Council roundup: October 22, 2018

Recology, 2019–20 Budget, LEAD and Community Court, Legislative Agendas
Posted on 10/24/2018
Study session.

Council discussed amendments to the Recology CleanScapes contract, state and federal legislative priorities, LEAD and Community Court programs, 2019–2020 Preliminary Budget, and appointments to the National League of Cities and Sound Cities Association. The discussion of options to enhance public safety was postponed.


Council approved a contract amendment with Recology CleanScapes to address their increased operating costs due to China’s National Sword policy. The amendment includes:

  1. A rate adjustment of $1.35/month for residential customers and $2.25/cubic yard for commercial and multi-family customers. This rate adjustment is in addition to the annual rate adjustment in the existing contract for increases in garbage disposal costs. Recology will announce the final rate increase on November 15.
  2. An enhanced education outreach effort by Recology aimed at producing a cleaner recycling stream of materials that are more marketable globally.
  3. The framework for an incentive program to reward clean recyclers citywide. 

What is China’s National Sword policy?

In 2017, China enacted “National Sword 2017,” which has disrupted the recycling industry worldwide. The National Sword policy makes China’s rules on recycled imports stricter. China will only accept recycled materials if they are less than one percent contaminated with garbage.

Previously, Chinese recycling facilities would accept materials contaminated with up to five percent garbage. Currently, sorting facilities are designed to produce bales of plastics and papers with less than five percent contamination. Recycled material must now be five times cleaner, or China will not accept it.

Only clean, high-quality plastics and papers can be recycled and made into new products. Paper with any traces of food or liquid on them, cardboard with grease from pizza boxes, dirt, leaves, or plastic bags are all contaminants that must be removed.

What does this mean to Recology customers?

The new regulations will affect our customers through stricter monitoring and lower thresholds for contaminants in the blue bin.

Information will come out soon about how you can be a recycling hero! Clean recyclers will be entered into a drawing to win one year of free garbage service.

2019 State and Federal Legislative Priorities

Council continued discussion on state and federal legislative priorities. Council approved the state legislative agenda, with the addition of one item: "Keep the Public Works Trust Fund in working order.”

Council also approved the federal legislative agenda with the addition of one item: “Support comprehensive immigration reform with an emphasis on ensuring that families stay together, and enhancing community and economic stability for residents and citizens.”

LEAD and Community Court

Council continued discussion of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) and Community Court programs for Burien. See October 15 Council Roundup for more information about LEAD and the Community Court programs.

Council voted to approve both LEAD and Community Court programs for Burien.

Department Presentations on the 2019–2020 Preliminary Budget

City staff have presented components of the preliminary budget over the last few months. On October 22, department directors presented their proposed budgets, including services and programs that are funded, and unfunded needs. Council will vote to approve the final budget on December 3, 2018.

National League of Cities and Sound Cities Association

Councilmember Krystal Marx was named voting delegate to the National League of Cities (NLC) Annual Business Meeting, November 10, 2018. Councilmembers also indicated which regional boards and committees of the Sound Cities Association they intend to submit applications.

More information