Posted by Bob Heck on Jun 03, 2019
Rotary Club of Olympia
The Wheel
Today’s Program: The State of Recycling in Olympia
Meeting Called to order: President Dan Lehuta @ 12:30 pm
  • Invocation by: Jay Burney
  • Pledge of Allegiance led by: Geoff Crooks
  • Song: America the Beautiful, led by Gloria Strait
  • Four Way Test led by: Christie Peters
Visiting Rotarians
Van Van Jepmond – Lacey Rotary
Guests of Rotarians
Taylor McInroy – WSU student and Wolf Haven Intern
Happy Bucks – hosted by Gloria Strait
  • Gloria Strait– Harlequin has completed a wonderful run of “A Doll’s House”, their next production, “Man of La Mancha” will open soon and is a great production, especially for all ages. She encouraged club members to buy tickets, and will bring some to add to the club auction.
  • Nancy Zussy Allen – 6 years ago, today, she underwent triple bypass heart surgery. The surgeon said her heart was fine, it was the plumbing that needed fixing. She made a full recovery.
  • Mark Boyer – in April, Anthony Thomas Boyer joined the family. And, on June 10 is Night of the Stars, the OHS Scholarship Awards ceremony. The following Monday, June 17, will be the club presentation of scholarship recipients. It is a worthy group this year. For information on either Night of the Stars, or the program on the 17th, please contact Mark Boyer, chair of the scholarship committee.
  • Diane Gallegos – Thanked all club members who support the Columbia Literacy Project – we hope to have an update soon.
  • Jen Boelts – Proud to share that her garage sale made $600 this weekend (she is sharing some of the proceeds with the club) and just realized that school ends in under two weeks (!).
  • Reid Bates – Announced the birth of his seventh grandchild, Owen Thomas Chapman.
  • Nick Schmidt - Proud of the work of the Olympia Beyond Sports Commission – the group hosted 400+ HS golfers an supported the 2nd annual SPSCC Sports Awards banquet in May.
Lunch Update – Colleen Gillespie
Data collected during the member survey showed that members wanted different food options at both meeting locations. June is an experiment, since the club is now negotiating the next catering contract. Every week in June there will be different plated lunch options. Emails will go out at the end of the prior week to remind members to order their food. Orders can be submitted through the club website ( Hotel RL is very willing to work with the Club on the menu. The default food option is always the salad bar, there is no need to order this option each week. Lunch is $20 with your pre-order due no later than 9:00 am on Monday of the day of our meeting. Please send your comments and feedback to Colleen.
Dine-Around – Tom McLean
Sign up sheets are out, the groups will soon be matched so please see Tom, or contact him directly, to get signed up and placed with a group.
Auction – President Dan Lehuta (filling in for Steve Bean)
Eggs were won by Tom McLean; Sourdough oat bread (made by Bill Fishburn) was won by Justice Debra Stephens.
Olympia Rotary @ Tacoma Rainiers – Oscar Soule
One of the final home games is August 19, however, Oscar will be out of town this date and the few weeks prior. He called for a volunteer to "step up to the plate" to organize and manage the ticket process. Usually about 50 club members and guests attend. If you are interested, please contact Oscar directly. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Program: City of Olympia Recycling Program Update
Oscar Soule introduced Ron Jones, Senior Planner for Waste Resources at the City of Olympia. Ron has been with the city 21 years, graduated from The Evergreen State College and serves as the President of the Washington State Recycling Association. He gave a broad overview of the history of recycling in the City of Olympia.
The definition of recycling: transferring or remanufacturing waste material into usable or marketable materials for use other than landfill disposal or incineration. The goal is to take waste, break it down and then use the raw material to create new items.
Ron reviewed a history of waste/recycling in the City. In 1938 waste removal was begun by the City. In 1988/1989 Olympia started curb-side pick-up of waste and since then the process has evolved. Mechanization has made the process much more efficient. We now have “mixed” recycling pick-up, instead of having to sort all the products.
In the early 2010’s the City reviewed the Waste Resource Plan and updated it with goals for 2015-2020. Olympia’s rate of recycling has declined since 2010. It is, however, about 20% higher than the national average of recycling.
Ron shared that it is important to check first and then recycle items. Residents are best served by checking the haulers list (if you don’t know who hauls your waste, it is good to find out); know the difference between commercial waste removal and residential waste removal (sometimes items OK for collection can differ) and make sure containers are empty, clean and dry.
The City’s acceptable list includes bottles, jugs, metal, glass and paper. Please do not recycle lids! Focus on the shape of the item, not the number.
Ron gave an overview of the China National Sword, aka Blue Skies 2018 and how it has impacted recycling. In January of 2017 China imposed restrictions on the type of recycled material it would accept, these restrictions as of 2018 were significant and China is expected to bring imported waste down to 0% by 2020. This significantly impacts the disposal of the recycled material FROM our communities. 50% of the world’s recycling was sent to China prior to 2018, now that the county is exiting this industry other recyclers are having to enter this market space. Ron and others in the industry hope to see some progress on treatment of recycling in the next 36 months.
The annual net cost to the City to recycle a ton of waste has moved from $24 in 1007 to $113 now. This impacts customer rates and the overall program cost. The revenue is significantly down, too. From $120/ton in 2016 to $8/ton in 2019.
The City of Olympia will monitor the material list, and potentially reduce what is accepted. At this time, there are no changes. The City is also making efforts to increase education and outreach around recycling. If you have not downloaded the app, please add “Recycle Coach” to your smartphone, so you can search in real-time to find out if something is recyclable in your waste bin. As well, the City is prepared to adapt financially to the changing landscape of recycling.
For more information, please contact the City of Olympia’s Waste Resource Department.
Mr. Snappy: Carly Colgan won a gift card to Water Street Café, donated by Justice Debra Stephens.
Meeting Adjourned: 1:29pm by President Dan.