FERNDALE - The city might offer garbage service no more often than once every other week, to encourage recycling and reduce truck traffic.
City Council members discussed the idea with SSC's chief financial officer, Amber Jones, at the Public Works and Utilities Committee meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 30. The committee probably will review the idea again on Feb. 13. A start date for the new service, if any, has not been determined.
In meetings of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee late last year, committee members called for eliminating Sanitary Service Company's weekly service. In outlying parts of Whatcom County, trucks can travel several miles to pick up one container of garbage, city Administrator Greg Young said.
Ferndale would serve as a test case for the proposal. It would affect only the 27 percent of Ferndale households that have their garbage picked up weekly. Customers would have the option of biweekly or monthly pickup.
"The idea is to recycle more," Jones said. "A lot of garbage could be composted."
To help people reduce garbage volumes, customers can get FoodPlus! totes, which accept some plant material and food waste, Jones said.
Every-other-week pickup of a 60-gallon tote, plus the FoodPlus! container, would cost less than weekly service with a 60-gallon container alone, given current rates.
City clerk Sam Taylor acknowledged the advantages of recycling but added the city would get a more direct benefit.
Eliminating weekly garbage service would reduce the number of trips taken by 35,000-pound garbage trucks on Ferndale's deteriorating roads. More than 20 percent of Ferndale's roads need to be replaced, Public Works Director Janice Marlega has said.
"Even if this one thing isn't necessarily going to be the absolute 100 percent fix," Taylor said, "a bunch of little things we can do to increase the life of our roads is a positive."