Despite limited benefits, Seattle not necessarily trashing idea of every other week garbage pick-up

(Image: City of Seattle)

It probably won’t reduce costs much and green-leaning Seattleites already compost and recycle enough that it probably wouldn’t result in more of that type of planet-friendly activity, but Seattle Public Utilities is looking at transitioning its garbage pick-up to an every-other-week schedule. A Seattle City Council committee will hear a briefing on the plans Tuesday.

Reducing pick-ups at single family homes and multifamily buildings not served by commercial providers would help reduce one key category of waste: SPU’s budget. Early cost reviews suggested a potential operational savings of up to 30% on garbage collection costs, SPU says.

As for savings for home and building owners, SPU says don’t expect much. “Customer garbage bill savings in most EOW scenarios are <10% because garbage bills also cover disposal, recycling, F&YW, customer service, administration, taxes, etc,” SPU’s presentation on the planning process reads.

As for when SPU might make such a change, the weekly service is baked into its service provider contracts through 2029, the department says, but it could roll out a “voluntary” option for customers interested in fewer visits from the garbage truck.

UPDATE: The mayor’s office wants it to be clear —  “the Mayor does not support any efforts to reduce trash pickup service levels to the people of Seattle,” a statement sent to CHS about the committee hearing reads. Got it! Here’s a letter the mayor sent to council member Lisa Herbold about her stance on garbage pick-up.


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8 thoughts on “Despite limited benefits, Seattle not necessarily trashing idea of every other week garbage pick-up

  1. I hope they’re building in lots of money for the increased public cans pickups, when people start dropping their trash in public cans (or worse) when it’s still 4 days to trash pickup and your cab is full.

    • It’s not *entirely* insane, especially for the single-family households. If every-other-day garbage pick-up is provided as an option for those who want it (instead of just doing it for everyone), it’d be a welcome option at my house, where our 11-gallon garbage bin sits empty for 2-4 weeks at a time.

      • You wouldn’t save money letting people opt in and out of every-other-week pickup. The main cost is running a truck down a route, sparse routes are inefficient, people opting in and out makes routes sparser.

  2. What an insane idea…..”penny wise, pound foolish.” If implemented, it will result in more overflowing trash cans on our streets.

    Thank you, Mayor Durkan, for taking a strong stand on this issue. Presumably, that will mean a veto if the Council is stupid enough to pass the idea.

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