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New solid waste disposal rate supports essential services for King County customers, invests in climate neutrality

Summary

To support vital disposal and recycling programs, expand services and modernize facilities, and advance climate neutrality goals, King County’s Solid Waste Division will enact an increase of 71 cents per month to residential curbside collection bills in January 2022 – the first increase to solid waste fees since 2018. The rate reflects cost-saving measures to reduce operating expenditures and increases the discount rate for low-income customers.

Story

A modest increase in solid waste disposal fees will allow King County to continue essential disposal and recycling programs, invest in updating its solid waste facilities, and move forward with ongoing measures to reduce climate impacts.
 
Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, King County's Solid Waste Division will enact a rate increase of 9.4% for solid waste disposal, an average increase of 71 cents to monthly residential curbside collection bills.

The new rate is the first change since 2018 and was approved by the King County Council in September. The rate increase reflects cost-saving measures that include:

Investing in expanding responsible solid waste disposal by borrowing at historically low interest rates instead of cash financing.
Reducing overhead costs for supplies and support functions, including IT and consulting services. For example, hiring an electrician to provide in-house maintenance, rather than contracting out the work. 
Making smart purchases that save costs over time, such as equipment to create base material for temporary roads and tipping pads, instead of buying the material.
Deferring replacement vehicle purchases that still have useful service life.

New minimum disposal fees will change from $22.53 per vehicle to $24.64 per vehicle, and from $140.82 per ton to $154.02 per ton. Increased discounts for qualifying low-income customers through the Cleanup LIFT program will also coincide with the change, rising from $12 to $14.

Yard and wood waste fees will also increase from a minimum of $12 per vehicle to a $16 minimum per vehicle, and from $75 per ton to $100 per ton. A mattress handling fee of $30 per item will be instituted.
 
Revenue from the 2022 rate will allow the Solid Waste Division to continue essential services and avoid drastic cuts to vital programs and services while supporting capital projects and programs crucial to environmental progress on climate change mitigation, recycling and waste reduction efforts. 

Continued modernization of the transfer system, expanding capacity at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill, and other upcoming capital improvement projects – including constructing replacement transfer stations in northeast and southeast King County – are estimated to create about 1,400 living wage jobs.

The new rate applies to residents of King County, outside of the cities of Seattle and Milton, which are part of separate solid waste handling systems.
 
King County operates eight transfer stations, two drop-boxes, the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill, and many programs to help customers reduce waste. Learn more about the Solid Waste Division at kingcounty.gov/solidwaste.
 
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About the King County Solid Waste Division
The Solid Waste Division is guided by its vision to achieve Zero Waste of Resources by 2030, and to enhance the environment through collaboration and innovation. The division operates eight transfer stations, two rural drop boxes, and the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill – the only operational landfill in the county. Our stakeholders include residents and business owners in unincorporated King County and 37 cities throughout the county. Our mission is to bring the best people together to deliver value our customers and stakeholders, and to continuously improve waste prevention, resource recovery, and waste disposal.