Stuff Green Carts with Leaves and Food Waste

Kirstin Davis, Communications Manager, 509.625.7773

Monday, November 21, 2022 at 2:13 p.m.

City residents are urged to take advantage of curbside yard and food waste pick up and helping the Public Works team at the same time. Reducing the amount of leaves that will clog storm drains will prevent urban flooding and minimizing food waste at the Waste to Energy plant puts that valuable resource back into the soil where it belongs.

Weather over the last month has presented unusual circumstances for leaf pick-up, snow removal and stormwater runoff. The unseasonably warm temperatures through mid-October have kept leaves from turning and dropping. Followed by a quick drop in temperatures, rain and snow; many trees have not dropped their leaves. Temperatures are forecasted to increase this week; melting snow and loosening up leaves.

“As street crews continue the leaf pick-up we are asking for the community to help out by taking advantage of the warmer temperatures and put their yard leaves in their green carts,” says Street Department Director Clint Harris. “This will be helpful to clear storm drains.”

Thanksgiving feasts can produce significant amounts of food waste. Food waste is best disposed of in green carts with yard waste to reduce negative environmental impact. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a report in 2021 on the environmental impacts of food waste.

How You Can Help

Stuff Your Green Cart - Residents who subscribe the optional clean green cart service are urged to put as many leaves and yard waste as possible into their green carts between now and Dec. 2. Never push leaves from the yard into the street. Take the time to make sure there is a clear path for stormwater and snow melt-off to reach the drains in neighborhood streets.

The 96-gallon green yard waste cart can be filled with all types of yard waste—leaves, pine needles, grass, pumpkins, pinecones, weeds, vines, thatch, plant trimmings, small amounts of sod, and branches. Please do not overload carts and make sure that the lids are fully closed.

Reduce Food Waste and Put Scraps in Green Carts – Make the most of Thanksgiving leftovers with these tips to reduce food waste. Green cart customers also can dispose of food scraps and food-soiled paper in the carts. Acceptable scraps include meat, poultry, fish, beans, dairy products, fruit, vegetables, breads, grains, pasta, eggshells, nutshells, coffee grounds, tea bags, and leftovers. Acceptable food-soiled papers include greasy pizza boxes, coffee filters, paper towels, paper napkins, uncoated paper plates and cups, paper egg and berry cartons, and paper grocery bags with food scraps.

The optional Clean Green curbside yard and food waste collection service suspends service for winter on Friday, Dec. 2.

The cost of the optional collection service will be $18.84 a month in 2023, with no charge when the service is suspended for winter. Customers can add the service by calling the City at 311 inside City boundaries or (509-755-2489).

Even after curbside collection is suspended for winter, recyclers and composters can still recycle yard and food waste at the City’s Waste to Energy (WTE) facility. Clean green materials are accepted year-round at WTE, which is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The minimum charge is $6.29 for clean green material in 2022 and $6.47 in 2023. There is also a self-haul fee of $2.06 in 2022 and $2.12 for 2023.