New waste management plan shows Olympia missed waste recovery goals


Olympia’s Utility Advisory Committee acknowledged last week that the city did not meet its waste prevention and recovery targets.

During the meeting on Thursday, February 2, the committee discussed findings that overall garbage generation increased by 14% from 2014 to 2021.

The report was part of the 2023–2030 Waste ReSources Management Plan which the committee approved. The plan included reporting that residential waste per capita also increased by 5.5% which the Waste ReSources Utility attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic as people were mostly in their homes. The recycling and composting rate in single-family houses also dropped from 57% to 51% mainly because the city ended curbside glass recycling in 2020, according to the Waste ReSources Utility.

The Utility Advisory Committee started to work on the planning document in late 2020. The plan was prepared with the assistance of Cascadia Consulting Group, which tapped Bell and Associates to conduct feasibility studies as part of the document.

The document aims to address ongoing issues with waste management. It also builds on previous initiatives of Waste ReSources Utility, which provides solid waste collection and diversion services for the city.

The document outlines various strategies to address the four waste management goals:

  • reduce overall waste generation
  • increase the quantity and quality of recyclable and compostable waste
  • operate safely and equitably
  • manage the finances of the city’s Waste ReSources Utility responsibly

Ron Jones, a senior planner for Olympia, said that key initiatives of the new management plan include improving Waste ReSources Utility’s maintenance facility on Carpenter Road, increasing recycling in multi-family and mixed-use buildings, and conducting outreach. He said the city will also re-evaluate the electrification of its garbage fleet and work to balance rates, codify rates for shared compactors, and update the municipal code.

The document builds on the previous waste management plans, which the city prepares every six years. The last one was for 2015 until 2020.

With the management plan approved by the Utility Advisory Committee, it now goes to the city’s land use and environment committee on February 23 to consider whether the committee wants to recommend it to the city council.


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