on planning meals prepared at home.

The Loudenbacks also are making and using more reusable bulk food bags, so they can avoid using as much plastic.

In a more urban setting, Vancouver's Riveridge neighborhood, the Mickelson family has cut consumption through a combination of numerous minor changes. Instead of using "way too many" disposable paper towels, Suzanne Mickelson and other family members are using wash rags.

And here's a problem created through success. Local trash and recycling pickups are so reliable and so convenient that many families take them for granted. "The trash and recycling systems are so good that it almost makes it too easy for people to throw things in the garbage, or be an over-recycler," Mickelson said.

Thus, let us all resolve to remember our roles in this as individuals and families. Reducing consumption will help make our already-good local trash-collecting and recycling programs even better.