Green Okanogan recycles two million pounds, opens Recycle Café

Some of the two million pounds of material that Green Okanogan has recuycled since opening. A new Ecology grant will help them open a repair cafe to fix household items. Green Okanogan/submitted photo

Submitted by Susan Shaddox/GO Board Member

TONASKET – Green Okanogan (GO) is proud to announce that they have passed yet another milestone in their operation by recycling over two million pounds of material at their recycling facility in Tonasket. That is two million pounds of cardboard, plastic, aluminum and tin, mixed paper and electronic waste that otherwise may have ended up in the local landfill.

Remarkably enough, most of the labor required to recycle that two million pounds was done by their cadre of dedicated volunteers. Now, thanks to a Public Participation Grant (PPG) from the Washington State Department of Ecology, they will be able to hire a few employees, allowing them to branch out and offer additional services.

PPG grants support the State Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Plan, which aims to eliminate most waste and toxins and to safely manage what is left. The grant will provide GO with $60,000 per year to cover activities for the 2023-2025 biennium, allowing them to further their mission of providing recycling services and educating the community on issues related to recycling and sustainability. New services will include a Repair Café, local business pickups of cardboard, and an increased presence at local events and activities.

Starting on Saturday, Sept. 2 Green Okanogan we will be offering a Repair Café at the Community Cultural Center in Tonasket from 10 a.m. until noon. The Repair Café is a place where people can bring their household items to be fixed, including such things as electronics, small appliances, yard and garden equipment, jewelry and clothes that need minor mending. Local volunteers who are good at fixing things will be on hand to diagnose, repair and mend items that are fixable.

Green Okanogan has always encouraged reuse by accepting donations of used household items and reselling them at an affordable price in their GO Again Thrift Store. This grant will allow them to up their game in the reuse department by offering people the opportunity to fix things that otherwise might be thrown out. Fixing items instead of throwing them out keeps items out of the landfill while fostering sustainability and a circular economy. An additional Repair Cafe will be offered this fall with more scheduled in the new year. There will also be at least one class focusing on diagnosing and fixing your own items and other educational events not yet scheduled.

While Green Okanogan volunteers have been doing some local business pick-ups of cardboard for several years now on an ad-hoc basis, the PPG grant will allow them to hire the staff needed to do pick-ups on a regular basis. Pick-ups will be done on a weekly schedule for a reasonable monthly fee. In addition, the PPG grant will help pay for staff to oversee recycling containers at local events and activities. GO presence at these events will reduce waste, and on-site instruction will ensure that recycling is properly done.

Green Okanogan is excited and honored to be the recipient of the DOE’s Public Participation Grant and is looking forward to working with them to eliminate as much waste as possible in the North Okanogan. Green Okanogan Recycling and Go Again Thrift Store are located at 3 Rodeo Drive in Tonasket and open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information and a list of what they recycle, visit their website at