Solid Waste Code Changes - What & Why

What’s Happening Now?

Seattle Public Utilities and SDCI are looking to update the requirements about solid waste collection in residential and commercial buildings. The goal is to create more convenient and usable spaces for the collection of garbage, recyclables, and food waste so that we can recycle more and send less garbage to the landfill. The most important updates will be to:

  • Require waste collection containers on each floor of 3-story and taller apartments and condominiums. This would allow residents to more conveniently put their waste in collection bins. Chutes could also be used to drop the waste to containers below.
  • Require enough space for solid waste containers and collection activities in new buildings in industrial zones. Also, commercial buildings that are remodeled with new additional space would need to meet these rules.
  • Update minimum widths and depths of solid waste storage spaces for commercial uses, to make sure they are large enough to fit the containers.
  • Require the containers to be collected in places that are level, accessible to the waste trucks, and not obstructed by low-hanging overhead wires or other structures.
  • Allow the City to be more flexible in the permitting of creative solutions for solid waste, if a building only needs less space, or has trouble meeting all requirements.

Project Benefits

  • New requirements will help the City make more progress in reaching its goal of recycling 70% of its waste stream.
  • They will create convenient disposal choices for all kinds of waste closer to residents living in multi-family buildings. This will make service more equitable to more households.
  • It will keep the solid waste requirements up-to-date with today's needs for effective storage and collection.

The End Result

SDCI will make final recommendations to the Mayor in early Spring 2020 for final legislation to be considered by the City Council in 2020.