Seattle trash pickup every other week? First community briefing Tuesday @ Admiral Neighborhood Association

(Photo courtesy ANA president David Whiting)
If the city moves to every-other-week garbage pickup for single-family homes, will curbs routinely look like that – or will people throw away less, to adjust? As first reported here back in November, the City Council is expected to decide by March whether to move ahead with every-other-week service, so community briefings and meetings are starting now, with a Seattle Public Utilities rep coming to talk with the Admiral Neighborhood Association on Tuesday night (7 pm, lower-level meeting room at Admiral Congregational Church, California/Hill). The city did a test run of every-other-week service in 2012, including part of Highland Park. If the council goes ahead with the change, it would take effect no sooner than April of next year.

52 Replies to "Seattle trash pickup every other week? First community briefing Tuesday @ Admiral Neighborhood Association"

  • neighbor January 11, 2014 (2:32 pm)

    I think a lot of people could do this. But my neighbor can’t seem to do weekly and her trash is everywhere especially on a day like today. Actually the non-water logged stuff is a wet blog on the ground in my yard and others nearby. The plastics have flown away. I’ve gone and checked on my cans today, but others still have their cans blown down for a few days all around the alley. Makes it a pain-in-the-b*tt to drive in the alley.

  • westcoastdeb January 11, 2014 (2:40 pm)

    TR – I think you goofed this headline – it says every other day.

    • WSB January 11, 2014 (2:45 pm)

      Have already fixed it. Thanks.

  • pupsrarebest January 11, 2014 (3:28 pm)

    Between the amazing amounts of things that can either be recycled or put in yard waste, every-other-week garbage pickup is probably workable for our two-person-one-dog household—a rate decrease, however, would seem a fair expectation.

  • seaopgal January 11, 2014 (3:43 pm)

    This pic looks like post-holiday recycling/clean green overload, not garbage … maybe a tad misleading. Hope the ANA is not going to oppose the proposal.

    • WSB January 11, 2014 (3:51 pm)

      If you are in that area, please be part of the discussion! Or your nearest community group – believe me, every last one of them would LOVE to have more people in their respective neighborhoods involved. And I mean LOVE. Or if you want to express your support directly to the City Council and haven’t already, their contact info is all over their website at and most if not all of them have social-media pages too if you want to reach them that way – TR

  • K January 11, 2014 (4:12 pm)

    I have been begging the city to let me cut my service and bill in half. I have a 12 gallon box that goes out once every 6 or 7 weeks. I would love less frequent pick-ups AND to finally be charged a more accurate amount for my landfill output!

  • West Seatlite January 11, 2014 (4:28 pm)

    We would have had no problem with making this work at our house until 4 weeks ago. Now, with a new baby, there’s not a chance! It’s amazing how many diapers this little man goes through.

  • Mary Chapman January 11, 2014 (4:30 pm)

    Enjoy being on the lookout for the increase in the rat population, and the resulting health issues they bring (bubonic plague, toxoplasmosis, and others). This is a port city with a rat problem already. It’s astounding no one is even mentioning public health issues in all of this.

  • transplantella January 11, 2014 (4:35 pm)

    TWO WEEKS??!!

    Already the raccoons get into the critterproof trash cans every chance they get. Two weeks of rotting trash to attract them?

    Not long ago we caught a large raccoon and three smaller ones with garbage strewn everywhere. We think it was a mother teaching her babies how to get the garbage can open. One of many big messes the coons have made with the trash here.


    This is a terrible idea. Awful.

  • heather January 11, 2014 (4:43 pm)

    Hmmm. I’ve cut my garbage down to the smallest size can but will realistically have to go up a size (which costs more) if it’s picked up every other week. However, my recycling is always full but now that I think about it that’s already every other week.

  • heather January 11, 2014 (4:44 pm)

    Too bad I don’t have one of those trash compactors in my kitchen…

  • kris January 11, 2014 (5:16 pm)

    Is the city trying to have people put 2 weeks of garbage in the one can they have now???

  • Kim January 11, 2014 (6:50 pm)

    We could handle every other week, I think. It’s going to be stinky for the poor garbage man! Also related to the story, I wish the ANA and WTTC meetings weren’t planned for the same night.

  • Civik January 11, 2014 (7:09 pm)

    So only SF zones, not any multi-family zones. Not the new fangled mini-towers going up in MF zones?

  • wssz January 11, 2014 (7:33 pm)

    Will be attending this meeting, for sure. In my 2-person household, trash and recyclables can be picked up every other week, but the clean green bins fill up every week.

    A second bin might be okay in the winter but once we start warming up, will be a rotting mess and rat magnet.

  • JoB January 11, 2014 (7:35 pm)

    i am with Mary chapman
    the critter problem in our alley is already enough out of control

  • Ferryboat January 11, 2014 (7:55 pm)

    We too have the micro can and could easily have it picked up every other week. If only more plastic was biodegradable we’d have next to nothing. The one thing that would be tough on our household is if yard waste was every other week. Not so important in the winter, but spring through fall we completely fill it every week.

  • K January 11, 2014 (8:09 pm)

    Just a suggestion for those who have critter issues–I have found that most anything that attracts critters in the trash can be composted (via the city, as they take meat and dairy).

    Our medium-sized compost bin goes out every other week (sometimes weekly with summer yardwork), and we have a group of raccoons that hang out in our yard regularly, especially in the summer (and the crows take note!) We haven’t had any trouble with them in our landfill box ever, even after it leaving it for a month+ in the summer, with a lid that doesn’t secure. Perhaps it’s the cat and dog waste in the landfill box that keeps them away as well.

  • anomie25 January 11, 2014 (8:25 pm)

    We moved to San Rafael, CA in September. Here everything gets picked up once a week. It’s such a relief that trash, yard waste, and recycling do not have to ferment for 2 weeks. Seems wherever you are now you have to deal with rodents, raccoons, crows, and critters. From a health and safety perspective, weekly is best!

  • Kc January 11, 2014 (8:29 pm)

    So pick up less often, don’t allow twice the garbage to be put? And if you do put out more we will charge you. Do the drivers work half as much? Sounds like smoke and mirrors to pay for that new contract waste management negotiated with there employees

    King Country Health Department would never recommend flushing your toilet every other time for the obvious reasons, How is this different?
    Even L&I requires Honey Buckets be clean once a week. Store it at your house instead of at the transfer station. And most of those truck are running on clean natural gas not diesel so there goes that angle.

    Just smoke and mirrors!!

    If it is not broke, don’t fix it

  • WestSide45 January 11, 2014 (8:30 pm)

    The last person to worry about is the poor garbage man! He won’t have any more work to do.

  • A January 11, 2014 (8:35 pm)

    No way. Our regular sized trash can is over flowing every week. They would need to give out a larger, or second trash can. And there would definitely be a rodent problem. My husband just found a dead rat in our backyard last week. It’s likely from the dumpsters behind our home (I’ve seen rats scurry when pulling into the alley).

  • pupsarebest January 11, 2014 (9:25 pm)

    Not trying to tell anyone what to do, but the waste/recycle/yardwaste collection manual states that diapers and animal waste are to be placed in the trash collection bin, not yardwaste.

  • OP January 11, 2014 (9:38 pm)

    Another fantastically awful idea. All of us pay good money to get our trash picked up on a weekly basis. Trash for a standard family of four will overflow—even with recycling and yard waste bins. Since I can’t be at the Tuesday night meeting, I’m going to attempt to contact SPU. I urge others to do the same.

  • 1000amys January 11, 2014 (9:42 pm)

    I hate coercive tactics like this! We already recycle and compost everything we possibly can, trying to stick to the 20 gallon can. But we have seven people in our household! And two cats. Now that only one kid is in diapers we usually don’t have overflow trash, but we fill that can every week. Our youngest has a feeding tube, so there is a certain amount of waste that comes with that. It frustrates me that we will be penalized with higher trash pick-up fees in a misguided effort to get us to do what we are already doing. Need to tell the city all this as well, I know.

  • freddiejr January 11, 2014 (10:29 pm)

    Oh no, polluting less by trucks coming less…less pain in the butt parking issues every week, and we recycle more…where are the TRUE downsides? Like mentioned above, what is in your trash can that attracts critters? Shouldn’t that be in the yard waste bin then?

    Micro bin and can hardly fill it up each week, and we have a family of 4, and one is still in diapers. Try cloth and never worry about spending thousands of dollars on diapers and larger garbage cans, not to mention killing the environment.

    Most of King county outside Seattle/Bellevue metro areas offer the every other week pickup OR even once a month, it was awesome!

  • Mike January 11, 2014 (11:32 pm)

    Bad idea. Recycling is great, composting is great, however, we still have items that cannot be recycled and/or composted. I have to assume that people that do not currently fill a minican every other week eat out a LOT. Trash at home or trash at the store/restaurant, it’s still going to the landfill.
    “Try cloth and never worry about spending thousands of dollars on diapers and larger garbage cans, not to mention killing the environment” That’s nice for your family, I prefer sanitary conditions, how’s that diaper rash going for your kid? What was your investment in cloth diapering for the span of 2 years while upsizing over that span of time? I’m seriously interested, I’ve looked at the costs and Costco disposables are actually a pretty good deal in comparison.

  • strike em out kinney January 12, 2014 (12:33 am)

    Just because some of you can’t fill a micro bin in two weeks, doesn’t mean the rest of us have to deal with an overflowing garbage can. Sorry, I’m not buying into this. Much more convenient with a weekly pickup. Will be present at the meeting.

  • Genesee Hill January 12, 2014 (6:33 am)

    The present schedule works just fine.

  • Laura January 12, 2014 (7:41 am)

    Rats. That’s all I have to say.

  • BetsyE January 12, 2014 (8:23 am)

    We used to have every other week in a previous neighborhood, and for our small 2-person 2-pet family it worked just great! However, we did have recycling every week. So much goes in the yard waste and recycling, we don’t really create that much actual trash.

  • K January 12, 2014 (9:01 am)

    To answer Mike above, we eat out about 4-5 times a month. Not sure if that is a lot or not, compared to other families.

    I think a great solution would be a pay as you dump solutions. Those who waste less, pay less. I can imagine it would be hard to institute, since now it’s a pay-for-can-size regardless of how much, or little, you send to the landfill. This would also work out for those who are unable or unwilling to cut back on their landfill output–no less service than now. I imagine it wouldn’t be easy–this is probably the city’s way of trying to cut back. This is how we pay for other utilities and services more or less, but of course the tracking system may be far easier with those.

    I wonder how much more per capita Seattle resident put in the landfill compared to PDX? I know a lot of families down there don’t have a problem with ever-other-week. It would be interesting to see those numbers, and how their city adjusted with the change.

  • onion January 12, 2014 (9:23 am)

    I wonder if a hybrid system would be feasible? It irritates me to be paying for service on weeks where I have no or minimal garbage or compostable waste to pick up, but then get hammered with extra fees during spring and fall yard or basement/garage cleanup season for putting out extra bags or containers. If people could buy coupon books for ‘x’ number of pickups they could conserve when possible and “splurge” when necessary.

  • sophista-tiki January 12, 2014 (9:44 am)

    My first question is why do so many people have a ” rotting trash ” problem. What the hell are you throwing away? hacked up bodies? Maybe you need to finally be rethinking your garbage making problem instead of bitching about being able to make mountains of trash and have it magically disappear on your command.

  • Katie January 12, 2014 (10:38 am)

    Our recycling and compost are full to the brim for each pickup, but our garbage is only half full. We’re a family of four and our trash, recycle, compost output works perfectly for the trash pickup schedule as it stands currently. If anything, I’d like to see the recycle picked up more often. We always end up having to compact the recyclables to ensure everything fits in the bin by the time pickup rolls around.

    Hardly does our garbage smell as most or all food refuse goes into the compost bin. Although I can remember our garbage overflowing with diapers back in the day…-gag reflex.

    Not entirely off topic, but my in-laws living in Florida have trash pick up twice a week. I’m not sure how efficient that is, but maybe interviewing some other municipalities could help elucidate pros and cons of our current system.

  • JoAnne January 12, 2014 (12:02 pm)

    Seattle uses the utility services as a form of tax. They are continually increasing rates while providing fewer or reduced services.
    When yard waste collection started, our fee paid for up to 10 cans, bundles, or “units” of clean green. Now it’s down to 1.
    This means that during spring, most folks are making trips to the dump again, just like we did before yard waste service started.
    As for rotting garbage, maybe all you garbage “saints” out there should note that the city does not allow anyone to “opt out” of garbage service.
    Even if no one is living in a house and there is no trash to pick up, the city will not turn off its garbage “service.”

  • Bill January 12, 2014 (12:43 pm)

    This might work for a single or a two person household. No way would it work for our family of three. From what I understand, the monthly rate we pay would hardly change. So, half the service for roughly the same price.

    If the city is that desperate to save money, perhaps they should consider disbanding the city council. They waste an unbelievable amount of our tax money (think self-cleaning street toilets downtown), and then come up with ridiculous plans like this to screw over their main source of revenue.

  • AJ January 12, 2014 (2:50 pm)

    Please, just leave us alone!!
    These people (Seattle City Council) are nuts.
    We already recycle, etc.

    Why don’t they make this optional for garbage pick-up?

  • Mike January 12, 2014 (5:39 pm)

    For the people wondering how garbage smells, honestly, it’s garbage. Unless you’re scrubbing and sanitizing your garbage with bleach, it’ll smell. Why do I picture some of the people commenting on here like the people in the Pemco commercials?

  • Alphonse January 12, 2014 (6:06 pm)

    @freddiejr: Can you please direct me to a diaper service that deals in adult diapers? Soiled Depends are the reason that I had to switch to a large can when my elderly father moved in with me. I guess I could just send him to a nursing home and let them deal with it so I could go back to the micro can and the moral superiority that goes along with it.

  • Civik January 12, 2014 (7:44 pm)

    Hah @ Mike. Though I’m guilty of Socks and Sandals!

    You also can’t compost grease! It must be thrown out. Don’t believe me? Read SPU’s info on grease disposal!

  • Betsy January 12, 2014 (10:52 pm)


    You are a saint for taking care of your father in such a challenging situation. I wish I could sponsor your garbage service!

    For a little comic relief re: the garbage preachers here, click on the link in the post above yours.

  • anonyme January 13, 2014 (12:04 pm)

    Unless my solid waste bill is a) cut in half, or b) I’m provided with a bigger can for the same price, this is a dumb idea. Nice try, Seattle – always trying to screw the taxpayer in some new fashion. This is just a not-so-sneaky way to raise fees yet again. I forgot – when are those City Council salary cuts taking effect?

  • bockrock January 13, 2014 (12:05 pm)

    Let’s not forget about the ants too! I live in Admiral and the whole neighborhood is one giant ant colony. Come summer you can easily tell who puts food in their yard waste containers by the continuous ant trails. I ONLY put vegetable matter in my yard waste.

    I require every week service.

  • Mat January 13, 2014 (1:12 pm)

    One thing I don’t see mentioned either is the quality of the cans we use… They’re pretty bad, especially when it comes to keeping critters/weather/bugs/etc out. I think I’d be more open to this proposal if we had a sturdier can with an attached lid like what is provided for recycling and yard waste.

  • jennck January 13, 2014 (3:12 pm)

    If this passes, I feel for my neighbors having to smell dirty diapers and dog poopy for 2 weeks. YUCK. Seriously, this is just a bad idea all around. Especially if there is no change in the pricing structure. The only one benefiting will be the pockets of the city. When I use to live in DC, we had garbage and recycle pick up 2 times a week, and we had big bins for garbage (like our recycle bins here.) There’s just a sanitary issue at play to consider.

  • trickycoolj January 13, 2014 (3:14 pm)

    I’d certainly like to see recycle every week. Mine has been overflowing for a week waiting for this week’s pickup.

    I was hoping to downsize to a microcan this year (single household) since my 20gal is often only half full. So instead of saving $5 and downsizing, I’ll have to keep paying the same amount. I hope that for larger families they can upgrade to the larger can at no extra cost if the output doubles for bi-weekly pickup. And how long until the garbage union complains that the bi-weekly pickups are too heavy because people start compacting their trash and charging us for overweight containers?

  • brian January 13, 2014 (8:56 pm)

    Don’t do it. We have biweekly trash pickup here in Renton and its terrible. Always overflowing trash and having to shove in to the bins. Especially bad with the recent winds blowing everyone’s overstuffed trash all around the neighborhood.

  • brandon January 14, 2014 (12:10 pm)

    The pay as you go system works like this: You buy wicked expensive trash bags from the city and the city will only pick up those bags if put out, nothing else. When you fill the bag, you put it out for pickup. No other service fees.
    This is clearly a half service for full price scam.

  • SarahScoot January 14, 2014 (1:29 pm)

    I’m down for it if, like others said, we see a corresponding rate decrease. I also think it’s ridiculous that we have to pay for the food and yard waste pickup service, but it’s then sold back to the public as compost. Either make the service free and charge for the compost, or charge for the pickup and offer free compost. The double-dipping on that one drives me nuts.

    Right now, my family of three puts out one nearly-full kitchen trash bag weekly. That fits into the smallest can SPU offers. We have a toddler in diapers, but thanks to using cloth, not disposables, we did not see an increase in trash output with his birth. :-)

Sorry, comment time is over.