Garbage Goat

“Hi! I’m GG the Garbage Goat, and I like to talk about trash. On my blog you’ll find interesting bits of information regarding how Spokane County handles its solid waste, how our recycling is handled, and other interesting things about waste. If you have questions about recycling or solid waste, you can contact the Spokane County Regional Recycling Information Line at 509-477-6800, or contact us online.”

Aug 19

New and improved Garbage Goat Blog

Posted on August 19, 2019 at 12:06 PM by Austin Stewart

The Spokane County Regional Solid Waste System (SCRSWS) has just created a new and improved Garbage Goat Blog! With all of the current changes happening in the recycling            industry, it is hard to keep up to date with what should or should not go in the recycling bin. By subscribing to the Garbage Goat’s new blog, you can stay up to date with the newest        information.

To view the new blog, visit

To subscribe to the new blog, just scroll to the bottom of the home page, enter your email address, and click subscribe!

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Aug 08

Help Us Prevent Lithium Battery Fires

Posted on August 8, 2019 at 1:06 PM by Austin Stewart

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See the City of Spokane's lithium ion battery video here: The only way to prevent lithium battery fires is to manage your batteries properly.

They’re in our smartphones, laptops and wrist watches. They also power our weed eaters and power drills. Lithium batteries are in many everyday items because they provide more energy than other types of batteries, last longer, and are rechargeable. Many of us enjoy the benefits of these powerful batteries, but we are mostly unaware that these batteries can cause fires if they are thrown away in trash or recycling carts.

In the past two months, Spokane’s Waste to Energy Facility has had two fires on its tipping floor caused by lithium batteries. Fires in solid waste collection trucks also can be caused by these batteries. 

Here are some options to safely dispose of batteries and protect your home and our community from lithium battery fires. You can take all of your batteries to the Household Hazardous Waste drop off area at the Waste to Energy Facility or Spokane County’s transfer stations at 22123 N. Elk-Chattaroy Road and 3941 N. Sullivan Road. 

There is no cost for Spokane City or County residents. If your hauler is the City of Spokane, collection drivers will take batteries that are left in clear plastic bags on top of your blue recycling carts. (Don’t put them inside the cart!) Other Spokane area haulers, Sunshine Disposal and Waste Management, don’t accept batteries in bags on local routes, so if you live outside of the City of Spokane, batteries will need to be taken to the Waste to Energy Facility 7 days a week, or the Colbert or Valley Transfer Stations on Saturdays or Sundays as Hazardous Waste. Also, stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s will take rechargeable batteries at drop boxes inside their stores. 

So what items contain lithium batteries and require special disposal?

Laptops, e-cigarettes and vape pens, smartphones, watches, and rechargeable power tool batteries are just a few items to look out for. As you buy rechargeable items, check for disposal information which may just appear as a trash can with an “X” through it. This means the item probably has a lithium battery and must be managed separately. 

The only way to prevent these fires is to manage your batteries properly. Know before you throw! 

(Reprinted with permission from Kris Major, Solid Waste Educator, City of Spokane)

Jun 27

What are Microplastics?

Posted on June 27, 2019 at 3:22 PM by Austin Stewart


There is growing concern in our community about the environmental impact of microplastics, tiny pieces of plastic pollution that are found in our environment. Microplastics are concerning because they are easily distributed, travelling by air and through bodies of water, and they are persistent, meaning they will not easily break down in the natural environment. However, there is still very little research on how microplastics affect human health. 

Many national headlines about plastic pollution have focused on our oceans, but microplastics have also been found throughout Spokane County, including in the Spokane River, local tap water, and even in snow on Mount Spokane. The most recent research on microplastics in Spokane County has been aimed at the effect of the Spokane Wastewater Treatment Plant on levels of microplastic pollution in the Spokane River. This study has not been peer reviewed, but is available to read on Spokane Riverkeeper’s website

The results from the study are straightforward: surprising levels of microplastics were found in every sample taken from the Spokane River, averaging 12 pieces of microplastic pollution per liter of water. Further research is still being conducted, aimed at identifying top sources of microplastics and options for remediation. Currently, Spokane City’s wastewater treatment plant is working towards installing a new membrane filtration process that is expected to remove a majority of microplastics from its effluent. The Spokane County Water Reclamation Facility already has a filtration process that is assumed to remove almost all microplastics.
Knowledge of microplastics remains murky, and until the waters are cleared, it’s difficult to understand the implications of these findings. Known sources of microplastics are widespread: the wear of tires on roads, synthetic fibers like polyester that break down when washed, plastic litter that becomes broken up over time, and more. However, minimizing your impact on microplastic pollution is possible. Try to swap out single use items for reusable products. Ensure you are disposing of all plastic waste responsibly, bagging your waste and keeping debris secure to prevent pollution. Washing synthetic fibers can release plastic particles, and products such as the Guppyfriend washing bag, Cora Ball, or specially-designed washer machine filters*, are designed to prevent fibers from being released into the wastewater system. 

In situations that are confusing or discouraging, focus on the basics: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Reduce your consumption, and pay special attention to the single-use items you are using. Reuse what is possible, and recycle your basic materials like paper, cardboard, metal, and plastic bottles and tubs. If you’re concerned about plastic pollution, consider getting a group of friends together to clean up a polluted area with Spokane County’s Team Up to Clean Up project. Alternately, you can volunteer with the Spokane Riverkeeper to help keep the river free from pollution. 

*The views and opinions of authors expressed on the Garbage Goat’s blog do not necessarily state or reflect those of Spokane County and they may not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes. Mention of a specific product on the Garbage Goat’s blog does not imply endorsement by Spokane County.