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King County Executive proposes discount for low-income solid waste customers

Summary

King County Executive Dow Constantine has proposed a discounted fee for qualifying low-income customers at County solid waste disposal facilities. This discount is meant to help low-income customers better afford the basic costs of living, including essential county services.

Story

Qualifying customers visiting King County solid waste recycling and transfer stations would be eligible to receive a discounted solid waste disposal fee if legislation proposed by King County Executive Dow Constantine is approved by the King County Council.

Under the Executive’s proposal, self-haul customers who show their ORCA Lift, EBT, or Medicaid (ProvideOne) card when entering King County recycling and transfer stations would receive a $12 discount off their fee. 

Though King County’s solid waste disposal fees are some of the lowest in the region, low-income customers spend a greater proportion of their paycheck on these types of services. Providing a discounted rate to these customers means they could use more of their income on immediate needs, such as food, housing, and health care.

“Offering a discounted disposal fee for eligible customers means more people can take advantage of our responsible waste management services that benefit public health and the environment,” said King County Solid Waste Division Director Pat McLaughlin, who added that all customers can save money by properly recycling their materials when visiting recycling and transfer stations. 

“A discounted disposal fee helps to ensure equity and a system that is responsive to its diverse constituents in delivering these basic services,” said Penny Sweet, a member of the Kirkland City Council and chair of the County’s Metropolitan Solid Waste Management Advisory Committee.

The King County Solid Waste Division estimates about 300,000 customers would be eligible for the discounted fee.  

There is no charge to recycle cardboard and scrap metal at the King County facilities that accept those items for recycling. Paper, glass bottles and jars, aluminum and steel cans, plastic bottles, jugs and tubs, and textiles can also be recycled at no cost.

While there is a fee for recycling yard waste and clean wood (unpainted, untreated lumber, pallets and crates), that fee is half the garbage disposal fee. Customers are reminded to make sure their recycling is empty, clean, and dry. 

King County operates eight transfer stations, two drop-boxes, the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill, and many programs to help customers recycle. Learn more about the Solid Waste Division at kingcounty.gov/solidwaste.

RELEVANT LINKS:

kingcounty.gov/solidwaste

QUOTES:

“Offering a discounted disposal fee for eligible customers means more people can take advantage of our responsible waste management services that benefit public health and the environment.”
– Pat McLaughlin, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks’ Solid Waste Division Director

“A discounted disposal fee helps to ensure equity and a system that is responsive to its diverse constituents in delivering these basic services.”
– Penny Sweet, Kirkland City Council member, Chair of the King County Metropolitan Solid Waste Management Advisory Committee

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:


Doug Williams, Department of Natural Resources and Parks, 206-477-4543