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In April 2018, SWAC and MSWMAC formed the Responsible Recycling Task Force (task force) to respond to changes in international recycling markets and develop a coordinated approach to improving recycling in the region. The task force consists of representatives from King County, the City of Seattle, cities in King County, solid waste haulers, and stakeholders.

The creation of the task force is a result of changes in international recycling markets, specifically new rules China put in place to restrict the amounts and types of recyclables imported there for processing. With the region's reliance on China as the single-largest consumer of recyclables, the new policies are causing disruption to international recycling markets for mixed paper, mixed plastics, and other materials.

In response to this, the task force will identify common ground for advancing recycling in light of China's restrictions on acceptable recyclables, focusing on immediate, mid-tern, and long-term actions. The task force has committed to meeting until at least October, at which time it will prepare a report outlining actions and recommendations the region can take to improve recycling practices and enhance domestic recycling markets. The report will be submitted to King County and its advisory committees for consideration. Read the Responsible Recycling Task Force Recommendations Report Download PDF 450 K.

To ensure future recommendations address this issue holistically, the task force will use a responsible recycling framework that includes:

  • Focusing on the quality vs. quantity of recyclables.
  • Using consistent messaging across the region.
  • Prioritizing domestic processing and markets.
  • Considering the social and environmental effects of exporting recyclables.
  • Creating domestic demand for recyclables.
  • Realizing and accepting responsible recycling is not free.
  • Measuring real recycling.

Meeting minutes & presentations

Reports and other documents

News releases


Lisa Sepanski
King County Recycling Project Manager
King County Solid Waste Division
Telephone: 206-477-5286 | Fax: 206-296-0197
TTY Relay: 711

Colette Marien
C+C Seattle

Contact Us

 Call: 206-477-4466

TTY Relay: 711

Fax: 206-296-0197

King County Solid Waste Division mission: Waste Prevention, Resource Recovery, Waste Disposal