Recycling Carts

A different truck will be picking up Washington resident’s trash Monday morning.

Waste Connections will kick off its five-year contract as the city of Washington’s solid waste hauler Monday. The deal includes trash collection and recycling. 

Not much is changing for city residents. Homes that had Monday pickups with the city will continue to have Monday pickup with Waste Connections. 

Billing will remain the same. Containers approved by the city will work with Waste Connections — residents will not need to buy new bins.

One change for trash pickup is holidays. Waste Connections’ holidays are New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The city said if a holiday occurs on or before a pickup day, services will be delayed for the remainder of the week. For example, for Thanksgiving, Thursday customers will have trash pickup on Friday and Friday customers will have pickup on Saturday.

Staff who worked with trash hauling are being moved to other departments, the city said. The city also is keeping a trash truck.

“We will be keeping one trash truck to be utilized as a yard waste truck and to be utilized within the parks system to collect individual public trash cans,” Public Works Director John Nilges said. “Asset liquidation is next on the transition schedule. There will be more information later in the summer.”

Recycling Changes

The big change will be recycling. This month every customer was given a new blue and yellow cart.

The city is stressing the new carts are to be used exclusively for recycling and can not be used for trash. Recyclable items must be clean and dry. 

The new carts will be able to hold paper, flattened cardboard, plastic bottles, plastic containers, glass bottles, glass jars, metal food cans, beverage cans, and food and beverage cartons. It is the first time residents can recycle cardboard curbside.

The new 64-gallon carts are larger than the old green bins, but he said there’s a reason for that. The old bins picked up by the city were collected weekly.

Recycling only will be picked up twice a month. Customers will pull their new blue bins to the curb for their first and third pickup days of the month.

Recycling will be picked up on the same day as trash pickup. The full schedule for 2020 can be found below.

Monday pickups: June 1, June 15, July 6, July 20, Aug. 3, Aug. 17, Sept. 7, Sept. 21, Oct. 5, Oct. 19, Nov. 2, Nov. 16, Dec. 7 and Dec. 21.

Tuesday pickups: June 2, June 16, July 7, July 21, Aug. 4, Aug. 18, Sept. 1, Sept. 15, Oct. 6, Oct. 20, Nov. 3, Nov. 17, Dec. 1 and Dec. 15.

Wednesday pickups: June 3, June 17, July 1, July 15, Aug. 5, Aug. 19, Sept. 2, Sept. 16., Oct. 7, Oct. 21, Nov. 4, Nov. 18, Dec. 2 and Dec. 16.

Thursday pickups: June 4, June 18, July 2, July 16, Aug. 6, Aug. 20, Sept. 3, Sept. 17, Oct. 1, Oct. 15, Nov. 5, Nov. 19, Dec. 3 and Dec. 17.

Friday pickups: June 5, June 19, July 3, July 17, Aug. 7, Aug. 21, Sept. 4, Sept. 18, Oct. 2, Oct. 16, Nov. 6, Nov. 20, Dec. 4 and Dec. 18.

The city is working on placing recycling dumpsters at the recycle center instead of the current system that requires sorting. 

Deal Background

The deal begins June 1 and expires May 31, 2025. The initial term may be extended with two one-year terms if both sides agree.

Waste Connections will be paid $1,183,855.92 per year.

The city began looking to stop collecting its own solid waste and recycling because of a decline in recycling related revenue. Nilges pointed to recycling as the main reason for the switch. He said from the city’s point of view, it’s a labor-intensive operation that runs at a deficit.

A recent downturn in the value of recyclables has made running a recycling operation more costly, he said. The city is having trouble finding buyers for the recycling or getting a much reduced rate.

Right now the recycling program is subsidized by the landfill and trash collections. By contracting out with an outside vendor, Nilges said the city hopes to have about $150,000 annually in savings. 

Those savings will be applied to help pay to close the final cell at the city’ landfill. Nilges said that is expected to cost around $1.6 million. 

The closure is expected to take place in 2025, but could be extended if residents recycle more cardboard. Nilges said cardboard takes up a lot of space at the landfill.