Tacoma to roll out every-other-week garbage collection in March

Every-other-week garbage collection will begin March 11 for approximately 5,700 single-family households in a portion of North Tacoma, City of Tacoma officials announced Monday.

Customers will automatically receive double their current garbage capacity with either a new double-sized container or a second same-sized container, according to city officials. The remaining 47,500 households will switch to every-other-week collection in phases through November 2013. Customers will receive advance notice by mail and phone.

City officials announced the following general timeline (subject to change) for when and where Solid Waste Management plans to implement the switch to every-other-week garbage collection: Monday garbage customers (March/April); Tuesday garbage customers (June/July); Wednesday garbage customers (August/September); Thursday garbage customers (October/November); and Friday garbage customers (April/May).

“Our customers can expect the same level of service as before,” said City of Tacoma Environmental Services interim director Mike Slevin. “They’ll be able to dispose of the same amount of garbage as usual.”

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.

More information is available online at TacomaRecycles.org/everyotherweek.

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