Food scraps will not be wasted any longer in Seattle. A year from now, meat and dairy products will be allowed in yard waste bins, and turned into compost for local parks and gardens. These bins, as well as the garbage bins, will be collected on a weekly basis.
This is one of the changes Seattle citizens will face in April 2009, due to new contracts negotiated by the city. Other changes include easier recycling, with only one cart where all paper, glass and plastic can be mixed, and a bigger variety of plastic materials to recycle.
"This is a really exciting development," said Hans Van Dusen, solid waste contracts manager at Seattle Public Utilities. He says all households will be able to recycle food, paper, plastic and glass. Multi-family houses need to sign up specifically to receive the recycling bins.
The new contracts will "make it much easier and more convenient for people to waste less and recycle more," said Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels in a press release. "More than half of Seattle's garbage that now goes to landfills can be recycled or composted."
Meat and dairy products are, together with yard waste, processed for two months and come out as black soil, with no similarities to food. It is sold as Cedar Grove Compost at local dealers.
A Seattle-based newcomer, Clean-Scapes, is one the two companies selected to collect the waste. Starting March 1 CleanScapes will serve the City of Shoreline, but is otherwise only contracted as an intermediate consolidator of waste service in Washington, Oregon, and California, says Van Dusen. Waste Management of Washington, Inc. will stay as the second contracted company in Seattle.
CleanScapes fared well overall in the selection process, says Van Dusen, mentioning equipment and customer service as well as a favorable price as all strong criteria to select CleanScapes.
Collection trucks will run on either a bio-diesel blend or compressed natural gas, reducing both noise and pollution.
Both contracts are worth about $30 million yearly, and end in March 2019.