Saturday, January 5, 2013
WALLA WALLA — Starting next month, curbside recycling will move to an every-other-week schedule in an attempt to keep customer service fees from increasing too much, city officials said.
The increase is due, in part, to larger than expected volumes of recycled material, which far exceeded what the city had anticipated when it switched to the 96-gallon blue bins.
“When the city was using the little green bins we were collecting a little over a million pounds in recyclables, and in the first year of automated services it went to over 3 million,” city sustainability coordinator Melissa Warner said.
In 2011, shortly after that switch and while still under contract, private contractor Basin Disposal asked City Council to approve a rate increase because of the higher volumes and other financial factors.
That request was denied.
This fall, while negotiating a new agreement, Basin Disposal officials said the monthly cost for the weekly service would have to increase from approximately $3.65 to $5.17, or the city could move to a every-other-week schedule that would cost $4.39 per month.
In a recent city survey, Warner noted that an overwhelming majority of participants said they would prefer an every-other-week pickup schedule if it would keep rates down.
Customers will still put out their blue recycling bins on the same day of service for their regular trash service. But depending on whether the customer is on the “A” route or “B” route, they will alternate every other week for recycling.
Over the next few days city officials will mail maps and a schedule for the A and B routes.
The mailer will also include a list of what materials can and cannot be recycled.