The King County Board of Health (Board) sets the Program's solid waste (garbage) rates. In 2014, the Board was briefed on this proposal at their April meeting. They adopted it at their July meeting. Changes to the rates became effective April 1, 2015.
1. Why is a change being made to local hazardous waste garbage fees?
2. Who will be affected by the rate change?
3. How will rates change under the new structure?
4. Will fees change for recycling, composting, or yard waste services?
5. How much will my rates change?
6. Are there other changes associated with the new rate structure?
7. How does the new rate structure change affect single-family residences?
8. Will my garbage bill look the same?
9. Who do I contact for more information?
The Program is interested in making its rates fairer by considering relative volumes of waste generated by different ratepayers. The current flat rate system isn’t fair for businesses or multi-family residences that generate small amounts of garbage because they are charged the same flat rate as companies and multi-family developments that produce large volumes of garbage. Also, some multi-family residences pay different fees depending on how their accounts are structured with their garbage collection service provider. Under the new system, multi-family residences throughout King County will be charged in a consistent manner, using the same volume-based fee structure.
Rate changes will affect commercial (business and multi-family residential) garbage accounts (7% of accounts countywide). Single-family residential accounts (93% of accounts) will not be affected. The new rate structure will be applied to all types of non-residential accounts including businesses, private enterprises, not-for-profit organizations, public agencies, schools, medical organizations and healthcare facilities. It will also apply to all multi-family residences including condominiums, apartment buildings, townhouses, and multiplexes.
Local hazardous waste solid waste account rates are currently charged as a flat fee. Under the new structure, commercial services (businesses and multi-family residences) will pay fees based upon the size of their garbage containers. Three rates will be established, reflecting small, medium, and large-size containers. Single-family homes will continue to be charged a flat fee.
This proposed change will not affect recycling, composting, or yard waste services.
If you are a business or multi-family residence, the answer depends on how much garbage you produce – fees are based on the size of your garbage container. Charges are applied per month for each type of garbage service you have based on container size.
Under the new structure, approximately 20% of accounts will pay less than they are now; 71% will pay about a dollar more, and about 8% will pay about $35 more.
Yes. Fees will shift from being charged per account to being charged per “service,” so accounts that include multiple garbage collection services will be charged separately under the new structure.
Most commercial ratepayers have one solid waste collection service. A few (about 6%) have more than one service.
Example: A business with a 10-gallon garbage can and a dumpster will pay local hazardous waste fees for both services. The business would pay two monthly fees -- $1.46 per month (for the 10-gallon can service), and $12.01 per month (for the dumpster service) – for a total of $13.47 per month.
The per-service billing will be similar for accounts that cover multiple sites.
Example: A school district has an 8-yard dumpster at each of its five campuses, and a 12-yard roll-off container at a sixth site.
The school district would be charged monthly fees of $12.01 x 5 (for each 8-cubic yard dumpster service), and $46.15 (for the 12-yard roll-off container at the sixth site) – for a total of $107.66 per month. If the school district currently is paying the local hazardous waste fee at each site, this is an increase of $38.76 over their current fee.
Relatively few accounts currently bundle multiple services or sites, so the number of those who will be billed for more than one service is expected to be fairly small. A relatively small number of accounts (estimated to be fewer than 50) will see rates increase to above $100 per month.
The new local hazardous waste rate structure change does not apply to single-family residences. However, these residents will see a slight reduction in their local hazardous waste fee (a decrease of 24 cents each month), because the total cost to safely dispose of hazardous waste would be shared more fairly between small and large volume residential ratepayers.
Yes, your garbage bill will look the same physically, but you may see a change in the amount you are billed for the local hazardous waste fee.
For more information about the proposed garbage surcharges, contact Liz Tennant at Liz.Tennant@kingcounty.gov or (206) 284-7974.
Last Updated: 5/12/15
* Business includes all businesses and other commercial enterprises, not-for-profit organizations, governments, schools, universities, hospitals and other institutions. Multi-family includes condominiums, apartment buildings, townhouses and multiplexes.