SEATTLE (Waste Advantage): Starting Jan. 2, the city’s Solid Waste Division is changing the way it charges for overflow trash collection. Customers will no longer need to attach pre-purchased stamps to bags of trash placed outside of their carts. Instead, drivers will use cameras to count the extras and add the charges to utility bills in real time. “It’s a new offering that we’re able to give our customers,” Solid Waste Superintendent Tyler Bandemer said. “We have onboard computer systems on our trucks for routing, and through that system…we can bill on the fly, versus folks having to go to a grocery store and buy the stamps for the extra trash.”
Solid Waste will collect up to five additional 32-gallon or 50-pound bags that are placed next to customer carts for collection, for a fee of $3.50 each. Additional bags or items not in bags require a special pick-up. Bandemer explained that the upgraded process is more convenient for everyone involved — customers, collection crews and solid waste office staff, who will no longer have to track and maintain a physical inventory of stamps or work through third-party distributors.
“It’s something we have always offered for extra trash and extra bags,” he said. “But we just feel like the technology offers everybody a little bit more ease of use.” It should also help reduce billing disputes, he continued, “The drivers have the ability to take pictures of the amount of bags that are out to hopefully eliminate any erroneous charges or anything like that.”