Speaking of trash pickup … Big changes are 1 month away

On the heels of the solid-waste-pickup discussion during this morning’s storm-aftermath report at the Seattle City Council, we just got a news release from Seattle Public Utilities saying they want to be SURE you know that trash pickup days are changing (for “most” households) and recycling rules are changing too. March 30th is the date, and while that’s been reported before, it’s now only a month away. Read on for the official reminder:

Better Recycling is Coming to Seattle March 30

New Programs Include Weekly Food/Yard Waste Collection, Glass Commingling

SEATTLE – By popular demand, better recycling is coming to Seattle, starting March 30, with a host of changes including:

* All food scraps, including meat, fish, bones, shells and dairy products, can go in the food and yard waste cart.
* More food/yard waste cart sizes to choose from, including 13-, 32- and 96-gallon options.
* Weekly food and yard waste collection for all single-family households. Organics were previously collected every other week.
* Electronics, used motor oil and bulky items can be collected through special services.
* Glass bottles and jars go in the recycling cart – no more separating!
* More paper, plastic and metal items can be recycled, including cups, deli trays, aluminum foil and plastic plant pots.
* A new collection day for most households.

These improvements, which Seattleites have been requesting over the years, were made possible by new solid waste contracts, approved by Seattle City Council, last year. Seattle’s goal is to divert 60 percent of all its generated waste to recycling or composting by 2012. Currently the city diverts 48.4 percent of its waste.

Food scraps account for one-third, or 45,000 tons, of residential trash each year.

Last year, more than 100,000 Seattle households helped divert 80,000 tons of food and yard waste from the landfill, turning into compost for local parks and gardens.

In March, Seattle Public Utilities will launch a public education campaign on the new changes. Recycling guidelines and collection calendars will be mailed to businesses and residents, and customers with new collection days will have that information taped to their garbage containers. For more information on Seattle’s solid waste changes that begin March 30, contact www.seattle.gov/util, 206-684-3000.

17 Replies to "Speaking of trash pickup ... Big changes are 1 month away"

  • JRC February 20, 2009 (12:43 pm)

    Their site shows March 30

  • WSB February 20, 2009 (12:46 pm)

    The e-mail included some March 1st dating but apparently that involves the start of the publicity campaign, not the pickup changes. Have amended, thanks – TR

  • Brandon February 20, 2009 (12:59 pm)

    Can anyone explain how collecting glass in the same container as paper is more efficient and effective? We have trained people to keep it seperate, it seems to make sense to keep it seperate, why is this such a “special” deal? Seems like a step backward for very little gain…

  • Mike February 20, 2009 (1:52 pm)

    I think the idea is to get MORE people to recycle in general. The separation of items is minimal compared to getting people to actually recycle.

    Now if the state would enforce this across the state maybe it’d have real impact. Moses Lake just lets people chuck everything in a garbage can, what’s recycling?

    “Dispose of yard waste like you would household garbage – in the trash or to the landfill.” – http://www.ci.moses-lake.wa.us/271.html

  • Trashy Nulu February 20, 2009 (2:36 pm)

    Desegregation is great!
    A few savvy garboligists are aware that on some pick up routes, the glass is already being thrown in with the paper.
    Now, how do we recycle those plastic glass recycling containers?

  • transplantella February 20, 2009 (2:47 pm)

    Oh No! This is terrible news! Does this mean they’re taking away our glass recycle can?

    In our building with four apartment units we have 2 wheelie recycle bins, one for glass and one for everything else. The everything else bin is usually full within two or three days of pickup and we have to wait weeks before it gets emptied again. No way will we be able to get bottles in there too.

    It’s already such a problem that I throw away everything but bottles because the recycle bin is always overflowing.

    This is no improvement for me. :(

  • publicadministrator February 20, 2009 (2:48 pm)

    There is a great deal more to the solid waste changes coming March 30th than just eliminating the sorting of glass from other recyclable materials.

    * More paper, plastic and metal articles will be accepted for recycling
    * Kitchen scraps including meat & dairy will now be accepted in yard waste carts
    * Collection of food and yard waste will move to weekly service
    * Electronics, used motor oil and bulky items (think used couch) can be collected using a call in service.

    The is only a partial summary of the improvements, watch your mailbox for notices.

    Why are these even deemed improvements?

    Nearly six times a week a mile long train leaves Seattle hauling our garbage to an eastern Oregon landfill. A large abstract volume to wrap your mind around, right? Now imagine the expense. To become more cost efficient the city needs to reduce that volume. The Mayor set a goal of diverting 60% of all city waste through recycling, composting and waste prevention by 2012.

    March 30th marks the start of the new service contract period with the city’s solid waste collection vendors. The last contract was 10 years ago, and since every nuance of cost and service is wrapped into the contact its the city’s one good chance to make sweeping changes to improve efficiency.

    The bad news is rates will increase. For the contractors, theirs is a business largely driven by fuel and labor expenses (think $4/gallon diesel & 35% annual health care increases). The good news is that many of us will be able to select a smaller garbage unit (more sizes) and since more kitchen scraps are eligible for yard waste… we could actually pay less. The incentive is based on a “pay as you throw” concept.

    There are a fews bumps to be expected: the ‘ick’ factor of kitchen scraps, the initial confusion of what goes where. But if we want our government to reduce costs and implement efficiencies sometimes that means adopting new behaviors. The alternative is to stick with the same old, same old as landfill costs continue to trend upward.

  • marty February 20, 2009 (2:59 pm)

    Transplantella: You can call and request additional recycle containers. Our building (8 unit condo) changed to one bin for glass and a dumpster for the rest. We fill the dumpster by the time two weeks are up and our next collection occurs. Our garbage is less than half of what it was before we started to recycle. Call 206-684-7241.

  • Trashy Nulu February 20, 2009 (3:01 pm)

    Just request more recycle bins from the city.

  • Keith February 20, 2009 (3:24 pm)

    Having chased my glass bin around the alley on multiple stormy nights, I can’t wait to be rid of it!

  • transplantella February 20, 2009 (3:37 pm)

    “Transplantella: You can call and request additional recycle containers. Our building (8 unit condo) changed to one bin for glass and a dumpster for the rest. We fill the dumpster by the time two weeks are up and our next collection occurs. Our garbage is less than half of what it was before we started to recycle. Call 206-684-7241.
    Comment by marty”
    We’re just renters, I think the property owner has to request different/bigger containers which will undoubtedly cost more. We’ve talked to him about the trash problem before and he just shrugs his shoulders. He’s not a very nice guy and nobody in the building wants to deal with him. I think he’s barely breaking even with his payments on this place.

    Already it’s such a problem that the neighbor stores the recycle trash in his garage till the bin gets emptied, and then he fills it up immediately.

    I’ve never lived anywhere like this where getting rid of trash was such a problem.

  • S February 20, 2009 (5:09 pm)

    Also note that the fact that recycling will be picked up every week in effect doubles the recycling capacity of the units your building already has, t’ella.

  • marty February 20, 2009 (5:11 pm)

    Trans: There is no charge at all. Just tell him he is risking a fine for not taking care of his social responsibility!!

  • toddinwestwood February 20, 2009 (6:26 pm)

    I never need to chase my glass container, its usually too full for the wind to catch it.
    Try drinking more beer or wine. Works for me.

  • Bonnie February 20, 2009 (9:43 pm)

    Todd, your plan works for us too.

  • brandon February 20, 2009 (11:34 pm)

    So its one thing to get people to seperate kitchen wastes, but not paper and glass??????? Its a smokescreen to try and convince you that you are somehow getting a “better” deal by “seperating” less, when really, you’re not.

    I give less than 10 years to uncover that the Garbage Reclying companies are a fraud, and all the extra revenue they collected went into their pockets, not landfills.
    And there is no savings, by going smaller, you just avoid increases.
    ” But if we want our government to reduce costs and implement efficiencies sometimes that means adopting new behaviors”. Umm, come again???

  • alki_2008 February 21, 2009 (1:44 am)

    I don’t understand why anyone is opposed to being able to throw glass in with the rest of the recyclables? It’s bad enough to have 3 containers to manage/store…so eliminating the need for a 4th ‘glass’ container seems great to me. The recycling trucks already have the items in the glass bins thrown in with the items in the recycle containers, so it doesn’t seem that the processing at the endpoint will actually be changing.
    Transplantella, has anyone written a letter to the property owner (or prop manager). The city doesn’t charge prop owners for recycling containers, just for yard waste and garbage. If the prop owner doesn’t respond to your letter (maybe have multiple residents send letters), then complain to SPU and see if they can intervene?
    Overall, I like the new changes. No more need to check the calendar to remember if it’s yard or recycling week, and with weekly pick-ups then I can get smaller containers that take up less space in my already small yard. The rates are going to be higher though, so that’s a bummer. Weekly 32 gallon pickup of yard waste (equals 64 gallons every 2 weeks) costs about a dime more each month than current biweekly 96 gallon pickup. Less is picked up over a two week period, and the cost isn’t any less.

Sorry, comment time is over.