Most residents happy with bi-weekly trash pickup

SEATTLE -- It appears some Seattle residents can handle fewer trash pickups with few complaints.

A trial run just wrapped up in a part of the city that had residential garbage services happening only once every two weeks, rather than the standard weekly pickups. The positive feedback about the trial could mean big charges in other parts of the city.

In Seattle's Wedgwood neighborhood, the trash talk has been pretty positive.

"I think the pluses are that it makes people think about what they're throwing away and what they're purchasing," said homeowner Lauren Feldman, who said her recycling is more full that her garbage.

That's exactly what the city wants to hear -- less waste, more recycling.

Residents say they also liked seeing and hearing fewer garbage trucks chugging down their streets. As expected, one gripe with the new pickup schedule was the smell of trash sitting around for 14 days.

"I thought it worked fine, except the little garbage can was stinky after two weeks. But I can rinse it out. I can hose it," said homeowner Jan Bucy.

As part of the test run, roughly 800 residents had their garbage picked up ever other week. They were allowed to choose their container size, with different sizes costing different amounts of money.

"The only problem we had was we had to get a larger garbage can. For some reason or another, even though we're old, we have a lot of garbage," said Louis Geissel.

But officials from Seattle Public Utilities say instead of rushing out to get a bigger can, most residents made due with what they had.

"One thing that surprised us from the pilot (program) is that very few people switched their garbage can size. Only maybe five percent," said Timothy Croll with Seattle Public Utilities.

Another surprise is that the city says early data shows that with trash collection only once every other week, families tossed out about 20 percent less garbage.

Each family involved in the pilot program received $100 for taking part in the study. SPU will analyze the findings over the coming months, but a citywide plan wouldn't happen until 2015 at the earliest.