Carnation seeks to start curbside recycling

CARNATION - The Carnation City Council held a public forum last Tuesday on the proposed plan to implement bi-weekly mandatory curbside recycling and to close the Carnation Recycling Center at the corner of Myrtle Street and McKinley Street. The center has operated in Carnation for the past 10 years.

The plan would also replace the current 32-gallon residential and commercial standard garbage cans with bright green 35-gallon rolling carts to be used for solid waste.

The council had originally hoped that curbside recycling would begin on Nov. 1, but council members will take up the issue again at their Oct. 16 meeting.

"We wanted to digest all the comments and then have it go back to the committee to consider those comments and what's the best way to go," Councilwoman Yvonne Funderberg said.

Every resident would receive a 64-gallon dark green cart to be used for intermingled recycling - which means residents would not have to sort through cans and bottles, plastic and aluminum. Glass would go into an 18-gallon insert that fits inside the cart. An optional 96-gallon gray yard-waste cart would be available for an additional cost.

Four people gave comments on the proposed changes, and all were either wary or disliked the idea of being asked to recycle at curbside. After the public comment time, Dean Kattler of Waste Management of Sno-King addressed some of the questions that had been posed.

Carnation resident Mary Murphy said that as someone who lives alone and is on a fixed income, it would be difficult for her to fill an entire recycling cart, and to pay extra for it.

"I'll be paying for something I don't have any use for," Murphy said. "It seems like it's going to cost us more money as residents."

Deputy City Clerk Mary Otness said there would be no price increase to residential customers who use the recycling program, and that existing garbage rates would remain the same. Commercial accounts, however, would see an additional $1 fee, unless they can prove that they dispose of cardboard through a company other than Rabanco. Waste Management of Sno-King also has a mini-can program, where residents can purchase a 20-gallon can with a lid and two handles that could serve as their recycling container.

Carnation resident Wes Larson wondered what people would do with their excess recycling that wouldn't fit into the prescribed containers, and how the cost compares to other cities who recycle.

Kattler said that based on past history, the 64-gallon cart seems to work well for families, and that they have not had an overflow of excess waste to be recycled except during the Christmas season. He said that if they did have excess, residents could place it next to the containers and it would pick it up at no extra charge.

"We're not trying to stop people from recycling. It's not like we're going to charge them extra for having too much extra out there," Kattler said. "Convenience is the No. 1 issue for sure for recycling."

Kattler said curbside recycling looks better and promotes more recycling because there's no sorting for customers with the intermingled recycling container.

"There's no question we're going to see an increase in recycling volume. If they had something at their door, they would utilize it; we see a lot of yard waste currently in garbage cans in Carnation." Kattler said.

Sandy Hanson, also of Carnation, said that she is very dependent on the city's recycling center, and begged for a compromise.

"I'm just wondering if there can be a creative solution to having it two days a week, or moving [the recycling center]," Hanson said.

Cecelia Boulais, the Carnation Recycling Center's coordinator, said the community recycling center is no longer able to sustain itself with the profit they receive from selling the recyclable materials.

"The market price is no longer as high as it was," she said.

She said that the cost of hauling away the waste to be recycled, is more than what it would cost the city to pay a service to do it for them.

"They came back with a price that was less than the cost to the recycling center," Boulais said. "To the city, it looks like it might be a good thing to do."

Resident Robert Cox voiced concern about multiple-family residences and businesses who have large Dumpsters. He didn't think the largest canister would be big enough.

Under the proposed plan, people who currently have one can garbage service would receive a 35-gallon cart for non-recyclable garbage. A residence with two cans would receive a mid-sized 64-gallon garbage container, and people with three-can service would receive a 96-gallon container. All would be given the 64-gallon recycling container.

City Manager Woody Edvalson said the city would be willing to make some sort of arrangement for people or businesses that have a need for larger refuse/recycling containers.

Boulais said there would also be a cardboard bin and a yard-waste dumpster that will be kept at the city's maintenance shed, should anyone have an overflow. There would be a $1 to $2 fee for depositing materials there.

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