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Seattle businesses lose dumpsters in favor of solid waste bag program.

Capitol Hill businesses in the Pike/Pine corridor ditched their dumpsters, switching to a bag system that is expected to improve walkability on sidewalks and increase safety.

The Pike Pine Corridor Solid Waste Site Review Program was formed by Seattle Public Utilities based on recommendations from Mayor Ed Murray's LGBTQ Task Force last summer, one being to address dark alleys and other physical environments in Capitol Hill that provides cover for criminals.

When the recommendations were released at the end of July 2015, there had been 41 anti-LGBTQ hate crimes or incidents reported to Seattle Police that year, up 46 percent from 2014.

Dumpsters have been problematic in Capitol Hill, particularly those on sidewalks. They can and have been used as a hiding spot and place to inject drugs and defecate, said Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce executive director Sierra Hansen.

The chamber's Clean and Safe Committee and Capitol Hill Housing both had identified dumpster management in their 2016 work plans. Moving to bags was one of 15 recommendations made by CHH's EcoDistrict in a report funded by the Seattle Office of Economic Development.

The Pike Pine Corridor Solid Waste Site Review Program began assessing businesses in April, looking for a way to get rid of large dumpsters and carts.

"I want to really applaud the work of Sally Hulsman," Hansen said. Hulsman is the SPU director of the Solid Waste Compliance and Inspections

Team. "She spent so many hours working directly with business and property owners, almost dumpster to dumpster, to figure out how to deal with their trash streams."

About 50 percent of businesses in the Pike/Pine corridor have the ability to store their solid waste on private property, such as a building or parking garage, said SPU Solid Waste spokesperson Becca Fong. The other 50 percent are switching to the bag program.

"It's been super intensive," Fong said of business outreach prior to the start of the program. "What we're doing is, we go door to door, and I think every business that is being impacted by this has been approached eight or 10 times."

Under the program, businesses that had their dumpster on sidewalks and the street now buy bags for trash and recycling, which are to be collected three times a day by city contractor CleanScapes. There will still be carts for food waste and glass, Fong said, because those items are not suitable for bags.

Flattened and bundled cardboard can be left out without a cart or bag.

Hansen said the switch away from dumpsters is about a 15-20 percent cost increase. "I think businesses are picking up a good bit of the bill," she said.

Hansen said she appreciates the city's extensive outreach efforts and that it did not take a "one-size-fits-all approach" to addressing the issue.

"There's a lot of really positive things about getting the dumpsters off the streets," Hansen said. "I would say there are some dumpsters in particular that are chronic--chronic--for people to use for illegal dumping."

Hansen said the chamber will work closely with the SPU, to hold the city accountable. There are concerns about bags being torn, either by people, animals or time on the ground.

Fong said SPU will also be monitoring the program, with plans to evaluate it after a month.

Source: Brandon Mcaz, Capitol Hill Times
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Publication:Solid Waste Report
Date:Oct 27, 2016
Words:553
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