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New solid waste disposal rate to support facility upgrades, service improvements and low-income discount

Summary

A solid waste disposal rate that includes a discounted fee for qualifying low-income customers has won unanimous support from the King County Council. The new rate, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019, supports facility upgrades and expanded recycling services while helping low-income customers better afford the basic costs of living, including essential county services.

Story

A modest increase in King County’s solid waste disposal rates takes effect Jan. 1, 2019, and includes a discounted fee for low-income customers. 

“The discounted disposal fee for eligible customers helps us achieve our larger goal of providing responsible waste management services that benefit public health and the environment,” said King County Solid Waste Division Director Pat McLaughlin, who added that all customers can save money by properly recycling their materials when visiting recycling and transfer facilities. 

Under the new legislation, which was unanimously adopted by the Metropolitan King County Council and takes effect Jan. 1, 2019, the minimum fee for self-haulers visiting a King County recycling and solid waste transfer facility will increase from $24.25 to $25.25. The typical (one-can) single family curbside customer can expect their monthly bill to increase by about $0.34 per month. 

The new rate enables the King County Solid Waste Division to sustain the current recycling and solid waste transfer and disposal system while investing in equipment and infrastructure upgrades, including replacing the Algona Transfer Station with a new recycling and transfer station in south King County.

The new rate will also fund major projects identified in the Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, including long-term disposal options. 

The discounted fee is for qualifying low-income residents who haul their own garbage, recyclables and compostable materials to a King County recycling and solid waste transfer facility. Self-haul customers who show their ORCA Lift, EBT, or Medicaid (ProviderOne) card when entering a King County facility will receive a $12 discount off their fee per visit. 

Although King County’s solid waste disposal fees are some of the lowest in the region, low-income customers spend a greater proportion of their paycheck on these types of services. Providing a discounted rate to these customers means they could use more of their income on immediate needs, such as food, housing, and health care. 

King County estimates about 300,000 customers would be eligible for the discounted fee.  

Also beginning Jan. 1, 2019, customers will be able to recycle non-refrigerant type major appliances at no cost, including stoves, washers, and dryers at King County solid waste facilities where scrap metal is collected.

King County operates eight transfer stations, two drop-boxes, the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill, and many programs to help customers recycle. Learn more about the Solid Waste Division at kingcounty.gov/solidwaste.