Garbage bills are going up March 1 in unincorporated portions of Spokane County and southern Stevens County.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission has approved rate increases requested by Waste Management of Spokane, Valley Garbage Service and Empire Disposal.
However, Waste Management and Valley Garbage were required to make slight reductions in their charges for curbside recycling service. The companies wanted to leave the rates unchanged, but the commission said prices for recycled materials have risen since the rates were set.
Empire, which serves 700 residential and 80 commercial customers in southeast Spokane County, does not provide curbside recycling. Customers in Spangle and Rockford as well as in Whitman, Garfield and Columbia counties are not affected by the Utilities Commission action.
Waste Management customers in Deer Park also are unaffected. The company serves northern Spokane County as well as Suncrest and other portions of southern Stevens County.
Waste Management’s recycling customers will pay $1.78 a month instead of $2.
Valley Garbage Service’s customers in the Spokane Valley will pay $1.79 a month for recycling instead of $1.95.
Overall, Waste Management’s garbage rates will rise 16 percent. The company said it needed an 18 percent increase in part because its customers were stomping 11 to 12 percent more garbage into their cans.
Some customers may be able to dampen the increase by using fewer garbage cans and putting compostable yard waste in a separate can.
The Utilities Commission approved Waste Management’s proposal to collect 96 gallons of yard waste weekly for $6.03 a month from March through November. The rate will drop to $2.01 for monthly collections during the winter.
Valley Garbage Service rates will rise 7.5 percent overall, and Empire’s will rise only 5.5 percent.
Here are some old and new garbage rates, with old rates in parentheses:
Waste Management - Residential, one can, ($9.30) $11.38; two cans, ($18.85) $21.03. Commercial, two cubic yards, ($19.16) $20.31.
Valley Garbage Service - Residential, one can, ($11.31) $11.84; two cans, ($16.92) $17.79. Commercial, first two cubic yards, ($39) $41.96.
Empire Disposal - Residential, one can, ($13.30) $14.05; two cans, ($18.85) $19.90. Commercial, three cubic yards, ($28.40) $30.