Wood smoke is one of the main sources of air pollution in Washington. In the winter, smoke can accumulate and lead to unhealthy air quality. This is especially true in the Colville River Valley where winter weather patterns can trap smoke from wood stoves and outdoor fires in valleys close to the ground, quickly diminishing the air people breathe.
“We know that breathing smoke can cause serious health problems like asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, and lung cancer,” said Paul Rossow, air quality specialist with Ecology. “By reducing the number of old, inefficient and smoky wood stoves in use, we can have a direct and positive impact on air quality.”
And that’s exactly what our wood stove turn-in events aim to do.
Thanks to our woodstove reduction program, more than 100 residents benefitted from a $300 incentive grant for each wood stove they turned in at our most recent event on Sunday, May 24, 2022, at the Stevens County Landfill (with a limit of two stoves per person). In all, 141 old wood stoves were decommissioned. About $42,300 in grant funding will go directly into the pockets of participating residents.
“This was the second highest total of wood stoves collected in our eastern region since our pilot project started 10 years ago,” Rossow said. “It’s great to see the continued success of the program and we look forward to expanding it in the future.”
A partnership with Stevens County Landfill on their “free metals day” helps make this event a yearly success.
It’s all about recycling after that!
The stoves and metal collected is then crushed into cubes and the cubes are hauled off by truck for recycling. The recycled scrap metal is used in furnishings, roofing materials, and in the construction industry for roads and bridges.
Recycling scrap metal uses less natural resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Not to mention keeping all of that out of our landfills.
Since the program began, roughly 955 wood stoves in Northeast Washington have been collected under the grants program. From an air quality perspective, that removes up to 57,300 pounds, or over 28 tons, of harmful emissions from the Colville area each year.
The real reward is better air quality for everyone to breathe. Learn more about woodstove particle pollution and the harmful health effects.
Check out more wood stove information from Washington's clean air agencies: