Trash piles up

As the snow melted away, the garbage piled up. Allied Waste, which serves Mercer Island, was unable to collect trash between Dec. 18 and Dec. 28 due to icy buildup on residential roads. The company resumed its Mercer Island routes on Monday, after rain washed away most of last week’s snow.

In an effort to help Island residents, whose garbage bins were overflowing with Christmas packaging and two weeks worth of waste, the city of Mercer Island and Allied Waste organized a garbage and recycling “drop-off” at Island Crest Park on Friday, Dec. 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Allied Waste accepted as much household garbage and recycling as its two trucks could carry. The company returned to Island Crest Park on Saturday to collect until 4 p.m.

According to city maintenance director Glen Boettcher, the drop-off station stayed busy.

“I went by there numerous times and saw people going in and out, even from off the Island, I’m assuming,” he said.

A stream of residents stopped by the Mercer Island Recycling Center on Sunday, dropping off holiday boxes, plastics and glass accumulated over the long week.

“I was delayed from coming down here because of the snow,” said North-end resident Israel Rosen, who usually frequents the Recycling Center every 10 days. “But the [Allied Waste pick-up delay] wasn’t really a problem because I had plenty of room in the garage.”

Other Islanders drove to the King County garbage transfer station in Factoria, unaware that Allied Waste had stationed trucks at Island Crest Park.

“The news was on TV and the radio. Given the situation, Allied Waste did the best they could do,” Boettcher said.

Mercer Island was not the only city overflowing with waste last week. The December snow storm crippled garbage collection from Snohomish to West Seattle. In addition to Mercer Island, temporary Allied Waste drop-off centers were set up in Sammamish and Medina. Asking residents for patience, a statement on the company Web site read, “When we are able to resume normal curbside pick-up, we will be picking up all materials normally accumulated during the time we have been unable to service our customers.”

All garbage collected this week will be at no extra charge, the company stated.

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