The City of Seattle makes significant investments to clean up trash resulting from the homelessness crisis. The numbers below have been updated to reflect amounts collected as of October 31, 2018.
Removing Trash from Unmanaged Encampments: In 2017, City removed 3,205 tons (6,410,000 pounds) of garbage and waste from unmanaged encampments. In 2018, the City has removed more than 952 tons (1,904,000 pounds).
Trash in the right-of-way: In May 2018, Seattle began a new Citywide effort to remove garbage and debris from roads, sidewalks, and the public right-of-way adjacent to RVs. Started initially as a pilot in November 2017 in SODO, this new coordinated effort is led by Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), SPD’s Community Police Team (CPT), Seattle Parks and Recreation (Parks), Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Finance and Administrative Services (FAS) in order to reduce negative impacts to public health and safety. The pilot is designed to engage RV occupants to voluntarily move their RVs, which allows City crews to clean and remove garbage, waste and immobile vehicles left behind. The City has collected 242,221 pounds of trash.
Litter bag pilot program: In January 2017, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) began a pilot program to collect trash from unsanctioned encampments and from areas where RV camping is frequent. Working with other City departments and community partners, SPU gives out litter bags and conducts regular and on-call pick-ups. The pilot has collected 671,050 pounds of trash – an average of about 32,000 pounds a month.
Syringes: In August 2016, SPU launched a program to collect syringes through complaints as well as special disposal boxes in City public rights-of-way and small bathroom units in City parks. The pilot has collected more than 132,397 syringes.