Countdown to trash/recycling changes: 2-part show-and-tell

We’re at the end of a two-part media event this morning put on by Seattle Public Utilities and the mayor’s office to start intensifying the reminders that the way you handle your trash/recycling is changing in a big way at month’s end. Rates are rising, pickup dates are changing, weekly food/yard-waste collection is happening, and you’ll be able to recycle more items (and you won’t have to separate the glass any more). First part of the media event is in the photo above – on a Beacon Hill streetcorner, the mayor and a neighborhood family used plastic props to demonstrate the new push for more food recycling. Second part, we’ll be adding video in a bit – we and the other media reps were taken inside the gigantic recycling-sorting facility at 3rd/Lander in Sodo …. (photo added 4:48 pm)

… for a look at what happens AFTER your recycling is picked up, BEFORE it’s sent off to whoever’s buying the “raw” materials. Loud, smelly, fascinating. Clips to come.

Here’s more info on the upcoming changes. Specific info on your new collection day should arrive in your postal mail. ADDED 4:14 PM: 1st video clip and some extra info:

That’s from the start of the media tour inside the recycling-sorting facility, which is at 3rd/Lander in Sodo, across Lander from Seattle Public Schools HQ among other things. The machinery and workers there separate what you throw into the bin, and from there, it is trucked out to whoever’s buying the material – about 20 trucks a day, they told us. Here’s the view in another direction (HUGE facility with lots of machinery and no single overview):

Here’s a snippet of the Seattle Public Utilities news release related to today’s events:

One of the new solid waste contracts — with Rabanco, Ltd., to process and market Seattle*s recyclable materials — will create 40 new, full-time sorter positions at the company*s state-of-the-art recycling center, at 3rd and Lander. The new employees will earn family wages and full medical benefits — an improvement over nearly all local and national processing facilities, where the standard practice is to fill sorter positions with temporary employees who are paid substandard wages and receive no real benefits.

It’s hard to tell looking at that video clip (and even the one or two we will add), but execs say this plant is indeed high-tech. One of the devices they mentioned before we all went into the facility is an optical sorter that can pick out types of resin as plastic items rush by.

If you haven’t read up yet on all the changes, you absolutely have to – while you’ll be paying more for trash pickup, you’ll also be able to recycle more (aluminum foil, more plastics, among other things) – here’s that link again.

14 Replies to "Countdown to trash/recycling changes: 2-part show-and-tell"

  • clark5080 March 4, 2009 (1:21 pm)

    So far I see no info on if the regular recycling ( paper, glass, ect) is going to be picked up every week and if there is a bigger cart for that also. That is the one I fill up the most year round.

  • professional hippy March 4, 2009 (2:21 pm)

    Recycling is still going to be picked up every other week. If you want another Recycling cart (free) call Seattle Public Utilities 206/684-300 and request one.

  • Keith March 4, 2009 (2:21 pm)

    This might make me sound like a total dork, but I’m actually *jealous* of your trip to the recyclables sorting center! Can’t wait to see the video and learn more about it.

  • professional hippy March 4, 2009 (2:22 pm)

    Sorry Seattle Public Utilities number is 206/684-3000.

  • professional hippy March 4, 2009 (2:31 pm)

    SPU has videos to help put recycling, food and yard waste, and garbage in the right place.

    Shows landfill, recycling sorting center, commerial composting center, etc.

  • margaritaville March 4, 2009 (3:45 pm)

    What does the city intend to do with all the old garbage cans? Are they even recyclable?

  • Danno March 4, 2009 (5:36 pm)

    Truth be told, we really have not had to separate glass for a long time, as I have regularly observed my glass being thrown into the main rear opening for years…

  • brandon March 4, 2009 (5:41 pm)

    Maybe you can ask how the glass and paper being recycled together works.

  • WSB March 4, 2009 (5:47 pm)

    There’s an FAQ on the SPU site to which we linked.

    From it:
    >>>>Upgraded recycling facilities now accept glass with the mixed recyclables and sort the
    materials on site, rather than requiring glass to be separate. Better technology ensures
    the recyclables remain useful for manufacturing purposes. Commingling (combining) the
    recyclables is usually more convenient for residents and therefore more material gets

  • nc March 4, 2009 (9:51 pm)

    Ditto on the glass! A few years ago I watched my glass recycle bin contents thrown into my green bin, then that put in the truck. Haven’t separated since then!

  • FriendO'Dingus March 5, 2009 (4:52 am)

    Nice that residential rates are going up substantially in order to subsidize the new ‘no dumpsters’ downtown scheme. Like we wouldn’t notice….

  • Bogie March 5, 2009 (8:37 am)

    What about ashes? We have a pellet stove and empty the ashes about once a week. I have always put them in the garbage, but it seems like they might be ok in yardwaste?

  • professional hippy March 5, 2009 (9:16 am)

    If you wish to return your old “glass” bin turn it upside down and leave it next to your Recycling Cart on your regular collection day, and it will be picked up and recycled. Another option is to keep it and use it in your garage, laundry room, etc.

  • professional hippy March 5, 2009 (9:20 am)

    • Completely cool hot ashes before throwing away
    • Bag, box or wet them before throwing them in your Gargage Can or taking your trash to a Transfer Station.

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