McKinley Post

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Why Seattle still has a huge garbage problem

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Seattle’s garbage problem explained.


It’s a warm Monday afternoon at Seattle’s South Transfer Station – a newly renovated, LEED-Gold certified dump. The self-haul sorting signs are clear, the waste piles are neatly organized, and the place is, quite frankly, gleaming.

But for operations manager Suzanne Hildreth, things are looking a little bit too clean. She glances through a tall window in her office that presides over the garbage mounds below, pursing her lips. “On typical Mondays, we see 1,100 tons of trash,” she says. “Hmmm.” She perches at her computer, pulls up a spreadsheet, and notes that only about 450 have been logged so far.


That could be construed as good news, since Seattle aims to slash its waste stream dramatically over the next few years.

“Well, look at that,” she jokes. “We cut it in half, just today!” Then, with a laugh, she shakes her head. “No no, there’s definitely something wrong. If it’s not…

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