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EcoDistrict is diving for dumpster solutions on Capitol Hill

(Image: Kate Clark via Flickr)

(Image: Kate Clark via Flickr)

We all contribute to it, but most people never want to think about trash until it becomes a totally unavoidable problem. Some would say the dumpsters around Pike/Pine have reached that tipping point.

As part of their mission to foster a more livable urban neighborhood, the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict will use $10,000 from a city grant to develop solutions to make the neighborhood’s dumpsters less of a nuisance.

Finding a way to get the dumpsters out of the public right of way will be near the top of the to-do list.

“You can’t permanently store garbage receptacles in the right of way,” said EcoDistrict director Joel Sisolak. “But the challenge is if you don’t put them in the right of way, where can you put them?”

While the mostly alley-less neighborhood has long dealt with dumpsters in plain view, the issue has been exacerbated in recent years by Capitol Hill’s explosion of construction and new residents. For instance, the dumpsters that accumulated at 11th and Pike had been dispersed across a larger area before three construction sites ate up the space.

One solution the EcoDistrict will be exploring is the city’s Clean Alley’s program. Currently operating in Pioneer Square, the program replaces the large metal dumpsters with plastic bags that are picked up twice daily.

CleanScapes, the city’s garbage contractor for Capitol Hill and downtown, touts the program as a cleaner and safer alternative to dumpsters. Many Pioneer Square business owners seem to agree, though trash-loving rodents have caused some problems.

Another potential roadblock: businesses would have to pony up more money to get it done. Sisolak said part of the grant money will be used to reach out to neighborhood business owners to get their input.

“The current situation is untenable,” Sisolak said. “But it has to be a change that works for the businesses and the neighborhoods.”

If that doesn’t work, maybe these underground receptacles in China deserve a look.

Along with concerns over increased street crime, the trash issue was a focal point in Mayor Ed Murray’s “Find It, Fix It” walk through the neighborhood last fall. In an effort to deal with some public safety issues, another chunk of the Only In Seattle grant will fund a study into making part of Pike/Pine pedestrian-only.

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10 thoughts on “EcoDistrict is diving for dumpster solutions on Capitol Hill

  1. Get the dumpsters off the sidewalk too. QFC Broadway Market has two dumpsters that take half the sidewalk.

    The Cuff on cap hill has been using Cleanscape trash bags for at least a couple of years.

  2. It’s a city. Cities have dumpsters. They don’t bother me. What bothers me are people stacking trash beside a dumpster. And not even because it’s locked, but because they’re lazy. How do plastic bags solve that? Can you open them and put stuff in?

  3. There already is a solution to this problem, and it’s called the “dumpster-free program,” managed by Cleanscapes. It is available for Broadway businesses….not sure about Pike/Pine….but very few take advantage of it for reasons which are not obvious (? inertia, ? cost concerns). In order for this program to make a real difference, it needs to be made mandatory, as it is in Pioneer Square.

  4. A much larger, much more dense city (Buenos Aires) just gave each block one parking space for a trash dumpster and one space for a dumpster-sized recycle bin. spaces are marked by yellow or green bumpers. Collection trucks have easy access. It would be practically free to do this in Pike-Pine, altho the drivers will scream about loss of a parking space.

    • We already do this in some areas today. You’ll see them near Value Village, Wild Rose, near Neumos. They’re an eyesore and part of the reason we’re trying to get away from having dumpsters on our streets.

      • I agree, Timmy. Dumpsters need to be out-of-sight as much as possible. It’s not only the graffiti-covered containers themselves, but the inevitable overflowing trash and illegal dumping which accompanies them.

    • I’d prefer that to the Cleanscapes solution that apparently generates *more* trash (the bags themselves). As a middle road, emptying the dumpsters more regularly and catching and fining people who litter next to the dumpster would help.

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