Olympia wants trash cans on same side

ahobbs@theolympian.comFebruary 14, 2014 

Olympia is refining its garbage service in an effort to save time and money.

One potential solution is “one side of the road” collection. As the name implies, this pilot program asks residents in certain areas to put their garbage cans on the same side of the road on collection dates. This would result in faster collection times by reducing the number of passes a garbage truck makes on a street.

The goal is to expand the concept to 15 more areas by September, said Dan Daniels, director of Waste Resources for the city. Launched in 2011, the pilot program now includes neighborhoods at Goldcrest , Carlyon-North, Langridge Loop, Walnut Loop, Cardigan Loop, Fox Run Drive and Dundee Place.

In the pilot areas, Daniels estimates the program has reduced truck mileage by 50 percent, has lowered collection time by 20 percent, and has saved 22 percent in fuel costs.

Daniels and his staff are looking for “loop” roads and any place the trucks need to backtrack. Proposed areas for “one side of the road” collection include:

 • Devon Loop

 • Karen Frazier Road

 • Burnaby Park Loop

 • 36th Avenue and Farmer Way

 • Vista Avenue and Wedgewood Drive

 • Nut Tree Loop

 • Kempton Downs subdivision

 • Woodfield Loop

 • Boundary Street to Henderson Boulevard

 • Edgewood Drive

 • Arietta Avenue and Allegro Drive

 • Eskridge Boulevard to Carlyon Avenue

 • East End Street

 • Lakemoor Loop

 • Camden Park Drive

For the first couple of weeks, garbage truck drivers will ensure receptacles are placed on the right side of the street. The drivers will also tag these garbage cans with instructions for the owner.

“We’re not going to penalize anybody,” Daniels said. “All we’re trying to do is get our customers to help us so we can help them.”

The program is one way to help control rates for customers. Olympia’s garbage goes to the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center at Hawks Prairie , which recently raised its disposal fee to $119 per ton. In 2011, the fee was $89 per ton.

The city’s garbage collection rates also went up 8 percent in 2014, and are slated to increase another 7 percent in 2015. The rate for organics and yard waste collection will also increase 6 percent in both 2014 and 2015.

Olympia’s waste management serves almost 14,000 households in Olympia with a workforce that has gradually shrunk in the past decade. With fewer employees, the city has relied on fully automated garbage trucks, in which a driver can empty receptacles by controlling a joystick inside the truck.

The city’s weekly waste collection alternates between trash and recycling. This every-other-week approach has also reduced costs, Daniels said.

Andy Hobbs: 360-704-6869 ahobbs@theolympian.com

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