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Queen Anne community competes for $50,000 by cutting garbage & waste at home

December 21st, 2009 by Thea

Last month we reported that garbage collection company CleanScapes and Seattle Public Utilities were going to be launching a competition to see which Seattle neighborhood south of the Ship Canal could reduce their waste output the most. And now the competition is on! Five neighborhoods  “from Magnolia to Madrona” – Queen Anne included – are now knee-deep in a competition to see who can recycle the most and waste the least. The prize: $50,000 to invest back into a community improvement project of the neighborhood’s choosing – public art, pocket park, P-patch – you name is, CleanScapes will fork out the dough, install and maintain it!

The neighborhoods were selected based on their pick-ups days. And because homes south of the Ship Canal produce an average of 4 lbs more garbage a week than those north of the canal (22 lbs v. 18 lbs), we were chosen as the first test area for the pilot Neighborhood Waste Reduction Rewards program. The neighborhood collection area with the largest percentage decrease of tons between Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 will win the prize!

“We want to slash the amount of waste sent to landfills and to recycling processing facilities,” said CleanScapes’ President Chris Martin. “So we’re eager to see if a friendly competition will move the needle, and make everyone more conscious of efforts to reduce the amount of waste that we create.”

The goal of the competition is to reduce waste by Seattle communities by 10 percent. And, according to CleanScapes, if every resident in Seattle were to reduce their waste by 10 percent, it would add up to 72 tons less waste every day, the equivalent of nine packed-full garbage collection trucks. CleanScapes wrote in a press release today,

Every week, Seattle households toss out 5,100 tons of garbage, recyclables and yard waste. Consequently, six days a week a mile-long garbage train stacked two containers high travels 300 miles to an Oregon landfill. Much of that garbage could have been recycled, composted or, better yet, not created in the first place.

Many in the neighborhood are already getting into the competitive spirit. Queen Anne resident and 36th District Rep. Reuven Carlyle has pledged to do his part to reduce waste and help Queen Anne win the race. “I’m personally committed to achieving a 25% reduction in our family’s waste to contribute toward this contest,” he wrote to us, noting that this will be a tough venture for the family of six.

CleanScapes will be announcing the winner in May, so get a jump on the competition by disposing of your holiday packaging in a waste-conscious way. Other suggestions for reducing your waste:

Households are encouraged to replace disposal items such as paper bags, towels and cups with reusable water bottles; shopping bags; coffee mugs; flatware; kitchen towels and other durable items. Households also can opt out of direct mail lists and phone book deliveries, and many residences can compost grass and leaves (even food waste) in the backyard, where they’re encouraged to use a mulching mower and leave cut grass on the lawn.

For more information, download the program flyer (.pdf). And remember, this is a competition, so may the best neighborhood win!

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