Every-other-week trash pickup everywhere? City Council to decide

2:02 PM: After a pilot project that included part of Highland Park, the Seattle City Council is now ready to talk about whether to extend every-other-week trash pickup to single-family homes citywide. That’s according to the text of this proposed council bill on the council’s next Introduction/Referral Calendar; it seeks to amend the Waste Management and CleanScapes contracts to permit the “option,” and it declares that the council will decide by March 1st of next year whether to “exercise its earliest option” for every-other-week service. Text further into the bill appears to indicate that “earliest option” would be April 1st, 2015, but a separate bill would have to be passed.

ADDED 6:47 PM: In comments, Admiral Neighborhood Association president David Whiting says a Seattle Public Utilities rep is booked for ANA’s January 14th meeting (7 pm, Admiral Congregational Church, California/Hill) to talk about this.

ADDED THURSDAY MORNING: The city’s report on last year’s pilot every-other-week-pickup project is here. It says that while 89 percent of people reported satisfaction with weekly service, 63 percent reported they were satisfied with every-other-weekly service (52 percent in the Highland Park test zone).

72 Replies to "Every-other-week trash pickup everywhere? City Council to decide"

  • CeeBee November 27, 2013 (2:07 pm)

    This is a perfect example of something people should pay attention to. If you disagree, get to your local community group meeting and give input! They will also help you know how you can give input as a citizen.
    If you agree, get to your local community group meeting as well! Time for us all to be active participants in the city we live in.

  • S November 27, 2013 (2:09 pm)

    This is a dumb idea. There is no way I could do every two week pick-up. I have two kids that cause dirty diapers and then on top of that normal garbage.

  • astrogirl30 November 27, 2013 (2:23 pm)

    First, I agree with S. I use a small can already and I am predicting overflow, which they will charge me extra for. Which brings up the question, will my rates be lower?

  • Smitty November 27, 2013 (2:25 pm)

    Time to start loading the middle of the yard waste bins with garbage. Bottom grass. Middle garbage. Top grass.

    Bob’s your uncle.

  • Jim P. November 27, 2013 (2:33 pm)

    This stinks,literally.

    Even if it resulted in a lower cost to the end users and Ill bet it doesn’t, this won;t be a lot of fun in summer.

    Or as the person above posted, anyone involved in diapering.

    Borders on a health hazard.

  • David November 27, 2013 (2:36 pm)

    If the city council approves this lame idea. I think a citizens revolt is in order whereas every unhappy citizen deposits their garbage on the steps of city hall on the weeks we don’t get a scheduled pick-up.

  • DTK November 27, 2013 (2:44 pm)

    Half the service for twice the price. I think we have our own crack smoking city executive problem.

  • David P November 27, 2013 (2:53 pm)

    Thanks smitty! Finally I know the right formula. Been doing grass, grass, garbage without success.

  • Elma November 27, 2013 (2:54 pm)

    I think this is a good idea. If your garbage can is not big enough you can get a larger sized can. The more waste you generate, the larger sized container you need, the more you pay. This is how food and yard waste is billed.

  • Megan November 27, 2013 (3:00 pm)

    Are they going to provide raccoon-proof trashcans?

  • onion November 27, 2013 (3:05 pm)

    It’s too bad someone hasn’t developed on on-demand garbage collection system. We generally do not fill our regular garbage or yard/organic waste containers each week. However, there are weeks when we have an excess (particularly of yard waste). Go on vacation for a few weeks and you get no break. Come back from vacation and do fall or spring yard cleanup and you get hammered. It annoys me that I have to pay extra on weeks when I have more than the allotted amount of waste, but get no credit for weeks when I have little or no garbage.

  • WSEA November 27, 2013 (3:06 pm)

    the cost savings of this idea is not pushed to the customer. In highland park, a family with a 32-gallon container saw rates decrease $3. Really? $28 to $25 dollars? I would expect a lot more savings for less garbage, less staff and less truck use.

    Waste management is asking people to save the environment when they really want to save their bottom line.

    oh.. and if you can’t get by with a 32-gallon container for 2 weeks (instead of one week), you can upgrade to 64-gallon for $31.25. Basically, you have the same trash pickup amount for more money. What a shame.


  • NW November 27, 2013 (3:13 pm)

    Great idea that is for folks like us who are not voracious consumers. Keep heavy machinery off our streets and they stay in better condition. The left over bones and grease freeze it in a container and dispose of it on scheduled trash pickup day. I support it because we do not go thru a lot of debris, you on the other had…..

  • sam-c November 27, 2013 (3:19 pm)

    I scanned the council resolution mumbo jumbo. it seemed to address the contract changes, etc between city of seattle and waste management or clean scapes, but not between the city of seattle and the citizens? how do we comment if the implications are not clear?
    for instance, we have the mini, 20 gallon size. with every week pickup (including diapers) we still have some room in our container. so… would we get a discount if we maintained that size with only every other week pickup? and if not, and we bump up to the 32 gallon size are we gonna end up paying more than we do now?
    also, the summary above talks about ‘trash pickup’- so would the yard waste bins still be picked up every week? that’s the one that gets full and nasty every week (at least during the summer when we keep up with yard work, and it’s hot)

    • WSB November 27, 2013 (3:21 pm)

      Sam – the bill says, as we briefly noted, that further legislation would be needed. That would be where the rules and the codes come in, etc. And, I’d guess, public hearings.

  • JanS November 27, 2013 (3:28 pm)

    well, then…I’m in a building that has 7 apartments. Our pickup is on Friday. The dumpster is usually full to the top by the following Wednesday. The actually think that waiting another week and a half would be feasible for us? I don’t think so..it would be some feat indeed. Will definitely pay attention to this…of course, it says “single family homes”, so I’m hoping we would be left out of the equation.

  • Greta November 27, 2013 (3:30 pm)

    NW – you don’t produce garbage? So you don’t use dental floss, Kleenex, paper towels, you don’t use a vacuum and have to empty the bag, you don’t own a dog who you have to pick up after, or a cat whose litter box you have to empty? Not all of us who are concerned are “voracious consumers” so think before you comment, please. I buy as much biodegradable and recyclable or compostable items as I can but there will always be garbage.

  • Michelle November 27, 2013 (3:34 pm)

    This just doesn’t seem sanitary. A big step backward in regard to urban planning.

  • Rachel November 27, 2013 (3:48 pm)

    This is gross. Two weeks of festering garbage seems like a health hazard, not to mention the rats and bugs.

  • McFail November 27, 2013 (4:04 pm)

    The City has spent nearly $80M for the new South Transfer Station, and estimated $50M for the North Transfer Station improvements. Capacity shouldn’t be an issue…

  • Silly Goose November 27, 2013 (4:18 pm)

    This is another pet project by a councilmen to try and prove his worth, hence the reason he got voted out! We already have a large can and also have several bags that don’t fit on a weekly basis and YES we are recycling too.

    The neighborhoods are already full of over flowing garbage how in the world does anyone think this will work, the coyotes and racoons constantly knock them over and string garbage every where, if we have to go every other week we will have more rodents than our cats can keep up with!! BAA HUM BUG on this idea!!!

  • Lura Ercolano November 27, 2013 (4:23 pm)

    Most people could adjust to this. Seattle’s not the first city to do this.

    NW suggested freezing bones and grease. OK. (actually, bones go in the weekly compost). But NW, will you suggest to your neighbor who uses adult diapers, that they should freeze that, too? Yeah, right.
    I think If the city wants to do this, they really, really should wait until after they implement the fourth bin, planned for a few years from now, which will be for animal waste and disposable diapers.
    Landfill disposal costs $50/ton. Compostables and recyclables $25-30 per ton. The hope is that when you go to bi-weekly, more people go to the trouble of sorting out their recyclables and compostables.

  • B November 27, 2013 (4:35 pm)

    Horrible idea. I for one think we should vote all city council members, and the mayor, go to part-time minimum wage. The basic point of the city is to provide utilities – if they’re not doing that, then cut everything else until they can.

  • ttt November 27, 2013 (5:15 pm)

    We’re a family of four and fill a small half size, garbage can a week, so we can make it work, but it will be stinky no matter what size of garbage can you use. Garbage sitting for 2 weeks in any sized can will smell (and especially in the summertime).

  • Genesee Hill November 27, 2013 (5:15 pm)

    The lazy slobs will have BIG TROUBLE with this proposal. Most people, not so much…

  • seaopgal November 27, 2013 (5:16 pm)

    I’m all for this. With recycling and clean green, my family of two adults and two cats rarely has more than one grocery sack of garbage (cat litter, plastic wrap, non-recyclable plastic/glass/cloth, toothpaste tubes, oh, and dental floss). I can see where diapers might be a problem during the hottest weather, but this can be alleviated with deodorizer and more careful attention to wrapping. The cost of pickup, transfer, and landfill disposal keeps going up, so this is a great way to forestall further rate increases and reduce our impact on the environment.

  • NW November 27, 2013 (5:26 pm)

    It’s time we start scaling back and consume less and recycle more. How many of you actually put into the yard waste and compostable bin food items coffee grounds we have been doing this for years and recyclables of course in the recycle container. Curious about folks over on Vashon whom I know either can pay to have their trash collected or stock it up and eventually bring it in themselves is this how garbage is collected on rural KC? We maybe do a small plastic bag worth of garbage per week a house of 4 to 5 imagine 5 times that.

  • Joe szilagyi November 27, 2013 (5:36 pm)

    Will our trash rates go down by 50%?

  • Pauline Aldrich November 27, 2013 (5:40 pm)

    I think the city might be finding a lot more trash iliegally dumped in places we don’t want it if they screw with the citizens too much

  • Cindy November 27, 2013 (5:49 pm)

    This is a great idea. As one who has worked diligently to minimize waste by reducing consumption – and composting or recycling most of what comes into my household – I only place my micro bin out every six or so weeks as it is. Nonetheless, I am charged for weekly collection so would welcome an option for less frequent garbage. Now, compost (and yard waste) is something I do generate and appreciate weekly service.

  • Ferryboat November 27, 2013 (5:54 pm)

    Sounds great to me. We have the smallest can, micro, and we only put one bag in it each week. There are some weeks when we look for things to put in it, but we could easily share a can with a neighbor if we needed. With recycling and yard/food waste what is there really to put in the garbage? Sign me up!

  • karen November 27, 2013 (6:15 pm)

    I am neither arguing for or against the weekly/bi-weekly pick up. But to me, it looks like this plan is just a way to double our rates. If the city sent out a notice that all rates would be double, I think people would be very upset.

    So, a 32 gallon garbage can is allowed 60 lbs. Assuming it is picked up every week, and an average of 4 weeks a month, (and is full) you have 240 lbs a month at $29.80 a month. With the new plan, 120 lbs at $25.20 a month. Or one trip to the dump, at 240 lbs, $30.

    Yard Waste, 32 gallon can, 60 lbs, 4 times a month, 240 lbs, you pay $7.45. Every other week, 120lbs, $6.95. Or the dump, yard waste rate, up to 240 lbs, $20.

    Besides the whole use less, recycle more, etc., I think it’s unreasonable to essentially double our rates, without the option to opt out. That’s the part that really makes me mad. You have no choice but to have city garbage services, even if you were making no wast, or going to the transfer station or on vacation for a period of time.

  • GayCynic November 27, 2013 (6:16 pm)

    Sounds like it’s time to privatize garbage collection and let folks choose what they want at a reasonable price rather than be forced to take whatever scraps of service the city deigns to dole out at a ridiculous price.

  • Goodgraces November 27, 2013 (6:22 pm)

    Hi Genessee Hill! And all the rest of you holier-than-thous . . .

    I am probably the farthest away from a “lazy slob” that it’s possible to be. More like the obsessive recycler in the Pemco (“We’re a lot like you”) ads. But we alwaysalwaysalways fill our large trashcan every week, with 6 people (3 adults, 3 kids) and 4 pets in our household. This has nothing to do with slothfulness in terms of failure to recycle/re-use and, instead, everything to do with *storage* and *sanititation* issues that this proposal raises.

    With all the pressure for greater and greater density in Seattle, doesn’t anyone in City Hall realize that fewer of us have massive yards where we can “stash” smelly, decaying rubbish for 14 days at a time? It’s not like we can just throw it out in the “back 40” and haul it out for pickup (like they do on Vashon — I used to live there so I know how it works there). Our trashcan lives right next to our neighbor’s front porch — not a nice place to linger if there is two weeks’ worth of trash in the middle of July and August. (And there’s literally no place else for it to be stored in our yard.)

    So this will directly discourage folks hanging around outside on porches if garbage is anywhere nearby, thereby undermining “neighborliness” as a whole. And encouraging the wildlife!

    What a ridiculous idea for our city. Maybe for other places with more “elbow room” (and fewer rats, raccoons, and coyotes) in their neighborhoods, but not.for.here.

  • Strike em out Kinney November 27, 2013 (6:25 pm)

    Sorry, this is a stupid idea. Time to make my voice heard.

  • wetone November 27, 2013 (6:27 pm)

    Don’t expect the City of Seattle to have any say so if Waste Management wants something. Have had issues with Waste Managements big trucks doing a lot of damage to the dirt alley behind my house, cost me a lot of money to fix. Called the city no help. The worker that came out said you can file a complaint if you want but don’t expect anything as Waste Management does what it wants in this town and every town their in. Twice a week service is a bad idea. If they can do that I want the option to not pay for any service and take care of my own garbage. It’s all about the $$$$$$

  • AJP November 27, 2013 (6:34 pm)

    We were in the test block for this. Our rates went down by about $1.28 (you read that right). We had just one kid at the time, and it wasn’t horrible, but now we have 2 (and diapers), and use the small-size can, not the box, and it would be a struggle. Our neighbors with two kids, one in diapers, had problems with their garbage fitting in. The biggest problem, to me anyway, is that crows and raccoons started going through the trash, and there was a lot of trash blowing around the neighborhood. It really looked bad.

  • AJP November 27, 2013 (6:35 pm)

    And PS–we aren’t green zealots, but we do recycle and compost everything we can, and generally we don’t generate as much trash as other families our size.

  • David Whiting November 27, 2013 (6:37 pm)

    As the first comment in this post suggested participating with your community neighborhood group can be a good place to provide input and learn more about how this may be implemented.

    The Admiral Neighborhood Association will host Seattle Public Utility representative Brett Stav to discuss this topic at our next business meeting on Tuesday, January 14th. As always details of the full agenda will be sent to the Wesy Seattle Blog in the days leading up to the date.

    David Whiting
    ANA President

    • WSB November 27, 2013 (6:45 pm)

      Thanks, David! I will add this to the text of the story. If any other neighborhood-council leaders have SPU booked for upcoming meetings, please let us know so we can add that too. – TR

  • dsa November 27, 2013 (6:50 pm)

    If this includes the yardwaste/kitchen can, the idea stinks. Ours is full every week. It is full now and they were just here. We still have several more ordinary old fashioned full garbage cans “in waiting” for it to be empty again.

  • JayDee November 27, 2013 (7:08 pm)

    My question is: If our bills don’t decrease, where are the savings going? They wouldn’t propose this if there weren’t savings…but if there are savings, why don’t we get them?

  • John November 27, 2013 (7:11 pm)

    I agree that we would get half the service for twice the price. This is one of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard. Please let city council members know your thoughts on this.

  • Genesee Hill November 27, 2013 (7:16 pm)

    Twice a week for garbage pick-up in the winter. Once a month in the summer. That summer heat will help compost some of the trash prior to pick-up and disposal. I hear baby diapers degrade quickly when the garbage can heat reaches 108 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Negroni November 27, 2013 (7:34 pm)

    If they pass this I’m gonna start a Lyft-like service for garbage in West Seattle and make myself a fortune.

  • Civik November 27, 2013 (7:35 pm)

    I guess the Tacoma Aroma won’t be the only smelly joke in the state anymore. Just say no to this unless we can double our can size for free and the city gets the bill for vermin removal that it’ll require.

  • tonai November 27, 2013 (7:37 pm)

    Yikes, I have a neighbor across me in the alley on 47th Ave SW that constantly has trouble with using their trash can. I don’t think they understand that they shouldn’t overfill it and leave trash to go flying into other’s yards. Plus then we get the raccoons getting into their garbage and it gets worse. While I think I can manage on the suggested schedule (except for times like the holidays) Somethings people put their trash in my can-without my permission-and leave no room for my trash. SPU told me to put my cans in my garage. That will be yucky during the summer.

  • Alki Res November 27, 2013 (9:45 pm)

    I smell a rat – literally & figuratively. As a family of 3 we easily get by with the micro can (box) because we DO recycle & compost (and use it on the garden). We would have to upgrade to the larger, regular size can if it is every 2 weeks (do I get this for the same price???)… Actually, we might even be able to get by with the micro can considering that the raccoons & crows spread the garbage down the entire block if we don’t wait ’til the morning of pickup to take out the garbage. So, week 1 the garbage truck picks up & week 2 the raccoons & crows drag the garbage all over the block. Of course, when the rats start swarming, my neighbors & I might not like this “environmentally-friendly” type of neighborhood beautification program, but at least Waste Management got to double my bill & make a tidy (pun intended) profit !! Can anyone say, “Sanitation problem??”

  • Mike November 27, 2013 (10:30 pm)

    Sounds like it’s time for a federal investigation into our council and Waste Management. History repeats itself… http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/12/nyregion/where-the-mob-ruled-big-business-steps-in.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

  • Noelle November 27, 2013 (10:41 pm)

    No Thank you. As a pet owner my trash has dog poop in it. That (you know the word) needs to be picked up every week! I don’t even want to think how badly it would reek in summer.

  • Sonoma November 27, 2013 (10:51 pm)

    Our family is so much better than some of you. Hubby and I have 6-month-old triplets, a 2-year old kiddo, two German shepherds, and three cats. And we scarcely fill our nano-micro-mini garbage can every three weeks! No problem with dirty diapers – we just freeze them. As for rats? That’s where the cats come in!
    Mrs. Smug

  • Noelle November 27, 2013 (11:05 pm)

    This sounds like big news!!! Is there really going to be a 4th bin system implemented in Seattle?

    “I think If the city wants to do this, they really, really should wait until after they implement the fourth bin, planned for a few years from now, which will be for animal waste and disposable diapers.” -Lura Ercolano

  • Noelle November 27, 2013 (11:35 pm)

    Thank you West Seattle Blog

  • AAW November 28, 2013 (4:59 am)

    I want to trash talk but i think this discussion is garbage

  • sophista-tiki November 28, 2013 (5:35 am)

    Im outraged! how dare the government intrude on my right to make as much garbage as I want! really? Why wouldn’t you want to make an effort to create less garbage. Plenty of other cities have figured out how to reduce waste and they still exist. I have a large house, 2 people , cat and dog and I work from my home studio,,, still don’t fill up the small can every week. (and if its not in the exact right position it doesn’t get picked up every week anyway because the garbage man cant walk that additional 5 ft to get the can so he skips it). Get a grip “smug and snooty” trash creators, its called problem solving. When the game changes just figure out how to make it work for you and keep going.

  • Euro mom November 28, 2013 (6:26 am)

    Coming from Europe where it is standard service for every other week pick up, it was never a problem. We used a diaper genie to deal in the smells and the only time the cans started stinking was when they needed to be hosed out. And if you didn’t want to do that yourself, some enterprising young man could be paid to do that for you. If you really wanted, they had specisl disper drop off stations because they had a diaper recycling program as well. Did our can ever overflow? Nope. Not once in 5 years. Problems with rats? Never saw a single one until I moved to Seattle. Dogs going through the can?
    Not when I kept the can secured inside our own property as it should be.

  • anonyme November 28, 2013 (6:36 am)

    I’m all for this, as long as I’m issued a larger can (or cans) for the SAME (or lower) cost.

  • 935 November 28, 2013 (7:15 am)

    This is a terrible idea. just take a look at past garbage hauler strikes. rubbish in streets. disease rampant. rats and other vermin running loose and wild. and what happens if God forbid you miss your pickup day??
    You may be better than some of us Mrs. smug. but we use our freezer for food not dirty diapers, sorry. And you’re aware that when it goes in its not frozen… so ya, you’re polluting your freezer with fecal matter.
    BTW “honey get something out of the freezer to thaw for dinner” *12 hours later* whoops!!!! wrong package!!!

  • Lura Ercolano November 28, 2013 (7:30 am)

    Nobody is freezing diapers. I was being facetious.
    If anyone is really interested in where their trash goes, the really big report is here: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/swicdocs/docs/resources/20130911074853_1_Seattle_SWP_2013_Entire.pdf
    That pet waste and diapers get a fourth bin is on page 128.
    The report, and other annual reports from the city, are quite interesting because you begin to see that there actually is a long term plan, and progress, and professionals, etc, not just this picture of a dumb idea randomly thrown in front of the council for approval.
    The report says the plan was to “consider” bi-weekly pickup after evaluating a pilot program, so it isn’t locked in yet.

  • Neighbor November 28, 2013 (9:24 am)

    Kill 2 birds w/1 stone.

    Wrap up your trash with some enticing Xmas wrapping and leave by your front door. For those a with surveillance camera send the picture to WSB of the criminals. Win win!

  • Marty November 28, 2013 (11:53 am)

    Why not have an “optional” plan? I winter in Las Vegas and only put my cans out when they are full. Different story in the summer when it is hot.

  • No way November 28, 2013 (3:31 pm)

    The worst part of this discussion is how many people actually believe their recycling and composting efforts are saving the environment and preserving natural resources.

  • Les November 28, 2013 (9:52 pm)

    Just moved here from Florida where we had twice a week pickup with a large wheeled container for 1/4 what I now pay. Not sure where the extra money is going.

  • dsa November 29, 2013 (7:20 pm)

    Les, the city council believes that the extra money they charge for sorting and recycling is going to save the planet.

  • j November 29, 2013 (8:19 pm)

    A bad move for the city that would increase illegal dumping for sure. City council needs an overhaul. Ask long term residents….the city is declining severely and is being mismanaged.

  • highland park resident November 30, 2013 (7:15 am)

    This is a bad idea. Seattle already has a big rat problem, and this will make it worse. Disease will spread, rats will multiply, and general health will go downhill.
    Is nobody from public health being consulted here?

  • Kate December 1, 2013 (4:00 pm)

    Will our bill be paid by 50%?

  • Alphonse December 1, 2013 (9:28 pm)

    I completely agree with sophista-tiki. When my elderly, incontinent father moved in with me, I let him know in no uncertain terms that in my super-green household there would be NO extra waste! After he reads the Times each morning, it’s off to the craft room to paste it into the next day’s adult diapers. I also have had my pets surgically altered so that they cannot expel fecal matter. Sure, they die in a few weeks, but that just gives me room to save more pets from my local animal rescue. Problems solved and green as can be!

  • keep WS clean December 2, 2013 (5:15 pm)

    RATS our city will be filthy and infested with RATS if this goes through!

  • BlairJ December 6, 2013 (3:36 pm)

    Please clarify something for me: If everything compostable goes into the compost bin, and everything recyclable gets cleaned out and goes into the recycle bin, just what is it in the garbage can that the rats and racoons are interested in? Diapers?

Sorry, comment time is over.