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City of Seattle
Gregory J. Nickels (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: Mayor Announces Changes to Help Home Owners Recycle More, Easier

2/20/2008  4:10:00 PM
Andy Ryan, (206) 684-7688
Timothy Croll, (206) 684-7934

Mayor Announces Changes to Help Home Owners Recycle More, Easier
New Contracts Reflect Seattle’s National Leadership in Recycling and Waste Prevention

SEATTLE — Meat and dairy products will be allowed in the yard waste cart, glass will go in the same recycling container as paper and plastic, and more plastic materials will be eligible for recycling, thanks to new solid waste contracts that could take effect in Seattle next year, Mayor Greg Nickels announced today.

Especially important, the new contracts would significantly reduce the amount of residential food waste sent to the landfill each year.

“More than half of Seattle’s garbage that now goes to landfills can be recycled or composted,” said Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. “These new programs will make it much easier and more convenient for people to waste less and recycle more. That’s good for Seattle and the planet.”

The city’s new solid waste collection contracts with Waste Management, Inc. and Seattle-based newcomer CleanScapes, will once again set the bar nationally for recycling programs:

  • All single-family homes will be offered weekly curbside food and yard waste collection, which will include meat and dairy scraps for the first time. Food waste will be used as compost for local parks and gardens.
    Each year, food waste makes up more than 30 percent of our garbage — about 45,000 tons. This program is expected to cut that by more than half.
  • All other recyclable material can now go into a single recycling bin, including glass, paper and plastic.
  • Recycling more kinds of plastic. Beginning in April 2009, residential curbside customers will be able to recycle all plastic food containers such as plastic cups and deli containers, except foam.
  • Less noise and pollution from collection trucks. Sixty percent of the trucks will run on a bio-diesel blend and 40 percent will run on compressed natural gas, dramatically reducing key pollutants in neighborhoods.
  • New contracts facilitate the expansion of the city’s Dumpster Free Alley plan, which is designed to cut crime, reduce waste and generally clean up the alleys and business areas.

Seattle’s goal is to divert 60 percent of the city’s waste by 2012. In 2005, Seattle recycled 44 percent of all its waste. Seattle’s 2006 recycling statistics will be available next week.

The new contracts, which must be approved by the City Council, will bring improved customer response, performance management, recycling opportunities, and waste prevention innovation, said Timothy Croll, solid waste director of Seattle Public Utilities.

The City of Seattle currently has contracts with Waste Management of Washington, Inc. and Rabanco, Ltd. to collect and transfer solid waste in Seattle. Those contracts will end in March, 2009. SPU selected Waste Management, Inc. and CleanScapes for new contracts to collect the City’s solid waste for the period April 2009 through March 2019.

Learn more about the new services at:

Visit the mayor’s web site at Get the mayor’s inside view on initiatives to promote transportation, public safety, economic opportunity and healthy communities by signing up for The Nickels Newsletter at

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