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Solid Waste Collection, Recycling, and Disposal

This page provides information about solid waste collection and disposal for local governments in Washington State, including legal requirements, collection options, and examples of local policies, procedures, and contracts.

Introduction

In RCW 70.95.020, the Washington State Legislature states:

The purpose of this Ch. [70.95 RCW] is to establish a comprehensive statewide program for solid waste handling, and solid waste recovery and/or recycling which will prevent land, air, and water pollution and conserve the natural, economic, and energy resources of this state. To this end it is the purpose of this Ch.:
(1) To assign primary responsibility for adequate solid waste handling to local government, reserving to the state, however, those functions necessary to assure effective programs throughout the state;
(2) To provide for adequate planning for solid waste handling by local government; ...

While Washington cities and counties have primary responsibility for managing solid waste collection and disposal, they are not required to directly provide those services. See RCW 35.21.120, RCW 35.21.130, and RCW 36.58.040. The statutes do not mandate that all residents and businesses have their trash collected by a public or private hauler.

The Washington State Department of Ecology prepares an Annual Solid Waste Status Report as part of its to monitor progress toward the statewide purposes and goals of Ch. 70.95 RCW and to adopt rules establishing minimum functional standards for solid waste handling. Further, RCW 70.95.080 requires each county within the state, in cooperation with the various cities located within such county, to prepare a coordinated, comprehensive solid waste management plan. The statute encourages joint solid waste planning between and among adjoining cities and counties.

Washington State Statutes

  • RCW 35.21.120 -- 35.21.158 - Solid Waste Disposal (Cities and Towns)
  • RCW 35.92.020 - Authority for cities to acquire and operate solid waste systems and facilities.
  • RCW 35A.21.060 - Garbage ordinance--Lien--Foreclosure.
  • RCW 35A.14.900 - Cancellation, acquisition of franchise or permit for operation of public service business in territory annexed--Regulation of solid waste collection.
  • RCW 35.13.280 - Cancellation, acquisition of franchise or permit for operation of public service in territory annexed--Regulation of solid waste collection.
  • RCW 35.02.160 - Cancellation, acquisition of franchise or permit for operation of public service in territory annexed--Regulation of solid waste collection.
  • RCW 35A.21.152 - Solid waste collection--Rate increase notice.
  • RCW 35A.21.153 - Solid waste collection curbside recycling--Reduced rate.
  • Ch. 70.95 RCW- Solid Waste Management Reduction and Recycling
  • Ch. 81.77 RCW - Solid Waste Collection Companies
  • Ch. 36.58 RCW - Solid Waste Disposal (Counties)
  • Ch. 36.58A RCW - Solid Waste Collection Districts

Solid Waste Collection and Recycling Service Options

Cities and counties have the following options with regard to solid waste collection (including recycling):

WUTC Sets Rates and Service Area

If a municipality does not provide collection service or contract for such service, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) sets the service area and rates for private firms that may wish to serve the municipality. In case of an annexation, a city is required to grant a franchise to the WUTC-regulated solid waste collector that serves the area annexed for a period of seven years after it notifies the WUTC of its intent to provide or regulate collection services inside the city. (RCW 35.02.160)

Municipality Collection Service and Billings

A municipality provides municipal collection service and billings. Sample municipal code sections include:

Municipality Contracts with Another Municipality

Under the Washington State Interlocal Cooperation Act, Ch. 39.34 RCW, the municipality can contract with another local agency, city or county for solid waste collection services. Only very small cities are using this option.

Municipality Contracts with Private Firm with Municipality Controlling Billings and Rates

Municipality contracts with waste hauler for collection and recycling services, but continues to do billings and control rates. Sample code provisions and/or contracts include:

Municipality Contracts with Private Firm with Municipality Only Controlling Rates

Municipality contracts with waste hauler for collection and recycling services, waste hauler does billings, but the Municipality controls rates. Sample code provisions include:

Municipality Licenses or Franchises Private Firm

Municipality grants franchise or license to a waste hauler or haulers, with WUTC control over rates and billings. Sample code provisions and/or licenses/franchises include:

Sample Contracts for Garbage and Recycling

  • Chehalis agreement for collection and disposal of solid waste between Chehalis and Waste Connections of Washington, Inc.; term 2003-2008
  • Clyde Hill and Rabanco, Ltd., dba Eastside Disposal Company, Contract for garbage, recyclables and yard debris collection; term 4/1/05- 3/31/12
  • Kirkland and Waste Management of Washington, Inc Agreement for comprehensive garbage, recyclables and compostables collection agreement with Waste Management of Washington, Inc.; term 7/1/2011 – 6/30/2018.
  • Sammamish and Waste Management of Washington, Inc, dba Waste Management Sno-King, Contract for comprehensive garbage, recyclables and yard waste debris collection agreement with Waste Management of Washington, Inc.; term 1/1/07-12/31/16
  • Seattle Public Utilities Contracts - Includes contracts with CleanScapes and Waste Management

Solid Waste Disposal

Countywide Solid Waste Management Plans

Recycling, Biosolids and Composting

Recommended Resources

Government Resources

Associations


Last Modified: October 19, 2017