Cleanscapes: meeting the challenge of achieving zero waste


Courtesy of Waste Advantage Magazine

CleanScapes (seattle, WA) was founded in 1997 by Chris Martin, a resident of Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, who was fed up with looking out his window at an alley that was filthy by day and a free fire zone for illegal activity by night. He took his frustration with a system that didn’t support clean and safe neighborhoods, and funneled it into creating a company that would not only transform his neighborhood, but, ultimately, the way in which garbage, recycling and food waste in downtown Seattle is collected.
After establishing CleanScapes as a commercial cleaning company in 2000, Martin developed and piloted the innovative Dumpster Free Alley Program to improve safety in the historic Pioneer Square district of Seattle. CleanScapes customers voluntarily removed dumpsters from alleys, replacing them with daily bag pickup service. Instead of overflowing dumpsters providing cover for criminal activity, Pioneer Square alleys were returned to their intended pedestrian and utilitarian uses. CleanScapes also worked with the City Council, Seattle Public Utilities and the Pioneer Square community to develop the program. As it grew, other neighborhoods became interested in clearing their alleys of dumpsters and CleanScapses expanded the voluntary program to the neighborhoods of Capitol Hill, the University District and Columbia City.

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