Type of Community:
   Type of Program:
Program Start Date:

Two years into our
program, residents
   had significantly
     increased their
     many had also
 requested services
    that could  help
them reduce waste
         even more!
                        PAY-AS-YOU-THROW   SUCCESS  STORIES
                        Vancouver,    Washington



January 1990

Getting Started: Why Pay-As-You-Throw?
An excellent public information and
    education program  is  imperative,
                         The city of Vancouver is located in Clark
                         County, the southernmost county in the
                         state of Washington, along the north shore
                         of the Columbia River. Garbage collection
                         service in the city is mandatory and has
                         been a contracted service since 1937. In 1989,
                         the state of Washington passed the Waste
                         Not Washington Act, which required cities
                         and  counties to implement programs aimed
                         at reaching a statewide goal of 50 percent
                         waste reduction and recycling by 1995. In an
                         effort to reduce our reliance on landfill dis-
                         posal and to meet local and statewide goals,
                         the city adopted the philosophy, "The more
                         you  use, the more you pay."

                         How  Does  It Work?
Linear rates were introduced in 1990
when the city coun-
cil approved  a rate
increase that made
the second can rate
84 percent greater
than the  first can.
After 15  months, our
data showed a 13 per-
cent increase in the
number of customers
choosing the one-can
                                       basic service and a corresponding decrease
                                       in customers choosing the two-can service.
                                       In 1992, the city implemented a weekly mini-
                                       can  option, and within five months nearly
                                       500 residents had switched to the mini-can.
                                       By the end of the following year, this number
                                       had  doubled and the city was receiving num-
                                       merous customer requests for more service
                                       choices. Three new residential garbage service
                                       level options were implemented:  every-
                                       other-week 32-gallon can, every-other-week
                                       mini-can, and monthly 32-gallon can service.
                                       These options are increasingly being utilized
                                       as customers learn how waste reduction and
                                       avid recycling can help them reduce their
                                       monthly garbage output and bill.
                               of our
                               . -XW


Complementary Programs
In 1992, in cooperation with Clark
County, the city implemented a curb-
side recycling program. The program is
mandatory for single-family households,
and all households are billed  $3.10 per
month for weekly recycling as part of
their garbage service. A similar program
is also available to all multifamily com-
plexes within  the city limits.
The city's contracted hauler also offers
a voluntary yard debris collection pro-
gram. For a monthly fee  ($5.55), cus-
tomers can set out up to 96  gallons of
material. Since the program is voluntary,
it does not conflict with  citizens who
choose to compost  their organic wastes
at home or self-haul to local  compost-
ing facilities.

Meeting the Challenges: Tips
for Other Communities
Vancouver has encountered a variety of
challenges throughout the past several
years, and we hope  that  other jurisdic-
tions may benefit from our experiences.
A significant concern has been whether
we are receiving accurate and up-to-
date data from our garbage and  recy-
cling program service providers. It is
important to  select providers who have
excellent  computer tracking and  report-
ing systems and adequate staffing in
place to accomplish  these needs. All
solid waste programs require the con-
tractor to provide monthly reports that
enable the city to track the program's
activities and  monitor progress.
An excellent public information and
education program is imperative.
Although our experiences with new
program  campaigns  have  been very
positive, it has been  a challenge to
ensure that all citizens are informed
about new and existing programs and
the different service levels available to
them. Our ongoing challenge has been
finding sufficient time and resources to
dedicate to frequent, targeted public
relations campaigns.
When the city first attempted to imple-
ment our once-a-month collection
option, it was not approved. The city
council, along with the local health dis-
trict, had concerns about its potential
negative impact on health and safety.
Monthly service was eventually
approved due to the pressure from
recently annexed citizens, namely avid
recyclers and senior citizens who were
used to handling recycling and garbage
on their own. The variety of service
options, although positive from a waste
reduction  and customer standpoint,
increases the instability of the revenue
stream for the service providers and
makes enforcement of mandatory col-
lection more difficult.

Program Success
We have found volume-based linear
rates to be an effective tool for encour-
aging residents and businesses to exam-
ine their disposal habits, to recycle
more, and to decrease their garbage
service levels. The city exceeded its 50
percent recycling goal by the end of
1995. Based on available data sources,  it
was determined that 51 percent of the
city's wastes were recycled and 49 per-
cent were disposed  of in the landfill that
year. While some  residents are  motivat-
ed by environmental stewardship, others
are encouraged to change habits based
on their pocketbooks. Although volume-
based linear rates  pose challenges, we
believe that they are the driving force
behind our success in meeting our waste
reduction and recycling goals.
Vancouver's success story was compiled by Andrea Friedrichsen and Tamera I. Kins, Solid
Waste Program Manager, (360) 696-8186.