Tukwila Talk

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Mandatory Recycling and Garbage Collection?

This is a mirror post of a column that will appear in Tukwila Reporter shortly.

The Tukwila Public Works Department is putting together a proposed new
garbage/recycling contract to be considered by the city council. The
contract becomes effective in November. The details are still being
worked out; things could change. The apparent successful competitor
for the contract is Waste Management. The other competitors are the
current service provider, Allied Wastes, and Cleanscapes. This is the
"stuff" of city government that we expect to be handled well on a
daily basis. We can feel confident in that expectation. They do an
outstanding job, day in and day out.

There is one issue that will not be decided until after a public
meeting most likely to occur in April. The subject: Shall
participation be mandatory or optional? About 2,600 single-family
residences subscribe to collection services. About 900 households do
not subscribe.

Some will immediately object to mandatory collection. But slow
down…let’s think about this.

Would you feel the same way if you knew that your neighbors would have
to pay extra if collection is not mandatory? The 2,600 households
will have to pay a premium of approximately $20,000 annually to the
collection contractor. This is about $0.64 extra per month.

Would you feel the same way if you knew that mandatory collection
would significantly improve the cleanliness and image of our city?
People who do not subscribe to collection services dispose of their
garbage in a variety of ways. Responsible residents self haul to the
transfer station; others rely on illegal methods like dumping, using
dumpsters owned by others, using public receptacles not intended for
that purpose, burning, burying and accumulation on property. Our
public works department understands that these problems will not be
eliminated with mandatory collection but do expect significant
improvement and reduction in the cost of hauling away garbage left by

Would you feel the same way if you knew that self-hauling costs are going up?
King County is aware that almost all county residents have access to
affordable and efficient garbage and recycling collection. King County
plans to increase the current minimum dump fee (approximately $20) and
has already announced that free recycling will not be available at
most transfer stations.

Would you feel the same way if you knew that you could participate for
as little as $60 a year?
The anticipated minimum service level will be around $4.75 to $5 a
month..call it $60 a year. For this, you get a monthly pickup of a 35
gallon garbage cart supplied by the contractor. Residences (not
businesses) get unlimited recycling (within reason) picked up every
two weeks. Unlimited? A 96 gallon cart is supplied as standard; one
can place additional recycling at the curb. Public education and
outreach efforts will advise how to box, sack or tie up the additional
recyclable materials. Finally, you get access to the City's annual
curbside collection of bulky items like appliances, furniture and
electronics at no additional cost.

Would you feel the same way if you knew that discounts are available
for some families that qualify based on income, disability, senior and
other considerations?

For the greater good of this community, step up and support your
neighbors and fellow residents of Tukwila. Let the council know that
you support mandatory collection in Tukwila by email at
citycouncil@TukwilaWa.gov and at the upcoming public meeting.

Views: 158

Comment by Emily Willoughby on February 27, 2012 at 12:31pm

My husband and I have lived here in Tukwila for 30 years, and we have NEVER had garbage service. We did not need it. We recycled (glass, appropriate plastics, aluminum cans, papers and cardboard) and about 3 or 4 times a year we took our garbage to the dump. Well, we used to recycle at the Tukwila/SeaTac site which has been closed for a couple of years while they upgraded the dump, so we recycled in Renton. Lo and behold, earlier this month, when I went to recycle I found the recycle site had closed Feb. 1!! Now our options are quite limited, there is no local place that accepts all our recyclables, in fact there is actually no local place that accepts any. The places are quite far away and do not accept all we recycle. Frankly I am quite angry. (That is not the word I would usually have used, but who knows who is reading?) It appears that now we will have to sign up with a garbage pick-up service and pay a lot more money than we have ever had to pay to appropriately dispose of our garbage and recyclables. Frankly I think this is not the appropriate way to reward folks who have been careful about the way they treat their recyclables and garbage!

I like Chuck's idea of a low cost option for those of us who don't have much garbage and do want to recycle. Our options now are to put our recyclable items in the garbage and dump them all. That is neither sensible nor environmentally sound.

Comment by Chuck Parrish on February 27, 2012 at 1:45pm

Just to clarify, the low cost option is not my idea. It is actually part of the proposed contract that is still being worked on by the DPW (Dept of Public Works) and that will be presented to the city council.

Comment by Emily Willoughby on February 27, 2012 at 1:48pm

Well I guess I need to make sure the City Council and the DPW hear my comments as well.

Comment by Michael T. Wong on March 23, 2012 at 4:06pm

We subscribe to the trash collections services because of its convenience for us, with that said. I believe that choice is important. Responsible people should be rewarded for their actions, not punish or pay-up because of the actions of the very, very few.

With regards to contract negotiations, with the added stipulation of mandatory trash service--in my heart, I feel it is just another revenue increasing tactic. The rates can't readily be raise, so lets get more "mandatory" subscribers thereby increasing revenue. What next after 100% subscription?

From reading the Tukwila reporter, it seems like a done deal. See you on April 23rd.

Comment by Emily Willoughby on March 23, 2012 at 7:24pm

My husband and I plan to be there for the opportunity to speak about the proposal.


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