Seattle, WA Public Collection Approach Jurisdiction
Seattle, WA Public Collection Approach Jurisdiction
Seattle, WA Public Collection Approach Jurisdiction · Political: City of Seattle, WA · Geographic: City of Seattle, WA Contact: Ed Steyh, Seattle Public Utilities, Solid Waste Planning, Contract Development and Administration, (206) 684-7645 Mechanism(s): Contracts. State law allows cities to contract or provide direct collection service. If cities do not provide service, state issues franchises (for perpetuity) to firm(s) for service. Date implemented: City has contracted for residential service dating back to the 1800’s; previous residential contract ran from January 1989 through March 2000.
Current residential contracts for garbage, recycling, and yard waste issued April 2000 (including multi-unit housing).
Commercial contracts for garbage only issued April 2001. Replaced what type of system? Residential service has been under contract with the City for many years; new contracts in 2000 standardized residential recycling service across city, changed the sort scheme, added materials, and changed pick-up scheduling. Commercial garbage contracts replaced open collection system with two State-franchised haulers (the same two haulers currently under contract with the City). In 1962 State granted ten franchises for commercial collection in Seattle. Over the years, these franchises have all been purchased by two firms, Waste Management and Rabanco (owned by BFI).
A 1995 study on commercial collection resulted in the City’s decision to exert control over commercial garbage collection; contract negotiations began in 1996. The City reached agreement with the two haulers in late 2000; commercial contracts began service in April 2001. Commercial recycling remains an open system.
Waste streams involved: · MSW: All MSW (unless generators choose to self-haul) except the University of Washington, the Seattle Public School District, military establishments, and the Seattle Housing Authority, which are allowed by ordinance to contract on their own for collection services. · Recyclables: Residential, including multi-family; City buildings, qualifying small businesses, and mixed-use locations can receive service from the City as part of the residential contract, but all other commercial recycling handled under open system (City buildings may be served under the residential contracts).
Yard waste: Residential customers only (City buildings may be served under the residential contracts). · Bulky items: Residential customers only.
Generators served · Count: 145,000 structures; 520,000 residents in 2001; 10,000 business locations/accounts in 2001. · Type: All residential properties; all commercial properties except those that are exempted by ordinance and those who choose to self-haul (collection is not mandatory from commercial/institutional entities). System description · Collection approach (streams/containers, passes): o Residential garbage: Collected weekly by two private haulers under contract with the City, transferred at City Recycling and Disposal Stations and then shipped by rail to a private landfill in eastern Oregon under a contract that expires in 2028.
Curb/alley service is standard. Persons who do not have an able-bodied person living with them and who have physical or mental disabilities, health problems, or difficult topography accompanied by other qualifications, may qualify for Backyard Exemption to allow backyard service at curb rates; backyard service available to others at an extra cost. Service levels include micro-can (12 gal.), mini-can (20 gal.); one can (32 gal.), two can (2-32 gal. or one 60 gal.), three can (3-32 gal. or one 90 gal.). Any residential property, regardless of number of units, can select dumpster-style or cart-style service .
Any request for dumpster service (most commonly from multi-unit properties) would go to a solid waste field inspector. They meet with the customer and determine size of container, frequency of collection and container location.
o Residential recyclables: Collected at the curb/alley every other week on the same day as garbage (alternates with yard waste day). Glass is set out in a bin, all other materials in a 96-gal. cart (cart system is semi-automated). Materials that can be recycled in the cart include cardboard (can also be set out separately), mixed paper (includes materials typically not included in most paper streams, such as paperbacks, food boxes including refrigerator and freezer foods, egg cartons, wrapping paper), aluminum cans, tin cans, ferrous metals (16” x 16” x 12” or smaller), all plastic containers #1-7, plastic shopping bags, aseptic packaging, milk cartons.
Customers may request a 64- gal. cart if they prefer. Multi-unit housing also use a two-sort system and can be issued dumpsters (1, 1.5, or 2 cubic yards) or carts (10, 64, or 96 gal.). Frequency of collection varies by building.
o Residential yard waste: Collected every other week on the same day as garbage (alternates with recycling day). Material may be put loose into carts up to, but no larger than, 32 gal., put in paper bags or in reusable polyethylene bags (not accepted in plastic bags), or bundled with twine into bundles 4 feet long by 2 feet in diameter. Residents may put up to 4 “units” out for collection at the base price (a unit is one container, bag, or bundle); extra units are an additional fee. o Residential bulky wastes: Examples include furniture, appliances, electronics, building materials. Items must not be heavier than 300 pounds or larger than 8 feet long and 4 feet in diameter.
Items must be placed out for collection by
7 a.m., Monday through Friday of the scheduled week of collection. Customers call in for the service which is scheduled out about a week or week and a half. Service provided by separate collection truck. May or may not be on garbage collection day. Customer is told the collection will occur any day over a five day period. o Commercial/institutional garbage: Customers use dumpsters with charges based on a rate schedule detailing size and frequency of pickup. Customers enter into a contract with the hauler for their area for a certain level of service. Residential contract provides for collection of garbage from City owned or occupied buildings and allows for service and charges for mixed-use properties on a case-by-case basis.
o Commercial/institutional recyclables and yard waste: Residential contract provides for collection of recyclables and yard waste from City owned or occupied buildings and recyclables from qualified businesses generating less than 96 gal. of waste weekly. Service for mixed-use properties determined on a case-by-case basis. All other commercial recyclables and yard waste not covered by any of the contracts. · Contract features: o Residential contracts are effective from April 2000 until April 2007, with two additional one-year extensions possible. The contract with Washington Waste Hauling and Recycling (dba Waste Management of Seattle) (see www.cityofseattle.net/util/solidwaste/docs/contracts/contractSpecsWMI.pdf for full text) covers the area north of the ship canal.
The contract with U.S. Disposal II (Rabanco) (see www.cityofseattle.net/util/solidwaste/docs/contracts/contractSpecsRabanco.p d f) covers the area south of the ship canal. Each contract includes collection of garbage, recycling and yard waste. The contract with U.S. Disposal II also includes the transfer and processing of recyclables. Contract establishes a sum total payment to contractor for garbage and yard waste services, and a sum total payment for recycling services, both annually adjusted based on CPI, tonnage collected, and structures serviced. Provides for payment for other services, such as bulky items, excess garbage or yard waste, special collections.
Allows for addition of food waste collection, although at this point, cost issues have prevented implementation. Requires contractors to conduct recycling and yard waste publicity.
o Commercial contracts are effective April 2001until April 2008, with two additional one-year extensions possible. Waste Management provides service to about 30% of businesses (area south of Royal Brougham Way/Jackson Street) (see www.cityofseattle.net/util/solidwaste/docs/wastemanagementcontract.pdf), Rabanco/Emerald City Disposal and Recycling to about 70% of businesses (area north of Royal Brougham Way/Jackson Street) (see www.cityofseattle.net/util/solidwaste/docs/Rabancocontract.pdf). Service areas were drawn to result in a similar proportion of market share for each hauler as pre-contract.
Contractors bill customers directly according to rate schedule established by the City, prices in effect through 2003, and remits
revenues to the City. City in turn pays the contractor for services rendered. Contracts contain collections procedure for unpaid bills. Contracts allow for annual adjustments to rate schedule. Customers may choose “out-of-area” service with the hauler other than that assigned for their area at a 20% extra charge (15% for roll-offs). Haulers cannot refuse an “out-of-area” request. Special pick-up rates are also established for extra pick-ups. The contracts contain customer service standards and penalties, which will be imposed if service standards are not met. The City responds to customer concerns that are not adequately addressed by the contractors through its Dispute Resolution process.
Contracts include CDL (Construction, Demolition, Landclearing) waste, although each hauler may serve customers in any part of the city, not just in their designated area. Contracts provide for rates for “ancillary and elective” services. Contracts provide for the option for the City to require servicing of City-owned street side litter collection containers and recycling in public spaces.
Financing · Mandatory garbage charge for all occupied and unoccupied dwelling units, whether the services are used or not, per City Ordinance. However, an exception to this mandatory charge may be granted if a property will not be occupied or used as a residence for a minimum of 60 consecutive days. Garbage and recycling must not be set out for collection during this time. · Previous to 1962, solid waste collection and disposal was funded through the general fund. Seattle Public Utility was formed in 1962 and began billing customers at that time. All collection services are funded from the rates.
Although recycling service is not billed to customers, the cost is covered by garbage service revenues.
The City sets rates and bills customers for residential service through its utility bill. Residents pay a fee for garbage and a fee for yard waste, but recycling is provided at no charge, including to apartment customers. Rate structure establishes true “pay as you throw” prices (customers pay the same amount for each 32 gal. cart, and customers with 60 and 90 gallon containers will be charged for two and three 32 gal. carts, respectively). Residents pay extra charges for bulky items ($20 per item, $25 per appliance), “units” of yard waste ($1.50 per unit) beyond the four allowed per collection day, extra bags ($5.50 per bag) or special pick-ups ($24.00 for first container, $2.50 for each additional container) of garbage, or backyard service (unless customer is qualified to receive free backyard service).
Residents pay $19 charge for replacement garbage containers. All residential units are charged for basic service (micro can service), whether they use it or not, except for qualified vacant housing units which may pay a reduced monthly rate of $6.25 and qualified units under construction which may pay nothing. · The City sets rates for commercial garbage customers by ordinance. Haulers bill customers according to these rates and remit revenues to the City; City in turn pays haulers for services according to rates established by contract. Small generators that qualify for the City’s curbside/cart recycling program get this service at no charge.
Positive and negative effects of change (anecdotal or documented) · Costs: City claims the costs to businesses overall are lower as a result of contracts v. under the previous State-franchised open-hauling system with two haulers, an average decrease of 7% (a “rollback” to 1994 prices). This is primarily due to increased collection efficiencies with the designated collection zones. · Service parameters: Residential contracts allow residents to recycling more materials. They also provide for standardized, commingled recycling, whereas the previous arrangement had different sorting requirements for those living in the north half of town.
Customers had garbage and yard waste picked up on the same day and recycling picked up on a different day. With the new contracts, customers now have one collection day for all three streams. Residents were allowed to put out five units of yard waste per collection day without paying extra, new contract cuts that to four (City claims that satisfies the needs of about 70% of customers).
Hauler impacts: The contracts are with the same two haulers that were franchised by the State to provide commercial waste collection services in Seattle, and were structured to maintain the customer market share as it existed under the franchise system. The contracts do not include recycling services, so companies providing those services continue to compete for business in the same manner as before. According to the City, the contractors are very supportive of this new program. For them it provides greater routing efficiencies, which will allow them to focus on providing the high quality service required by the City contracts.
Public support or controversies: The initial planning for the commercial contracts began in the early 1990’s. The business community was extensively involved in the initial planning through the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and a panel of businesses created specifically to discuss the creation of commercial solid waste collection contracts. Business community has been supportive because of the reduced rates resulting from the contracts. Also, more efficient routing allows for reduced truck traffic on streets and alleys and the attendant reduction in noise and pollution. 9/01