Editor’s note: Take It or Leave It has revised its reopening to coincide with the movement of the county to Phase Three. Please watch The Weekly for updates.
Submitted by Nikyta Palmisani
Lopez Take It or Leave It is a legacy that Neil Hansen established for Lopez Island and a tradition that Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District intends to carry forward. The mission of TIOLI is to provide a community space for the free exchange of reusable items and to divert what cannot be reused into recycle streams and kept out of landfills.
Due to the pandemic, this closure time has afforded LSWDD the opportunity to do deep cleaning, reorganizing and update signage. LSWDD has also been able to re-evaluate how overall systems are working and consider what could be improved. This overall upgrade furthers the ability for TIOLI to continue its mission.
In keeping with Gov. Jay Inslee’s multi-phased re-opening, the TIOLI will also have a multi-phased reopening to help maintain safety protocols. This will begin with dividing the week into two shopping only days or “shop” days and two donations only or “drop” days. Beginning mid-July, “shop” days will be Friday and Saturday, and donation “drop” days will be Sunday and Monday.
Since TIOLI has been closed for a long period of time, LSWDD is also limiting the amount of donations accepted from a single person/household to three paper shopping bags of items (or equivalent volume) and one object/tool/furniture item. The pandemic has broken supply chains and reduced recycling streams placing new limitations on what can be recycled. Previously, TIOLI averaged 1,000 pounds an hour of donations because robust recycle streams could accept different types of metals, paper, textiles, electronics, electrical wire and mainly metal appliances. Currently, TIOLI will be extremely limited to the ability to accept textiles and clothing. Pre-COVID 19, LSWDD was shipping nearly 4,000 pounds of culled textiles per month off-island for reuse and recycling. At this time, it is still unknown if LSWDD will be able to ship any textiles off-island. This is a huge change! Please be patient with the slower process as the LSWDD continues to monitor markets for the reuse and recycling of items.
Spacing out donation days and shopping days will help provide more space for the physical distancing of both donators and volunteers and staff and provide the ability to quarantine objects for several days before placing them out for “shop” days. LSWDD will also have more extensive personal protection equipment for intake volunteers and staff. LSWDD asks everyone donating goods or shopping at TIOLI to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer. Like in the recycle plaza, LSWDD will meter out cars from the cashier booth to limit traffic to 4 cars at a time in the loading and unloading zone in front of TIOLI. Car and foot traffic will also be limited on “shop” days to keep physical distancing within the TIOLI. Thank you for your continued patience and kindness with all staff and volunteers.
Some basic rules of thumb for all donations are that all items should be clean, well-sorted and organized, gently used, and fully functioning. All items will be inspected by staff or a volunteer and accepted or rejected based on these criteria: we have space for the item; it’s in good condition, working, and have all parts; and availability of a recycling stream. We will be extremely limited on any textiles and shoe donations. Please only bring clothing, linens/bedding and shoes that are in especially good condition.
Please visit LSWDD’s website for the latest news updates, for a comprehensive list of acceptable donations and what cannot take at this time at www.lopezsolidwaste.org
LSWDD staff and volunteers aim to keep TIOLI a treasured service of Lopez. Thank you for your understanding and patience with the phased approach of TIOLI getting back up and running. LSWDD looks forward to seeing you for both shopping and donating soon!
Dates of donation and shopping reopening will be determined when the county moves to Phase Three of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start process.