Last December , the Seattle Council approved legislation authorizing Seattle Public Utilities to revise its contracts with solid waste collection companies that would pave the way to a “One Less Truck” program in 2015. The legislation set the stage for every other week garbage collection that supposedly could provide more incentive for waste reduction, cut garbage truck traffic in neighborhoods by 20 percent, and reduce overall system costs by about $6 million annually.
Today, Mayor Ed Murray said he’ll ask the Council and SPU to shelve plans for reducing garbage collections to every other week.
In a letter to Sally Bagshaw, chair of the Council’s Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee, Murray said his decision was based on an evaluation of the city’s recent pilot program that tested every-other-week garbage collection in four neighborhoods, and on the recommendation of a special customer review panel.
Bagshaw said she supports the mayor’s decision.
According to a press release sent out by the mayor’s staff, Murray said his decision was motivated primarily out of concerns that the proposed program could work hardship on some Seattle residents, and that he remains strongly committed to the city’s recycling ethic and goals.
“Based on projections in the City’s recently-adopted Solid Waste Managment Plan, we should be able to stay on track with our recycling goals without resorting to every-other-week garbage collections,” Murray said. “If that turns out not to be the case, we can always reassess.”
Murray said he has directed SPU to review and recommend the means to achieve the city’s 60 percent recycling goal through other recycling programs. That recommendation will be presented to the mayor and the City Council by the end of June.
“I agree with Mayor Murray that every-other-week garbage collection does not give Seattleites sufficient value to offset the personal costs involved,” said Bagshaw.
“While every-other-week service would reduce garbage service by half it would not reduce residential bills by half. We must look to other programs to increase our city’s recycling and composting opportunities, and I will work with the Mayor and Seattle Public Utilities to achieve the city’s goals.”