Food-trash recycling at homes to be required by Seattle in '09
All single-family homes in Seattle must sign up for table-scrap recycling in 2009, the City Council decided Monday. While residents will have...
Seattle Times staff reporter
All single-family homes in Seattle must sign up for table-scrap recycling in 2009, the City Council decided Monday.
While residents will have to pay for the service, the city will not check whether they are actually dumping food in the new separate bin.
Reducing food trash was a piece of a larger plan the council unanimously approved Monday to reduce the amount of garbage sent to the landfill.
"We can reduce the waste stream," said Councilmember Richard Conlin, chair of the utilities committee. "We can treat waste as a resource and continue to recirculate it as we reclaim, recycle it or turn it into compost."
Starting in April 2009, all single-family homes will be required to subscribe to food-waste recycling, a program that is now optional through the yard-waste collection program. A variety of containers will be available for different rates. Prices have not been set.
Recycling food waste will be voluntary for apartments, as well as for businesses, which produce twice as much food waste as residents.
Conlin said he hopes garbage-collection rates can be adjusted to absorb some of the additional cost homeowners will have to pay for food recycling.
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) will study a ban on putting food waste in the garbage can — and enforcing the ban as it does with aluminum, paper and glass. If businesses, apartments and houses place recyclable material in their trash, violators are fined or their garbage doesn't get picked up.
By 2025, the council hopes, the city will divert 72 percent of its garbage from the landfill.
Seattle recycles 44 percent of its trash now. In 2003, Mayor Greg Nickels hoped to reach 60 percent by 2010, but that goal has been pushed back to 2012.
The council resolution adopted Monday dropped a controversial plan to build a new garbage facility in Georgetown where trash would be transferred from trucks to trains.
Neighbors there protested, saying it would increase truck traffic on their streets.
Two existing facilities in Wallingford and South Park will be rebuilt and expanded.
In another effort to reduce landfill waste, the council wants to raise self-haul rates at the transfer station in 2008, and eventually eliminate the do-it-yourself trips to the transfer stations.
The council declined to ban Styrofoam and plastic garbage bags. For now, SPU will study a ban and plastic-bag tax and report back to the council by the end of this year.
Sharon Pian Chan: 206-464-2958 or email@example.com
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