City is Working with Business Community, Others in an Effort to Reduce Plastic and other Waste on the Island

Reduce, reuse and recycle. The three Rs have been part of the culture and lexicon of Bainbridge Island for decades.

Bainbridge Disposal was one of the first waste management companies in the region – perhaps the state – to offer curbside recycling. They continue to do so today, along with yard waste and compost pick-up. Their Vincent Road Transfer Station is a model facility for not only paper, glass and cardboard recycling, but also metals, oil and antifreeze, and an assortment of electronics, such as TVs, computers and monitors.

More than a decade or so ago, Town & Country Market on Winslow Way began reducing the use of plastic grocery bags and encouraging shoppers to “Bring Your Own Bag.” Thanks to that effort, it’s now fairly commonplace to bring a bag or two with you when you shop at T&C, Safeway or wherever – on the island or beyond.

Organizations such Sustainable Bainbridge and its Zero Waste Team, led by recycling crusader Diane Landry, have been preaching waste stream reduction for years. Prior to the Pandemic, Landry and her followers were highly visible – donning their symbolic green vests- at many island events, encouraging participants to recycle and/or compost, and to educate themselves on its value.

The City of Bainbridge Island is now taking a deeper dive into this community touchstone issue. Earlier this year, the City Council passed an ordinance  that only allows single-use food service products to be provided when a customer asks or confirms they would like to use them. The new rules begin Jan. 1, 2022.

As part of the waste reduction efforts, the council established an Ambassador Program to ensure local businesses are aware of the new rules and ready to be in compliance with the changes. The ambassadors have been visiting food service businesses on the Island to gather information and take note of any questions or challenges about the new ordinance. The City is providing $2,800 to support the program. The Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Downtown Association and Sustainable Bainbridge are currently surveying businesses on this important business and environmental  issue.


“We’re working hard to both keep businesses well-supported and ahead of the game, and to better connect the City with the reality of running an Island business,” said Chamber President and CEO Stefan Goldby. “With that in mind, we have partnered with the Downtown Association and Zero Waste Bainbridge to send teams of ambassadors out around the island to check in with all local businesses that might be affected by the Jan 1  changes and see if they are informed and ready. We are also asking for their suggestions and thoughts as waste reduction efforts advance.”

“At its heart,” Goldby added, “our new business ambassador program reflects one of the Chamber’s core beliefs – that conversation and cooperation is always in the best interests of our community, and that the Chamber is here to help make those connections.”

Sometime this week, the City Council will consider a request to extend the work of the Plastic and Waste Reduction Task Force to Dec. 31 to allow the group time to continue its work, Goldby further noted.

The task force will make recommendations to the City Council that will include additional steps to reduce waste on Bainbridge Island. Participation in the task force includes:

    • Councilmember Joe Deets
    • Councilmember Kirsten Hytopoulos
    • Councilmember Leslie Schneider
    • Stefan Golby, Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce
    • Diane Landry, Sustainable Bainbridge/Zero Waste
    • Erika Shriner, Bainbridge Island resident
    • Nora Nickum, Bainbridge Island resident
    • Steve Snyder, Town & Country Markets
    • Lani Sordello, Via Rosa 11
    • Heather Church, Bainbridge Disposal
    • Bonnie McBryan, Lodging Association
    • Andrea Addington, Lodging Association
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