Tacoma OKs temp hires for garbage collection pilot project

Tacoma City Council moved Tacoma closer to every-other-week garbage collection by approving a resolution Tuesday to begin hiring temporary staff to roll out the pilot program. The city is expected to begin phasing in the program beginning in January, with actual changes to customer containers and frequency beginning in March. The pilot project will conclude in March 2014.

According to city staff, switching to every-other-week garbage collection will reduce the cost of the residential garbage collection program by between $900,000 and nearly $1.3 million per year. They also estimate greenhouse gas particulates and toxic air emissions from residential garbage collection will be reduced by as much as 40 percent as a result of reduced diesel exhaust emissions.

The plan requires hiring approximately 21 temporary laborers, customer service, supervisory and administrative support personnel to carry out tasks such as exchanging the garbage containers for every residential customer served by Solid Waste Management and working on “knock-and-talk” public outreach teams. City staff estimate the project will cost approximately $1.6 million in operations and maintenance expenses, and an additional $2.2 million in container purchase costs.

Tacoma Public Works staff briefed city council’s environment and public works committee on the plan during public meetings in January, August, and October. Similarly, city council was briefed on the plan during a study session in May.

More information about every-other-week garbage collection in Tacoma is online here.

Tacoma will soon implement a pilot program to collect garbage every-other-week. (PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF TACOMA)