CleanScapes prepares to start Issaquah garbage service

May 29, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

Customers can expect to see green-and-orange CleanScapes garbage trucks along Issaquah streets after July 1 and, in the meantime, postcards from the company in mailboxes.

The next hauler for Issaquah garbage launched a community outreach campaign in recent days, as the city prepares to change from Waste Management to CleanScapes. The effort is meant to inform residents about options for curbside recycling and cart sizes and, for about 1,000 customers, a collection day change.

The changeover affects most Issaquah customers. Allied Waste — a local name for national company Republic Services — hauls garbage in South Cove and Greenwood Point neighborhoods along Lake Sammamish.

In October, City Council members selected Seattle-based CleanScapes to haul Issaquah garbage from July 2012 until June 2019.

CleanScapes offered more curbside recycling options, a local storefront, wildlife-resistant containers and other features to land the $3.8-million-per-year contract. The company beat larger rivals Allied Waste and Waste Management for the contract.

CleanScapes serves customers in Seattle, Shoreline, San Francisco and Portland, Ore.

What to know

Future CleanScapes customers in Issaquah can learn more about wildlife-resistant garbage containers from company representatives at Highlands Day on June 23.

CleanScapes is also sending postcards in early June to Issaquah customers to outline service options and cart sizes. Call the company at 837-1234.

In the meantime, CleanScapes plans to demonstrate the wildlife-resistant containers against the grizzly bears at Woodland Park Zoo’s Bear Affair on June 9.


Issaquah is not far from a switch in garbage service from Waste Management to CleanScapes.

June 1

CleanScapes mails information packets to single-family homes, apartments and businesses.

June 4

The company starts cart and container relabeling.

June 9

CleanScapes demonstrates wildlife-resistant containers at Woodland Park Zoo’s Bear Affair.

June 23

The company answers customers’ questions at a Highlands Day booth.

June or July

CleanScapes opens a customer service center in Gilman Village.

July 1

CleanScapes service starts in Issaquah.

The municipal Office of Sustainability oversees the Issaquah garbage contract.

“We’ve never had them operate in Issaquah before,” city Resource Conservation Manager David Fujimoto said. “We think they’re going to do fine, but we need to make sure that actually happens. We also need to make sure that all of the promises built into the contract are followed through on as well.”

Customers received postcards from CleanScapes about the changeover in recent days. Expect more materials to reach Issaquah mailboxes next month, as executives offer more information about cart sizes, collection options and collection days to future customers.

Fujimoto lauded the companies for a smooth transition on billing services. Customers can keep existing carts after the switch. Customers interested in switching to a different cart size can do so after the changeover.

“There’s a possibility that there may be a few things that need to get sorted out through the first month of the contract,” he added.

CleanScapes trucks should supplant green-and-white Waste Management trucks in July, but in the meantime, CleanScapes route managers and a geographic information system crew completed route maps. The company also sent truck drivers to the city to practice truck routes in cars initially.

“They’re 60,000 to 70,000-pound vehicles when they’re fully loaded, so it’s good for drivers to see if there are any tight corners or areas that they need to be mindful of,” John Taylor, CleanScapes government and community relations manager, said May 15.

Preparing for the changeover

CleanScapes crews identified individual can locations and then assigned each receptacle a geocode, or set of coordinates. The process is meant to assist drivers in the search for a receptacle in a difficult-to-spot location — such as behind a building or inside a fenced enclosure — or to ensure pickup from multiple receptacles at a single location.

“When the truck is going to pick it up, if the can is in an unusual location — this is more of a problem for commercial customers than residential customers — the driver won’t get lost,” Taylor said. “They can actually look at where they are on the map in relation to the can.”

CleanScapes is installing electronics in the trucks meant for Issaquah. The hardware includes a 360-degree camera system on each truck to record nonstop along a route. The camera is meant to check on missed collections or provide accident data.

Inside the cab, drivers use a rugged tablet computer similar to a tough iPad to track route location and check off each can after pickup.

“If you call in and say, ‘My garbage wasn’t collected,’ the person who’s on the phone can actually pull up the account and it will indicate whether that is, in fact, true, and they can reach the driver in the field and he can go back and get it,” Taylor said.

The company plans to use compressed natural gas hydraulic launch assist trucks to service Issaquah neighborhoods.

The trucks use kinetic energy from breaking to drive the motor as a pump and transfer hydraulic fluid from a low-pressure reservoir to the high-pressure accumulator. Then, as the vehicle accelerates, the system propels the vehicle by providing torque to the driveshaft.

The vehicle runs on compressed natural gas, or CNG.

“They look a lot like a regular CNG truck,” Taylor said.

CleanScapes is renovating a space in Gilman Village for a customer service center. The plan for a storefront impressed city officials during the bidding.

Taylor said customers can stop at the center to ask questions about service and drop off difficult-to-recycle items, such as cellphones.

CleanScapes also plans to offer items meant to help consumers reduce waste — such as stainless-steel water bottles and cloth diapers — and products made from recycled materials, including a bike messenger bag fashioned from inner tubes.

The company already reached out to homeowners associations and community groups to answer questions about the shift in service.

CleanScapes plans to conduct presentations to additional homeowners associations and answer questions at a Highlands Day booth before the changeover.

“June is going to be a very busy month when we’re going to be out talking to a lot of people,” Taylor said.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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