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aboutstickman.gifFrequently Asked Questions

Does the 2018 recycling news from China impact Methow Recycles?

YES, and...

Our programs don't need to change because,

  • We continue to have markets for everything we collect at Methow Recycles thanks to the high quality of our products. Unlike some places you may have read or heard about, none of our material goes into the landfill.
  • YOU play a big part in that quality by understanding a few important details:
    • Only items which are empty, clean, and dry are recyclable. Anything else is garbage and has the potential to contaminate a larger amount of otherwise good recycling.
    • Please refer to our new signage and ask questions if you're not sure. We are here to help and happy to do so!

But our income has changed a LOT!

  • In a good year, sales of recyclables traditionally makes up about one-third of our income. Because of the changes in China, more recyclers are selling their products domestically, making for a lot more supply. This means prices have fallen with increased supply. Industry experts have never seen conditions like these and don't know when or whether prices might improve.
  • We are tightening our belts, but the costs associated with baling and shipping recycling have NOT fallen, making your financial support more important than ever.
  • Some recycling centers have a fixed charge for recycling. At Methow Recycles in Twisp and our drop-off sites in Winthrop, we operate on a sliding-scale, voluntary model of charging to recycle. This enables everyone in the community to participate, and we hope to continue in this manner.
  • The items which cost us the most to process are worth the least. These items are plastic film, mixed paper, and solid colored plastic. It is also true that most of us have the most choice around purchasing these items. As long as we continue to have markets and can afford to get these items to market, we will continue to accept these. In the meantime, we encourage you to,
    • Make an effort to reduce your consumption of plastic film, mixed paper, and solid colored plastic.
    • When you recycle them at Methow Recycles please consider increasing your contribution to cover the cost of processing these items.
    • We recommend a monthly contribution which is made very easy through our donation page rather than having to remember cash or a checkbook. The least expensive option is a deduction from your checking account. We can also accept monthly debit or credit card contributions.

Blue Bags

What can go in a Blue Bag?

  • Plastic tubs, trays, boxes with a triangle on them. Think lettuce or berry boxes, yogurt containers. Remember: empty, clean, and dry.
  • Coated cartons like milk, juice, soup stock, soy milk and the like. Empty. Clean. Dry.

What can't go in a Blue Bag?

  • Glass
  • Plastic film and bags
  • Scrap metal
  • Electronics
  • Batteries
  • Bulbs
  • Printer cartridges
  • Styrofoam


  • What are the transfer station's hours & phone number?
    April 1 - Sept 30 - Tues through Friday, 10am-4pm, Sat 9am-4pm
    Oct 1 - March 31 - Tues & Thurs, 10am-4pm, Sat 9am-4pm
    Call 997-2025 for more info.

  • How do I get my garbage or recycling picked up?
    Call WasteWise - 997-8862

Waste Reduction Tips

  • How can I reduce the number of catalogs and other unwanted mail I receive?
    Try registering with Catalog Choice
    Call the toll-free number on the catalog and ask to be removed from their list. They can also reduce the frequency of their mailings to you.

  • How can I use less plastic?Here are 16 simple suggestions.


  • Why should I sort my recycling?
    In the Methow Valley you have a choice.
    • If you don't wish to sort, you can sign up for commingled curbside collection with WasteWise Methow. Almost everything recyclable in the Methow can go in your bin. Please use the recycling guide and the sticker on the bin to be sure. Serveral things can only be recycled at the Recycling Center in Twisp, including glass.
    • If you'd like to haul your own recycling to the Center, then you have chosen to sort. Our solid relationship with our buyers depends on the quality of the product we produce. When you self-haul your recycling and sort it into the correct bins you play an important part in this process. You also make sorting and baling by our community volunteers much easier, which makes them very happy!


  • Is glass recycled in the Methow?
    Yes! Our glass is hauled to Seattle where it is melted down and made into new glass. Although it might seem like a significant carbon footprint to do this transportation, the energy savings achieved by making new glass from recycled glass saves much more that. The biggest obstacle to getting glass to Seattle is cost. This is why it is so important that those of use who recycle glass support it.

  • Can I put glass in my curbside bin collected by WasteWise?
    No. We run the material collected by WasteWise through our baler, and glass is a significant contaminant and safety hazard. If you wish to recycle your glass, please bring it to the Recycling Center in Twisp.

  • Why does Methow Recycles ask for donations for glass?
    Getting the glass from our site to Seattle costs far more than the glass is worth. By making a contribution when you drop off your glass you help us keep the service available.


  • How do I know which kind of plastic film you take?
    We accept clear LDPE, which is most easily described as clear and stretchy with a minimal amount of color. It also includes some solid white bags such as pellet-fuel and compost. Look for the recycling symbol with LDPE or the number 4 on the bag. This does not include tinted plastic grocery bags, garbage bags (these are HDPE), or crinkly cellophane.

  • Why don't you take all kinds of plastic film?
    Our buyer only accepts LDPE film.

  • What should I do with caps?
    Unless you see a special bucket with signage collecting caps for an art project, please remove and discard them.

  • Do I need to rinse out my bottles and jugs?
    We really hope you will! Clean containers are less of an attractant for pests like yellowjackets and rodents. Also, when you remember that these are all handled by humans who are your friends and neighbors, it's a really friendly thing to make them not icky!

  • What about styrofoam?
    Molded styrofoam is a bummer, and unfortunately the only suggestion we have at this time is the landfill. Styrofoam peanuts can be re-used. We are able to facilitate the re-use of a certain amount of peanuts if they are clean and bagged. If you know anyone who does a lot of shipping, please offer your peanuts to them!

Tin Cans

  • How do I know whether a can is tin or aluminum?
    It's easy - a magnet will stick to tin.

  • Do I need to remove labels?
    No you don't.

  • Do I need to rinse out my cans?
    We really hope you will! Clean containers are less of an attractant for pests like yellowjackets and rodents. Also, when you remember that these are all handled by humans who are your friends and neighbors, it's a really friendly thing to make them not icky!

  • What should I do with the lids?
    Please leave them attached to the can and pushed inside for safety, or loose but inside the can with the top squeezed together. Loose can lids get caught in our baler, so we're trying to keep them under control. The last option is to put them in the container near the tin bin. A volunteer will later load them into a large can and smash the sides down to keep them there before they go into the baler.


  • Which electronics does Methow Recycles accept?
    Desktop and laptop computers, televisions, computer monitors, and e-readers. These items contain toxic and, in some cases, valuable materials which should be kept out of the landfill.
  • Why doesn't Methow Recycles take all electronics?
    The electronics we accept are those funded by the eCycle Washington program which pays for their shipping and handling. Please visit our How do I get rid of page for information on recycling of printers and copiers.


  • What kind of metals can I bring to Methow Recycles?
    Any non-ferrous (a magnet won't stick), including copper, aluminum, brass, motors, or lead. Small, heavy ferrous items.

  • What guidance can you provide on cleaning up after a fire?
    Here are two documents we hope you find helpful:
    Guidelines on handling of fire debris from the Okanogan County Health Department
    Resources for recycling of metal left after fires


  • Are batteries recycled? Nicad (rechargable) and UPS (computer backup) are. Other household batteries are sealed in concrete and disposed of properly in the landfill.


  • Why doesn't Methow Recycles keep the same hours as the Transfer Station?
    This is a budget issue for us, as we always have one paid staff member at the center during our open hours. We are interested to know if this is an important consideration for you. Please send us a note if it is.

Offsite collection

  • Why can't I bring everything to Horizon Flat?
    We strive to strike the balance between making the most efficient use of our transportation dollars and providing a useful option for north valley recyclers. The value of the material collected there does not cover this expense.

 WasteWise and commingled recycling?

  • Does WasteWise compete with Methow Recycles?
    No. We collaborate closely with WasteWise in support of our mission!

  • What happens to the commingled recycling collected by WasteWise?
    They deliver it to us at Methow Recycles where we bale it and remove any contamination. We ship it to Waste Management's sorting facility in Spokane where the bales are broken apart, sorted, and baled.