Marlene Feist

Recycling Pickup to Change in May

Marlene Feist, Public Works Director of Strategic Development, 509.625.6505


Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 4:31 p.m.

Recycling Pickup to Change in May

Updated 03/29/2021

Starting the first week of May, residential customers will see a change in curbside pickup of recyclables. That’s when the City of Spokane’s Solid Waste Collections Department will switch to every other week collection of recycling.

This change will manage escalating costs for the recycling program without charging customers more.

Under the revised system, customers will continue to receive weekly garbage collection on the same day they currently receive service. Recycling collection will continue on the same day of the week, but will be done every other week instead.

Solid Waste Collections staff are working now to finalize the new recycling routes. When the routes are finalized, customers will be able to access a map on the City’s web site to determine when recycling collection will happen where they live. Watch for updates.

The change to every other week recycling was approved by the Mayor and City Council in the fall of 2020 during work to update the City’s utility rates. Between 2013, the first full year of single-stream recycling in the big blue carts, and 2020, the cost to manage recyclables increased from $14,000 to $1.4 million. That’s 100 times more!

Those increased costs are the result of:

  • A dramatic drop in the prices received for selling recyclables. Those commodity prices were greatly influenced by China’s decision to no longer purchase most recyclables from the U.S. because of high contamination rates.
  • More garbage in the recycling carts, causing the costs to process material to rise.

While we are putting the final touches on the plan to switch the recycling collection schedule, we are encouraging people to think about “Recycling Right.” Here are a few easy steps to consider:

  • Only put in items that are empty, clean and dry.
  • Make sure items are loose in the cart.

Don’t guess about what goes in the cart. If it isn’t on the list, don’t put it in the cart.

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