Slog

Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Monday, January 13, 2014

Poll: Let's Talk Trash! Should the City Reduce Garbage Pickup to Once Every Two Weeks?

Posted by on Mon, Jan 13, 2014 at 1:39 PM

As West Seattle Blog first reported, the City of Seattle is considering reducing the number of garbage pickups from one a week to one every two weeks. The city's utility division claims that could reduce landfill waste, cut down on traffic, and save $6.4 million annually. A pilot project found mixed results—some folks had overflowing trash cans while others were happy to reduce trash output and increase recycling. Also, raccoons love the proposal. On the other hand, some people suggest that two-week-old meat waste festering in a warm bin outside your home for two weeks of August is tantamount to living in the middle ages. A representative for Seattle Public Utilities is scheduled to hold a meeting with the Admiral Neighborhood Association tomorrow at 7 pm.

Meetings shmeetings. This calls for a legally binding Slog poll:

 

Comments (58) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1
What if your lazy neighbor forgets to take the trash out by trash day? Then you're stuck with a month's worth of festering garbage next to your place. Gross gross gross.
Posted by Subdued Excitement on January 13, 2014 at 1:51 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 2
I'm for it as long as the recycling is picked up weekly instead of every two weeks.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on January 13, 2014 at 1:51 PM · Report this
COMTE 3
@1:

That, and some of the garbage bins are already smaller than a banker's box as it is, so if the City wants to extend the time between pickups, residents should be eligible for larger bins at no additional cost.
Posted by COMTE on January 13, 2014 at 1:57 PM · Report this
4
As long as the compost is picked up every week, there shouldn't be any festering meat...
Posted by So-called Claire on January 13, 2014 at 1:57 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 5
Pretty much here and everywhere else the question has been asked, it seems awfully unpopular.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on January 13, 2014 at 1:59 PM · Report this
tedb310 6
Bring out your dead!
Posted by tedb310 on January 13, 2014 at 2:00 PM · Report this
7
http://www.seattle.gov/util/groups/publi…

Half as many garbage pickups and the customers would, at best, see a 10% cost reduction for the same size cans (both rate curves proposed indicate the next larger size trash can is a 25% increase in the monthly rate). Seems like it's going to end up costing more.

Also, it's racist, classist, and harms us breeders.
Satisfaction was lower for some key demographics, including respondents with lower incomes, larger households, diapers, or larger can sizes, as well as respondents that were non‐white and non‐Asian.
Posted by ChefJoe on January 13, 2014 at 2:00 PM · Report this
8
Basically, it means that I'll have to go from the small trash can to the large one. In the end all this is is the city being able to make more money while we are stuck with stinking garbage.
Posted by Senor Guy on January 13, 2014 at 2:02 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 9
Like other city services, this should be a pay what you generate/use service. Now there is zero incentive to reduce garbage. If the city wants people to make less trash, reward that behavior. Now we pay for trash collection once a week, whether one generates trash once a week or not. If there is trash pick up twice a month, I'll pay for two pick-ups not the 4 I pay for now. But I suspect that won't be the case. The city would never reduce its solid waste income by half.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on January 13, 2014 at 2:04 PM · Report this
10
In Bellingham, you choose among weekly, biweekly, or monthly pickup, and also get to choose your container size, then get billed accordingly. It seems to work quite well.
Posted by Subdued Excitement on January 13, 2014 at 2:07 PM · Report this
fletc3her 11
@9 You pay less for smaller bins. The rates are on the page below. That's why some people have tiny bins. Presumably the rates would be halved for twice a month service, but most people would need to upgrade to bigger bins so it would be something of a wash.

I'd personally be fine with twice a month pickup, but my bins are quite a bit larger than most I see in Seattle.

http://www.seattle.gov/util/MyServices/G…
Posted by fletc3her on January 13, 2014 at 2:10 PM · Report this
Fnarf 12
If you have meat waste in your trash, you are in violation of the law. That's what the yard waste bin is for.

This isn't a big deal. I would love pickup every two weeks, myself; it's stupid to put out the full-size can every week with just one or two tiny bags in the bottom of it, just because once or twice a year we actually fill it.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on January 13, 2014 at 2:11 PM · Report this
13
Olympia went to two-week trash pickup several years ago, with recycling pickup in the other week. Predictions of disaster!

Predictions were wrong. They rolled out some bigger cans, and life went on, largely unchanged. But the city saves crap loads of money, which keeps utility rates down.
Posted by Moag on January 13, 2014 at 2:15 PM · Report this
14
I'd be ok with it only if yard waste/recycling was picked up weekly. Otherwise I can see people using other people's cans to get rid of their trash. I've had neighbors do that occasionally as it is.
Posted by carrma on January 13, 2014 at 2:24 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 15
Everything's fine until someone spills edible paint on your rugs and you have to let them grow in the sun for two weeks in the summer
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 13, 2014 at 2:25 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 16
@14 anything at the curb is fair game
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 13, 2014 at 2:26 PM · Report this
17
@11,
Not rates dropping to half, just an 11% haircut. They presume the same amount of stuff collected and just save on the labor of getting it from houses to the dump.

http://www.seattle.gov/util/groups/publi…
pg 10
Total solid waste expenses for Seattle households represent approximately $50 ‐ 60 million per year, and also include waste transfer and disposal, recycling collection and processing, food and yard waste collection and processing, customer service and billing, customer education, clean city services, utility taxes and administration. The potential savings of $5 ‐ 6 million per year for EOW (every other week) citywide would reduce total household solid waste bills by 10 ‐ 11 percent, minus inflation adjustments.
Posted by ChefJoe on January 13, 2014 at 2:28 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 18
#11 I have the smallest bin available and still pay for an empty bin when I generate zero trash. Let's hope you are correct and rates are "presumably" cut in half. I just don't see it happening, but if it does happen I'll be happy.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on January 13, 2014 at 2:34 PM · Report this
raindrop 19
@12: No, it is not a violation of the law.
Posted by raindrop on January 13, 2014 at 2:35 PM · Report this
Dr. Z 20
This is what Portland's been doing for a while now. If you're a two adult household it works okay. But our neighbors, with two kids, have a very hard time with it and always have overflowing trash. The crux of the problem is that it doesnt take household size into account. (That, and if you forget which week is garbage pickup you have a real problem because you'll have to fit a whole month's worth of garbage in that can.)

In retrospect I think it was a mistake.
Posted by Dr. Z on January 13, 2014 at 2:38 PM · Report this
21
@19, whoah, hold on there.
There are rules from SPU about what can go in what can, but let's not pretend those are laws as in "police arrest/take you to court" laws.
Posted by ChefJoe on January 13, 2014 at 2:44 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 22
Unless rates decrease close to 50 percent, then hell no. Half the service should be half the price, but I'm not seeing that. Notice how the city is talking about how much money *it* will save. Utility payers will be saving little to nothing.
Posted by keshmeshi on January 13, 2014 at 2:46 PM · Report this
meanie 23
@17 I imagine some of the savings comes from the fact that the can rates stay the same and they just drop 50% of the service.
Posted by meanie http://www.spicealley.net on January 13, 2014 at 2:47 PM · Report this
24
I guess I can always use the dumpster at the apartment building next door, for the overflow.
Posted by Senor Guy on January 13, 2014 at 2:48 PM · Report this
unknown_entity 25
In Portland we switched to weekly recycling and compost with bi-weekly trash pickup. I was against it initially, as was Oregonian columnist David Sarasohn. But to our surprise, the plan worked more or less as planned. Portland reduced the amount of trash going to landfills by 44%.
Posted by unknown_entity on January 13, 2014 at 2:50 PM · Report this
urn 26
I agree with @2. In my experience, the trash would probably be fine (family of 4, two diapered kids), but if I'm going to step up the recycling and compostables even more, better keep/start collecting those weekly. Which, I note in the pilot, they say would wash the savings.

We're gonna need a bigger bucket.
Posted by urn on January 13, 2014 at 2:53 PM · Report this
27
I'm in B'ham. Household of 3 adults, 1/month trash pickup in a very large container. We have a kitchen worm compost bin in the backyard which eats all coffee grounds, egg shells and veg scraps. Meat scraps go in my neighbors' food waste bin. Also get recyclables picked up weekly. Cost is approx. $11.50/month. How does that compare with Seattle?
Posted by Beth on January 13, 2014 at 2:59 PM · Report this
28
Personally, I'd have to get a larger bin as I regularly overflow (and yes I do compost and recycle as well). This is just a rate hike disguised as some sort of environmentalism.

By the way, landfill use isn't too serious of an environmental issue compared to other factors (I'm not arguing it's zero), but the costs of transporting and handling are. Utilities seeing a way to reduce these costs find it very easy to make it an environmental issue on false premise.
Posted by Paul F on January 13, 2014 at 3:06 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 29
#25 what was the incentive for citizens to reduce their trash production by 44%? How did you reduce your trash production by almost half?
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on January 13, 2014 at 3:07 PM · Report this
30
I'm sure the PTB have already made their decision. Now it's just a question of convincing the rest of us (that we had input).
Posted by cheakamus on January 13, 2014 at 3:15 PM · Report this
31
My husband and I recycle and compost aggressively. I doubt we could throw out less than we already do. Once every 2 weeks would be okay for us -- but I'd expect to pay 50% less or else, as others have said, it is just a rate hike.
Posted by wxPDX on January 13, 2014 at 3:17 PM · Report this
32
How about they make the system they already have more efficient? I have the misfortune of having the apartment in my building that is right next to the dumpsters in the alley. There are numerous dumpsters there from different buildings. Even though they are all within ten steps of each other, EACH has a different day of the week for pickup. This means that 4/5 weekdays I'm woken up to the crashing and slamming of garbage bins outside my window in the wee hours of the morning, hours before I have to get up and go to work. On some days TWO garbage pickups will happen, spaced out by a couple of hours. So if you managed to get back to sleep after that first one, well, then fuck you.

I know, I know. I bought that corner apartment next to the dumpsters. I could live with being woken up early one or twice a week. I'm mostly enraged by how illogical and inefficient their plan is. Why don't they pick up all of the trash in one stop?!
Posted by BlagHag on January 13, 2014 at 3:17 PM · Report this
Dougsf 34
It could work fine after some time. People are pretty good at adjusting. We're always pretty good at getting used to shit, so...

There's also a note about rolling out bigger bins and the number of years it'd take to make up for the investment. Might want to add illegal dumping cleanup to that figure as well. The trash is still going somewhere, whether or not it's picked up.

My biggest concern, and something the PDF didn't address, is if they're planning on trimming workforce. Sounds like they could do with half the number of trash collectors and reduced transfer station hours on this new schedule. I'd be against it for that reason. Call me cynical, but it sounds a little like their using an easy cause to sell some regular ol' corporate cost-cutting.

Also; rats.
Posted by Dougsf on January 13, 2014 at 3:27 PM · Report this
35
Lots of people are missing the fact that disposal of the waste is a high portion of the cost that you pay for with trash pickup. It doesn't just magically disappear once it's in the truck. So if you guys manage to reduce your total trash output by 50% along with cutting pickups by half, then you'd expect closer to a 50% price drop, but if you're just picking up the same amount of trash but with half the pickups, you're not going to see that. Just as an example: If you manage to cut trash to 80% of what's currently put out, and people thus throw out 160% per pickup, you'll need 1.6 times the garbage trucks if you're managing to keep them at close to capacity, since you'll fill them up more quickly.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on January 13, 2014 at 3:30 PM · Report this
You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me 36
I think the city should just distribute burning barrels and be done with it.
Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me on January 13, 2014 at 3:45 PM · Report this
Fnarf 38
@21, no, you won't go to jail, but the collectors can issue warnings and after three of them refuse to collect your garbage any longer.

@19, the rules are slightly different for apartments, which sometimes don't have separate yard waste containers. But for houses, no, you cannot put food waste including meat scraps in your regular trash.

It's ultimately not a question of the law but of citizenship and human decency. If Raindrop was ACTUALLY a conservative he'd be an avid recycler and composter; there is nothing remotely "conservative" about needless waste or ignoring simple common-sense rules of behavior. Putting meat waste in your regular trash is roughly the 21st-century equivalent to tossing the contents of your chamberpot into the street.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on January 13, 2014 at 4:04 PM · Report this
JonnoN 40
What 35 said. they're still removing the same amount of trash, no idea why everyone thinks they should get a 50% discount.

This would be fine with me, everything biodegradable goes in yard waste. (Btw baby poop belongs in the toilet, not the trash.)
Posted by JonnoN http://www.backnine.org/ on January 13, 2014 at 4:05 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 41
@35,

What? If they're picking up garbage half the time, by necessity, the actual waste has to decrease by 50 percent unless you get a larger trash can, which, by the way, costs a hell of a lot more.
Posted by keshmeshi on January 13, 2014 at 4:05 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 42
@40,

How the hell are they removing the same amount of trash? The utility, itself, talks about how this measure is supposed to cut the amount of waste going to landfills.
Posted by keshmeshi on January 13, 2014 at 4:07 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 43
@38 is wrong about meat in yard waste, rules changed last year, next time read the SPU news in your statement and the mailer they sent out.

You can also put crab shells, chicken bones, and shrimp in it
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 13, 2014 at 4:42 PM · Report this
44
So long as the food waste/yard waste/compost is still picked up weekly, there shouldn't be a problem (unless you're too lazy to sort your trash).

According to the pie chart in the glossy brochures SPU sends out to customers, just collecting the trash is the majority of their costs (58% - actual disposal is a mere 11%). Any way they can make collections cheaper is sure to benefit taxpayers.
Posted by Lack Thereof on January 13, 2014 at 5:15 PM · Report this
45
Lower my rates and move to weekly recyclable pickups. Even with my daughter's diapers, we're fine with garbage every other week. My big recycle bin, however, is always full five or six days prior to being emptied.
Posted by Nic in Greenlake on January 13, 2014 at 5:24 PM · Report this
46
What is interesting is that they talk about cost savings. However, the cost savings are not to the consumer, only to WM. Hmmm. In the end, you end up paying the same amount for half the service. No thanks.
Posted by imrighturwrong on January 13, 2014 at 5:31 PM · Report this
47
Also, everyone's saying a big can costs SO MUCH MORE. Not true. Until you get above the mammoth 32-gallon size, the rate differences are really slim (because most of their cost is simply doing the pickup, not the disposal).

12 gal / 20 lbs is about 20 bucks/mo
20 gal / 30 lbs is about 25 bucks/mo
32 gal / 60 lbs is about 30 bucks/mo

3 times the trash for 1.5 times the price.

I lived in a 3 unit apartment building where 7 people shared one 32 gallon can. It worked because we sorted.

Most of the houses in that neighborhood only had 12 gallon service, and most of them didn't even fill it.

Rather than lowering rates, SPU will probably just increase can sizes.
Posted by Lack Thereof on January 13, 2014 at 5:33 PM · Report this
48
Nic: You know you can request additional recycling bins at no additional cost, right?
Posted by Lack Thereof on January 13, 2014 at 5:34 PM · Report this
raindrop 49
@38: Why do you leap to the conclusion that I don't compost or recycle?
Posted by raindrop on January 13, 2014 at 6:20 PM · Report this
wilbur@work 50
the only things festering in your garbage can should be made of either plastic or styrofoam. Oh, and dogshit in little black biodegradable baggies, since both garbage agencies serving Seattle are clueless.
Posted by wilbur@work on January 13, 2014 at 6:32 PM · Report this
51
I live in a 36 unit apartment building with a bunch of garbage bins and recycling bins instead of a dumpster. The bins are typically filled to the brim a day or two before pick-up. I can't see this option working for us unless the building springs for a dumpster or a bunch more bins, the cost of which I'm sure would be absorbed into our rent.

Also, how would this reduce landfill waste? By forcing more more people to compost? What about people who don't have yards?
Posted by Amanda on January 13, 2014 at 6:34 PM · Report this
wilbur@work 52
However, I completely support this move. I'll get the bigger can and still save $$
Posted by wilbur@work on January 13, 2014 at 6:39 PM · Report this
53
@41: In the pilot they found a reduction of around 15% more than the rest of the city during the program. The amount of trash expected to go to landfills will decrease, but not by 50%. Also, if you don't ever fill your current can, you probably don't need a larger one, and don't need to reduce your waste that much.

So if you get a 15% reduction in waste, if you are running trucks at close to capacity now, you'll need 1.7 times as many trucks when picking up every other week. I'm guessing they aren't running close to capacity at the moment, since it's not covered int he report that I can find.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on January 13, 2014 at 6:42 PM · Report this
54
There's another element here that needs to be part of the discussion. Seattle leads the country in many ways in our garbage/recycle/compost programming and has aggressively pursued diverting waste from the landfill. A portion of that diverted waste goes to recycling paper, plastic and aluminum. The yard and food waste bin goes to Cedar Grove and becomes the stuff that you buy in bags or in bulk for your garden. It's an elegant and sophisticated reduction of stuff that would otherwise be rotting away in an anaerobic landfill creating excess polluting gasses. Instead it's managed in a way that advocates for and improves our immediate environment, from air to water quality to keeping it local.
And the program has worked exceedingly well, but the city has not yet met the goals it set years (decades?) ago for the amount to be diverted. There are many more benefits to the people than saving a few bucks or taking the small amount of 'extra' time needed to mindfully separate their waste.
Most people don't even know (or care) how easy it is to reduce the actual landfill portion of your trash to a negligible (and usually odor-free, unless you have diapers) amount. And it's surprising how much you can put in the compost bin- newspaper, cardboard, toilet paper rolls, used paper towels and napkins (which should not go in your recycling), egg shells, etc. - for it to be returned to a lovely local garden or conservation program in a few short months. It all comes down to being a conscientious and aware citizen. Not just getting all pissy about a few dollars a month. We are lucky to benefit from this and should support a light nudge toward being a world leader in it.
Posted by live.small on January 13, 2014 at 7:08 PM · Report this
raindrop 56
P.S. to Knarf - You made it sound like it really was a violation of RCW to put meat scraps in the garbage, I was merely pointing out that it wasn't. I regret not nuancing your point to the expected liberties you've established in your musings.
Posted by raindrop on January 13, 2014 at 8:42 PM · Report this
Eastpike 57
@12, (once or twice a year we fill it) you need to go ahead and downsize your can. If you have an extra bag, just put it next to the can and it costs something like $8.50. You're paying fifty times that too much, bro.
Posted by Eastpike on January 13, 2014 at 8:51 PM · Report this
LEE. 58
I live in a triplex. we are the only tenants in the building who ever take the cans out. I do not trust my neighbors to do so should I got out of town for the week, thus sticking us with overflowing garbage for a month. sorry, Earth, this is out of my hands!
Posted by LEE. on January 13, 2014 at 9:07 PM · Report this
59
I'm all for it, but I can't imagine what my garbage filled with my kid's shitty diapers is going to smell like after two weeks, especially after a week like this one where he's been battling the flu.
Posted by Dod on January 13, 2014 at 9:27 PM · Report this
60
In Renton we switch over to garbage and recycle pickup every other week and yard waste every week years ago. After initial hiccups with people getting use to new schedule it's now works as smooth as butter. (yard waste) Now the city uses the extra money to have dumpster days and large scale recycle events. So I guess Renton is ahead of the curve. So don't talk about it for years just suck it up and do it.
Posted by sugarbear on January 14, 2014 at 1:06 AM · Report this
61
I'm in Portland. Here, as others have said, we have biweekly garbage pickup, and weekly recycling and yard debris pickup. Here's how it works:

Green bin (large, wheeled) = yard debris and kitchen compost--meat scraps included. Pizza boxes can also go in here.

Blue bin (large, wheeled) = paper, plastic, and metal recycling

Yellow bin (like a solid-sided laundry basket) = glass recycling. As we have $.05 deposits on beer & soda bottles & and cans, lots of folks put all their refundables in there (including aluminum cans), and some enterprising poor folks come around and take them from the bin.

Garbage can = regular ol' garbage can, varying sizes. Takes everything that doesn't go in the other bins--except they'd rather that old paint cans and dead batteries and such go to the hazardous waste sites.

Two adults, with two cats' worth of litter that goes into the garbage, does not generally fill the garbage in two weeks' time. The trick, of course, is to make sure you sort out your recyclables, which is exactly what they wanted.
Posted by clashfan on January 14, 2014 at 4:10 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 62
I am assuming that dipshit had the finest training offered by the AP approved lesson plan taught by the AP approved professor, who enjoyed bills of the highest inconspicuous amount, stuffing his fat wallet like only an uncle or nephew to Paul could ever dream of

otherwise Daemon has a gift for reporting the details in the most completely irrelevant story (Verily I say to you, even completely irrelevant to comedy, which apparently, slog higher ups hold in the highest value above all other irrelevancies)

and if he wasn't or they hadn't had such a foolish set of manly priorities, the story might have been more focused on finding "the sweet spot" to a companies profits

which just happens to be the disease, our "free market" [throw up sic] not only apparently loves, but also doesn't let any other market's exist without being infected by this despicable, self-acquired, self-inflicted disease that they have decided amongst themselves that no market will be allowed to exist without their slimy, fucked up inoculation with their male mindset.

Anyone with half a brain can understand that what should be considered is the efficiency and cost numbers crunched which have only the factors of trucks and can size worked into the equation,

but unfortunately the psychology of how much they can get away with charging you arguably the most heavily weighed factor of all the numbers in the equation.

Had the woman's opinion been cited and credited for her work whom originally observed the so-called free market of United States Economics, and her thoughts on the subject been published before being tainted by the ever important male and all knowing male gender, it would have been noted that garbage collection was not always a private endeavor, it was once a service provided by the government, paid for by our taxes.

Not saying that garbage service should be moved back into the terror-tory of communism, but perhaps the numbers of such a business entity should be examined, specifically what has happened to some of the goods and services industries that went private and are all the Joe Publics getting a better value by purchasing said service through the now privatized (since around the 50-60's) garbage removal service

More importantly, in the realm of this whole process which collection is but one tiny component of the whole process --- one that society must have, or is considered manda-tory like food, water, and energy --- what has been the result of the whole process of garbage removal now that this service has been privatized.

Are the private companies removing items that could be recycled, and allowing them to get burried, effectively removing them from the cycle?

God knows American are too fucking lazy to sort out everything that can be, and since the world remains in complete denial in regards to anything being burried that can be recycled...we are sort of in big fucking trouble with this planet attempting to sustain to day's population levels without crashing and burning

I don't give a fuck if people are to lazy to do the right thing, if they are, they will just have to pay for the services to be done by someone else, because if anyone in charge of any industry that produces products with metal or plastic components that currently have no sorting out of the waste (probably because no facility is willing to recycle them) than that stupid fucking company isn't really a part of the "american dream" which doesn't actually translate to "free market economy"

the correct translation and transcription would read "Fuct American Dream" and it actually translates to exercising one's rights to be "Free to Self-Destruct and Work towards a Collapsible Tomorrow as Apposed to Sustainable.

as it is my opinion that certain industries which society needs in order of cities to function, should not be left to business entities that are private and for profit

for some reason, the entire world has this fucked up view that making a killing is valued over making a living, when the truth is that only those who understand the subtle difference and are willing to voluntarily choose the mandatory minimum levels of Responsibility, will live their lives in this House
More...
Posted by Dirtclustit on January 17, 2014 at 12:45 PM · Report this

Add a comment

Commenting on this item is available only to registered commenters.
Advertisement

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy