02/03/2015 By Patrick Robinson
When the modern ecology movement began in the 1960's the idea of protecting the environment was largely a fringe idea, led by protesters carrying signs.
Decades later the ideas behind recycling, conservation, less pollution and caring for our world have finally come to the mainstream. Leading the way is a new store that just opened in Burien at 15858 1st Ave. South, The Recology Store.
It's only the second of it's kind in Washington State (the first is in Issaquah) and it's literally owned by Recology, the company with the local garbage hauling contract in the area. Both stores are managed by Brenda DeVore. Recology has the contract with 10 cities in Puget Sound.
The new business is many things. First it's a retail storefront for over 800 products, 65% of which are recycled. Second, it's a recycling center where you can take dead device batteries, CFL, and Fluorescent lights (but not incandescent), and even Styrofoam. Third, it's a place to pay your garbage bill, get information, sign up for service, and network with others. Fourth, it's literally a public meeting space for up to 50 people with a pull down screen, chairs and a setting perfect for talking about the environment.
"The idea behind the store is that it's a walk in customer service center," said DeVore,"We partner with the City of Burien. The city chose to have us here."
She explained that they help people with information to get them closer to zero waste by "composting more, recycling more and also just taking less in."
Of the remarkable product array Retail Associate Matt Chaille said, "We are pushing the bags and water bottles to get people off of plastic," but noted that the best seller in the store is a device that absorbs the ethylene gas emitted by produce, which results in much longer lasting freshness.
Also available are jewelry (from Wenatchee), food containers, belts, packs, and even flip flops made in Afghanistan by natives there from recycled humvee tires. Castille soap (with various scents) for general cleaning, easter egg coloring kits and much more.
Bikes are featured items at The Recology Store and in an arrangement with Seattle's Bike Works, they take in bikes in need of repair and then resell them for the cost of the repairs, making no profit. The program serves as a training effort for disadvantaged children too, teaching them bike repair and making bikes available to them.
The company also has a relationship with Interconnection for the purpose of recycling computers. "They refurbish them and put them back out into non-profits and libraries and elsewhere."
"We're known as a disruption in the industry," explained DeVore,"there's never been a walk in customer service center or retail store before, that promotes wasting less. It's ironic that we get paid by collecting waste but we want the world to produce no waste."
Read more and see photos at highlinetimes.com