Most Spokane County residents soon will be able to haul their lawn and garden debris to the curb instead of all the way to the dump.
The city’s Solid Waste Department and Valley Garbage Service are starting yard waste collection programs this spring.
Waste Management of Spokane, which serves North Side suburbs, began a similar program last year and resumed the service March 1.
On Monday, Valley Garbage will start collecting yard debris from its South Hill customers willing to pay an added monthly charge for the service. The city planned to start next week, but now the program won’t start until later this month or early May.
Getting organic material out of the garbage truck and turning it into compost saves space at the always-at-capacity trash incinerator, said Roger Flint of the city’s Solid Waste Department.
It also saves customers money, said Scott Carpenter of Waste Management. Residents who routinely put out grass clippings each week have to pay for extra trash. “It gets pricey,” he said.
About 2,250 of Waste Management’s 12,500 customers subscribe to the service.
All three garbage services will give customers enrolled in the program a 95- or 96-gallon cart with wheels. “People like it for the convenience,” Carpenter said.
Yard waste will be collected by all three services every garbage day from March through November. From December to February, collection drops to once a month.
About 50 customers have signed up for the city’s program - far below the 9,000 officials hope will enroll eventually.
Flint said he and his employees have been so busy expanding automated garbage collection to nearly half its 60,000 customers, they haven’t devoted much time to advertising the yard-waste program.
One truck will cover the South Side and one the North Side during the program’s first few months, said Bob Alderson, the city’s recycling coordinator. “In the beginning, it’s an inefficient system,” he said.
At least 1,000 residents need to enroll for the city to break even on the costs.
Valley Garbage plans to expand the program slowly. General Manager Levi Strauss said the company has sent invitations to about 1,500 of its 30,000 customers. The service will start on the South Hill, expanding to other areas later this year.
Acceptable yard waste includes grass, leaves, pine needles, pine cones, thatch, vines, weeds, plant trimmings, sod and branches less than 4 inches thick.
Cost of the service varies:
City customers will pay $10 a month from March through November and $3 a month from December through February. For more information, call 625-7878.
Valley customers will pay $12 a month from March through November. It’s free from December through February. For more information, call 924-9400.
Waste Management customers pay $7.50 a month from March through November and $2.50 a month from December through February. For more information, call 466-3400.