One day while house sitting on Whidbey Island, I notice the recycling boxes in my homeowners’ tidy garage are filling up. I’ll be conscientious, I decide. I google and find the address for Island Recycling.
I load up my car and enter the info in my GPS.
Little do I know that I’m in for another “unique place” experience. Little do I know I’ll go back to that place several times, just to take pictures. Really? Well, yes.
I turn in at the driveway off Rt 525, north of Freeland, and see a spread of several buildings, trucks, a semi-tractor-trailer. I see designated areas for rebar, electronics, televisions, paper—newsprint and mixed, cardboard, plastics, glass, toys. I see tea kettles lining the roofs of several sheds and I see humor everywhere I turned to look. And the place was pretty darn clean, for a dump.
See that blue sign near the center of the pix above? Here’s a close-up.
Now, have you ever heard of a dump with a fan club? Or its own bumper stickers?
Ever heard of a dump frequented by Elvis…who also has his own bumper sticker?
On one of my visits, I chanced upon a woman efficiently clipping off unrecycleable bits of electric Christmas lights, and then tossing the wires that could be harvested for copper into a huge bin.
I started a conversation with her. Jill, it turned out, is a sparkingly bright, gregarious, interesting woman. She’s the wife of the owner; she’s been at Island Recycling for 30 years (after living and teaching in Japan for a spell and raising her children). Her husband started the business 40 years ago, she said, and they have 16 employees. But they’re beginning to think about retirement and about serious travel.
The office of Island Recycling could also be named the Museum of the Debris of Contemporary Culture:
And now for two more favorite signs:
So, I came away from my recycling errand with a refined attitude: there really are people who gleefully turn lemons into lemonade. I could learn from them.