Every Other Week Residential Recycling Collection

Starting the first week of May 2021, 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, residential customers will continue to receive weekly garbage collection on the same day they currently receive service. Recycling collection will be offered on the same day of the week but will be completed every other week instead.

The new residential recycling routes are being finalized. Here is the overall map. Soon, customers will be able to access an online, interactive map to determine when recycling collection will happen at their homes. Watch for updates.

Some customers may need more room for recycling. Larger carts will be available, but customers should wait to see before ordering one.

Studies show that most residents only put their 68-gallon carts out every other week or put them out when they are less than full. A customer's current cart might work just fine. If ultimately a customer needs a larger one, they can call 3-1-1, and a 96-gallon cart will be delivered. Bigger carts will be ready for delivery in June, and extra recycling placed alongside existing carts will be collected until new carts arrive.

The change to every other week residential 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.

As we revise 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.

Additional information:

Recycling Calendar for 2021