Picnics will never be the same at Thurston County's Burfoot Park.
The county has installed six recycling stations in the picnic area of the Budd Inlet waterfront park that can accept food waste, napkins, paper plates, paper cups, plastic bottles, cans, paper, glass bottles and jars.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to not only reduce garbage volumes coming from the park, but also to encourage park visitors to start thinking differently about their waste,” said Thurston County solid waste educator Amber Smith.
Thurston County parks manager Kerry Hibdon estimates that 75 percent of the garbage at the park can be recycled or composted.
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The recycling bins, made from 98 percent recycled plastic bags and bottles, were put to good use Wednesday by 20 pre-teen campers and their counselors from Temple Beth Hatfiloh in Olympia.
A steady parade of day camp participants sorted through their lunch debris and placed it in the proper containers before heading down to the beach to play and explore.
“It’s the same kind of thing that we have at the temple,” said temple education director Catherine Carmel.
The county park program is also similar to the lunchroom recycling programs at Garfield Elementary School in Olympia, said 10-year-old camper Leo Blakeslee.
The Burfoot Park recycling effort is a pilot project and one of the few at parks in the state to include food waste, Smith said. If it is successful, it will be expanded to other county and city parks in South Sound, she said.
“The idea is to roll this out throughout the county,” she said. “We need to practice recycling waste and make recycling at home, at work and at play the norm.”
The county has also introduced recycling of all the same items, except for the food waste, at the Kennydale Park lodge at Black Lake.
The recyclables will be processed by LeMay Enterprises, and the food waste will go to Silver Springs Organics, a composting center near Rainier.
John Dodge: 360-754-5444 firstname.lastname@example.org