Recycling service expands, garbage rates lowered

The City of Federal Way’s new recycling service will be rolled out at the start of next year — literally.

All curbside customers in Federal Way, as well as customers in most apartment complexes, will be able to take part in the city’s expanded recycling program.

The biggest change is adding 96-gallon wheeled carts to the program. Residents will be able to recycle more paper products and stack bins for other materials before wheeling the recyclables to the curb.

Recycling plastic tubs, motor oil and some other items are also Federal Way firsts. Specific information about the new program was mailed to customers’ homes in November. The changes, which include lower rates for most customers, come as part of a five-year contract that the city signed with Waste Management, Inc. this fall. The contract, which drew four bidders upon going out in May, also includes a pair of two-year extension options.

“Everything’s on wheels now,” said Jerry Hardebeck, a Waste Management municipal contract manager. “People will have more capacity for cardboard and papers and stuff like that.”

Also expanded is the range of plastics that can be recycled, and other changes will get more apartment and condominium complexes signed up for recycling service. Putting out 96-gallon carts at some complexes allowed Waste Management to expand the recycle program into areas it previously did not reach. The carts have had success in other cities served by Waste Management, Hardebeck said.

“We usually end up with 90-plus percent of the complexes signed up for service,” Hardebeck said.

Another change to garbage and recycling service will also be noticeable: a drop in rates.

The residents recycling the most will likely see the largest decrease in their monthly garbage bill. Rates will vary by the size of the trash can used to encourage customers to recycle as much as possible with the expanded service

For customers putting out their own 32-gallon trash can each week, the rate will drop to $11.02 from a current rate of $13.65 — an almost 20-percent decrease. Those who put out 10-gallon trash cans each week will knock their monthly bill down to $4.57 from its present $5.15. That’s an 11-percent decrease.

City solid waste and recycling coordinator Rob Van Orsow, who negotiated with Waste Management on the contract, said he was pleased to see the service level increase while costs came down for most residents.

“The cart-and-bin recycling system will also cut down on windblown litter on recycling days, which will keep neighborhoods neater,” Van Orsow added.

Collection schedules will not change. Garbage is collected weekly and recycling every other week. Yard debris is collected every other week during the winter months through March, and weekly from April through November.

Waste Management, which absorbed former solid waste service provider Federal Way Disposal in 1999, serves more than 18,000 customers in Federal Way. For information, curbside customers can call (253) 833-3333.

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