Seattle, WA Zero Waste Goals

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Seattle, WA, US

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Type: Resolution

Status: Adopted on 7/16/07

Vote: Unanimous

Source File:


Resolution Number: 30990
A RESOLUTION establishing new recycling goals for the City of Seattle and providing direction on waste-reduction programs and solid waste facilities.

WHEREAS, Resolution 27871 adopted the City of Seattle's ("City's") 1988 Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan which established a goal of recycling 60% of the waste produced within the city; and

WHEREAS, the City's 1998 and 2004 Solid Waste Plans, adopted by Resolutions 29805 and 30750, respectively, reaffirmed the 60% recycling goal; and

WHEREAS, the substantial recycling progress to date has been slower than expected causing the time frame for reaching the 60% recycling goal to be incrementally lengthened from 1998 to 2010; and

WHEREAS, the City Council and Mayor seek to further reduce disposed waste so that the City can more quickly meet and exceed its 60% recycling goal and build more efficient waste facilities; and

WHEREAS, to address future recycling and waste disposal needs, the City Council and Mayor adopted Resolution 30431 directing Seattle Public Utilities ("SPU") to prepare a Solid Waste Facilities Master Plan ("Master Plan"); and

WHEREAS, the Master Plan, completed in 2004, recommended rebuilding the City's two transfer stations and constructing a new intermodal facility in south Seattle; and

WHEREAS, to further validate the City's waste-reduction and facility approaches, the City Council and Mayor requested that an independent consultant conduct a review of SPU's recycling efforts and facilities proposals. That review resulted in the April 2007 Seattle Solid Waste Recycling, Waste Reduction, and Facilities Opportunities report ("Zero-Waste Report"), which identified new recycling actions and facility efficiencies through which the City might reach 72% recycling by 2025; and

WHEREAS, the City Council and Mayor seek to expand recycling and move forward with facility upgrades by applying zero-waste principles to the City's management of solid waste; NOW, THEREFORE,


Section 1. Goals. The City establishes the following goals for recycling and waste reduction.

A. The City will recycle 60% of the waste produced within the city by 2012, and 70% of the waste produced within the city by 2025.

B. The City will not dispose of any more total solid waste in future years than went to the landfill in 2006 (438,000 tons of municipal solid waste ("MSW".

C. For the next five years, the City will reduce the amount of solid waste disposed by at least 1% per year (2008-2012).

D. Future waste-reduction goals for the period 2013-2028 (the term of the long-haul disposal contract) will be set based on the experience of the first five years, with the aspiration of achieving a steady reduction in the amount of waste disposed each year.

Section 2. Waste-Reduction Strategies. The action strategies adopted to achieve City goals shall apply zero-waste principles. Zero-waste principles entail managing resources instead of waste; conserving natural resources through waste prevention and recycling; turning discarded resources into jobs and new products instead of trash; promoting products and materials that are durable and recyclable; and discouraging products and materials that can only become trash after their use. Action strategies should include elements that:

A. Actively encourage and support a system where producers minimize waste during product design and take responsibility for the reuse or recycling of used products;

B. Promote the highest and best use of recycled materials;

C. Minimize the environmental impacts of disposed waste; and

D. Implement actions in a sequence that: 1) starts by simultaneously offering any new recycling service for customers to use on a voluntary basis, implementing incentives to encourage participation, and pursuing product stewardship approaches to avoid waste or remove waste from the City waste stream and 2) as a second step consider prohibiting disposal of the targeted materials as garbage in order to ensure full participation of all customers.

Section 3. Waste-Reduction Actions. SPU shall propose specific waste-reduction actions, consistent with the strategies described above, to achieve City recycling goals as part of future rate proposals, budgets, and solid waste plan updates. The proposed rates and budgets for 2008, 2009, and 2010 shall include, at minimum, the actions in Attachment A. Additional actions (similar to those in the Zero-Waste Report) shall be proposed as part of future rates, budgets, and solid waste plans as needed to meet City goals.

Section 4. Facility Actions. To help reach City waste-reduction goals and efficiently manage current and future solid waste, the following actions shall be taken to upgrade City facilities.

A. The South and North Recycling and Disposal Stations ("SRDS" and "NRDS") will be designed to accommodate expanded recycling, a retail re-use facility, and self-haul waste and collection trucks in roughly the same proportions that they now experience, but with design elements for self-haul tonnages to be below current levels. While there may continue to be, on an operational basis, some use of private transfer stations, NRDS and SRDS will be designed to handle the City's MSW.

B. To the extent that the recycling and disposal stations experience decreases in total tonnages of waste disposed, the City will explore the possibility of adding additional waste-reduction and recycling programs, and the stations will be designed to facilitate conversion of space dedicated to disposal to waste reduction and recycling.

C. The City will purchase additional properties for the development of the new SRDS.

Section 5. Reporting. SPU will report to Council by July 1 of each year on the previous year's progress toward recycling goals, as well as further steps to be taken to meet goals in the current and upcoming years. Each annual report shall contain the comments of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee.