Cheney recycling center looking to the future with public awareness, usability


Photo by Alex Miller

Repositories labeled for ease of organization at The Cheney Recycling Center on Anderson Road.

By Alex Miller, Staff Writer

Cheney recycles between “600 and 700 tons” of materials per year, a little over 10 percent of all waste; but the city wants the program to become even bigger, according to Todd Ableman, Cheney’s Director of Public Works.

“10 percent is a fairly good range and I know that ecology [Washington State Department of Ecology] would like to see that even greater, expanding their recyclables; they would like to push it up to somewhere around 50 percent,” said Ableman.

EWU and Cheney School District are on board as well, as EWU is preparing construction for a new recycling facility on campus in the P12 lot.

“In the back of the new lot, P12, is a recycle facility being constructed,” according to Ableman.

“EWU has really gone and started their recycling program, as well as the Cheney School District. Cheney School District is also starting to implement an education on the recycling and doing their own self-recycling programs, too,” Ableman said.

Recycling is important because it keeps materials out of landfills where they can contaminate groundwater systems and produce greenhouse gases. It also conserves resources and stimulates job growth as well, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Located on 100 Anderson Road is Cheney’s recycling center which recycles a variety of materials from cardboard, glass, plastic, paper, aluminum and tin to magazines, yard waste and motor oil. The recycling center is open Tuesdays through Fridays from noon to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cheney’s recycling center operates on a “source separate” system, according to Ableman, which allows people to take all their materials to the recycling center for free and take each different material to its station. Source separation is possible through a “Smart Center,” which Ableman said was an idea proposed by Waste Management.

There are those in Cheney who are not aware of Cheney’s recycling program, but would take advantage of it if the word was out more, like EWU sophomore Geoffery Lucas, who said, “Advertise it. Get the word out about it. I think just that alone could influence people more to recycle if they know there’s a place that’s free.”

According to Ableman, there are not enough residents of Cheney in support of introducing a curbside recycling pickup; that is why residents of Cheney need to bring their recyclables to the recycling center.

“To kind of grab on that operational expense, it would have to be an ‘all in’ to really pay for it, and I don’t know if there’s enough interest to do that,” he said.

Ableman noted a drawback to curbside pickup, though:  “…Sometimes it’s not source separated. You get a lot of glass that gets broken and gets into the cardboard so it’s really not a real clean product.”

Ableman is fine with Cheney’s recycling method. “I think Cheney takes pride in continuing to source separate all their materials right there, and having a cleaner product,” Ableman said. “We do have a fairly robust program and also the availability to take a look at future programs.”