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Dispose yard waste and construction materials properly

Often one person’s choices affect others. This can clearly be seen with littering and illegal dumping around Grays Harbor. Sadly, it is getting worse.

Chuck Cunningham, our county’s solid waste enforcement technician, says the trend is disturbing.

“In the past, what typically was along the highway were beer cans, papers, wrappers and cigarette butts. The litter mostly looked like what people had cleared out of their cars. But, in the last two and a half years, we’re encountering piles of household garbage. And, on top of that, we’re seeing a lot of non-functional RVs, trailers and motor homes abandoned along the highway,” said Cunningham.

“I guess people don’t want to pay to have them removed or torn apart, so they just leave them,” he said.

When the abandoned recreational vehicles are found on a county roadway within Grays Harbor, it becomes the county’s problem. “We probably end up having to deal with 10 to 15 a year. Each one costs about $3,000 to deal with, so that starts to run pretty expensive for the county,” Cunningham said.

Both dumping trash and abandoning a vehicle are illegal. Abandoning a vehicle or RV is a gross misdemeanor. So is dumping junk that is over one cubic yard. Less than 1 cubic foot is an infraction and between that and 1 cubic yard is a misdemeanor. (To get an idea of how much a cubic foot is, imagine a box that is one foot high, by one foot tall by one foot deep.)


What to do if you see dumping

Cunningham said if you see someone actually dumping their trash where it doesn’t belong, you should call the Sheriff’s Office. However, if it is after the fact, and you just see the piles of junk, contact Chuck Cunningham at (360) 964-1648.

Often people try to be helpful by going through the garbage looking for clues of who dumped it, Cunningham said, adding that it’s important that citizens resist the urge to do that.

“What they need to do is leave it alone and give us a call. If we are going to prosecute, we need to have a chain of custody for the evidence that can be proven.”

Praise for those who pick it up

The main reason the county’s roads stay as clean as they do, Cunningham said, is because of the county’s jail inmate work crew supervised by the Sherriff’s Office. The work is paid for out of a state litter grant.

“The inmates and Sheriff’s Office do a great job of picking up litter and dump sites on the county right of way,” he said.

Where to take your junk

By general comparison, garbage service is relatively inexpensive – even including an occasional trip to the dump. However, some things might not be appropriate for the garbage can or dump.

In out last blog, we discussed all the things that can be recycled or brought to the LeMay Recycling Center.

Keep reading to learn about three other disposal places: Stafford Creek Landfill, Habitat for Humanity’s Re-Store and metal buyers.

Stafford Creek takes construction debris

The Stafford Creek Landfill is an option for yard or construction waste. Located near the Stafford Creek Prison off of State Route 105 on the way to Westport, the Stafford Creek Landfill is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

This facility is a wood-based landfill, where you pay to get rid of heavy yard waste, composition roofing, demolition materials including lumber, concrete and asphalt, dirt, or shake roofing, trees and stumps. The price, which is based on volume-per cubic yard (3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet) varies depending on what’s in your load. To give you an idea, most pickup beds range from 1 to 3 cubic yards.

For instance, it costs $17 a cubic yard to dispose of dirt, $30 to dispose of shake roofing, $33 to throw away concrete and asphalt and $25 a yard to dump yard waste and brush. (Everything is paid for on a one-yard minimum.)

No raw garbage, sheetrock, insulation, metal, plastic. railroad ties or creosote-soaked wood is accepted here. We recommend you call ahead for rules and current pricing for what you are disposing – (360) 533-8361.

Habitat takes construction materials

Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful organization that prioritizes helping people own an affordable home.

Their store at 3005 Simpson Ave. in Hoquiam, takes some items that most thrift stores won’t take – building materials.

It’s a great place to take your extra boxes of tiles, flooring, sinks, lumber, good doors and much more – things that might be very useful to someone else. Call ahead at (360) 612-3350 if you have questions.

Habitat for Humanity even takes some furniture and household items. In addition, they can pick up your items at your house. While their store hours are more extensive, donations are accepted only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Local metal buyers here

Some of what you want to get rid of might be worth a little cash in your pocket. Our area has several metal buyers that you might want to consider using.

Each varies a little about what they will take, but a phone call can clear that up quickly. Typically, they will accept just about anything that’s metal and pay you the going rate for that metal type.

One notable exception is that some will take your air conditioning units, freezers and refrigerators off your hands for free, but do not pay you for those.

Items you can typically get a little money for include aluminum (including cans and aluminum pots and pans), as well as anything brass, copper, zinc, lead, or stainless steel. Most will also take car batteries, electric motors, bicycles, barbecues, all appliances including washers and dryers, sheet metal, aluminum sheet, car engines, transmissions and even metal swing sets.

Prices for each metal vary depending on the various markets, with aluminum on the lower end and metals such as copper and brass getting a lot more per pound.

People are encouraged to call ahead to determine prices and just what is being purchased.


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