Planning for the comprehensive management of solid waste in the region is one of King County’s primary functions according to the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 70.95.080 external link . It includes coordination with many jurisdictions, including the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Committee, the King County Board of Health and Regional Policy Committee, and the 37 cities and unincorporated area councils of the region we serve. It also involves citizen input through surveys, meetings and other forms of public involvement.
One important element in planning the future of solid waste services is forecasting what and how much waste we will reduce, recycle, and dispose. This information, combined with an understanding of who uses the regional system, enables us to ensure that we have adequate services and facilities for the future.
SWD plans for future needs through this forecasting. Forecasts are built by combining historical data on the region’s past and current waste disposal stream with information about a number of variables known to affect it. Some of these variables include projections for growth in the region, such as population, employment, household size and per capita income. This information is folded into econometric models that give a baseline prediction of future waste generation. The final step in forecasting is to account for the expected effectiveness of future programs for reducing waste disposal in the region.
The primary planning tool for the system is the 20-year Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan. The current adopted plan was published in November 2019. The plan is reviewed every three to five years to determine if an updated plan is needed. The process for publishing the plan includes a full public review process and participation by other county staff and agencies, city staff and elected officials, the King County Executive and Council, the regional private hauling companies and other stakeholders.
Another important planning document for SWD is the Local Hazardous Waste Management Plan for King County. This is an interjurisdictional plan for managing hazardous wastes produced in small quantities by households and businesses. It includes strategies for reducing the use of hazardous materials and ensuring the proper handling and disposal of these wastes. The most recent plan was published in 2010 and can be obtained online or by calling the Household Hazards Line at 206-296-4692 or 1-888-869-4233.
The Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County (LHWMP) provides a broad range of services to residents, schools and students, businesses and other organizations.