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Originally published January 31, 2011 at 8:58 PM | Page modified January 31, 2011 at 8:57 PM

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$50,000 for Seattle's top waste-reduction neighborhood

CleanScapes announces its waste-reduction contest.

Seattle Times staff reporter

The prize is $50,000, and so far it looks like residents of Seattle's Ravenna neighborhood are going to clean up.

That district is leading a waste-reduction contest sponsored by Seattle-based hauler CleanScapes.

It's the neighborhood that is doing the best to reduce not just its garbage but also its recycling and yard waste — based on a weighing of the garbage, yard waste and recycling produced by each neighborhood.

CleanScapes is the garbage hauler for about 60,000 Seattle households. While the waste-reduction contest actually began in September, the official announcement was Monday when CleanScapes dumped three garbage trucks at the North Transfer Station to illustrate the amount of garbage, recycling and yard waste produced by one household each year.

It's the second year the company has pledged $50,000 to the neighborhood that does the best job of reducing waste.

Last year the winner was the area of the city with a Thursday pickup schedule — Capitol Hill, First Hill, Madison Park, Madison Valley, Denny-Blaine and Montlake neighborhoods. The money is going to build a playground in the Washington Park Arboretum.

Last year the contest involved only about half of CleanScapes' customers south of the Ship Canal. This year it will involve any neighborhood in Seattle where CleanScapes picks up trash.

The leader so far, said CleanScapes' Candy Castellanos, is an area bounded by Interstate 5, Northeast 65th Street, 40th Avenue Northeast and Ravenna Avenue Northeast, also known as the Tuesday North district.

The contest runs from September to September. CleanScapes goal is to reduce waste by 10 percent a year; last year's winner dropped its level of waste by 19 percent.

The goal is to not only reduce garbage but also cut down recycling and yard waste, said Chris Martin, president of CleanScapes.

He suggested residents use mulching lawn mowers to reduce grass clippings, cancel junk mail and buy items in bulk to reduce packaging. He also recommends carrying reusable shopping bags, switching from paper towels to cloth kitchen towels, and donating used clothing and appliances rather than throwing them away.

At 51 percent, Seattle has one of the highest recycling rates in the country, Martin said.

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"People in Seattle do a great job recycling," he said. "However, we can do more to reduce all the material we throw away."

He said the average Seattle household produces 6,200 pounds of garbage, recycling and yard waste every year. Since 2000, Seattle has generated nearly 800,000 tons of waste a year.

CleanScapes plans to provide monthly updates on its reduction program, and the winning neighborhood will be announced in the fall.

The company also hauls refuse in Shoreline and has similar competitions there.

Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or sgilmore@seattletimes.com

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