Tacoma says every-other-week garbage collection is saving money

The City of Tacoma has attached more specific numbers to the fuel cost savings it is reaping from the city’s conversion to every-other-week garbage collection.

In a press release Wednesday, the city announced that fuel costs have been reduced by 44 percent. If that were to continue, the city would save about $163,000.

We reported in April on the first anniversary of the every-other-week garbage project. At that time, city officials said the garbage truck fleet was using about 30 to 40 percent less fuel than when the city had weekly pickup. But they were unable to estimate the cost savings associated with that lower fuel use.

The change debuted in some neighborhoods in March 2013, and every-other-week garbage pickup went citywide in November.

The change in garbage pickup also was projected to result in additional savings from the use of fewer garbage trucks and from not filling positions after workers leave.

The city is still calculating the cost savings in those areas since it’s been less than a year since the conversion to every-other-week collection was complete. But Gary Kato, solid waste division manager, said Tacoma is still projecting about $1 million per year in operational savings other than from fuel costs.