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Over 99 percent of single family households in King County can now recycle food scraps and food soiled paper in their curbside yard waste bin. Food scraps, food-soiled paper and yard waste are recycled into a nutrient-rich soil amendment, compost. Using compost improves the health of our plants, crops, local gardens and parks.

Nearly 30% of what we throw away in our garbage is recyclable food scraps and food soiled paper – and the average single-family household throws away about 48 pounds of food scraps and food-soiled paper every month. Vegetable and fruit trimmings, meats, fish and poultry scraps and bones, plate scrapings, egg shells, coffee grounds, paper towels and napkins–even greasy pizza delivery boxes–all can be recycled in your curbside yard waste cart.

Food scrap recycling by city

Put food scraps and food-soiled paper in the yard waste cart provided by your hauler so it can be recycled and made into compost. Food scrap recycling service is currently available to 99% of single family residents who have curbside garbage service. Check with your garbage and recycling hauler for more information about collection service. Use the drop-down menu below to find the hauler for your area:

Garbage & recycling

If you're not sure if food scraps can be put in your yard waste collection container, check with your waste hauler.

Getting started with food scrap recycling

Select a kitchen collection container that suits your needs.

  • 100 percent compostable kitchen bags for collecting food scraps are sold at many stores in King County.
  • Ceramic or stainless steel containers made especially for food scrap collection, and sold at kitchen shops.
  • Paper grocery bags, recycle the bag along with the food scraps.
  • Reusable containers such as a yogurt container or coffee can with a lid.
  • Some cities offer free or discounted containers upon request. Check with your waste hauler for promotions in your city.

Learn what food scraps and soiled paper can be put in the yard waste cart.

These are the basic items that go in the cart:

  • Meat, fish, poultry, bones
  • Dairy products (yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.)
  • Vegetable and fruit trimmings
  • Egg shells, bread, pasta and coffee grounds
  • Table scraps
  • Solid food leftovers
  • Paper towels and napkins
  • Paper coffee filters and tea bags
  • Greasy pizza delivery boxes.

For a detailed list check with your garbage hauler.

Empty your kitchen container when it's full and empty it regularly.

When the weather is warm, and when a lot of food is collected, it´s better to empty the kitchen container into the yard cart every few days.

Avoiding odors and flies

If you´re concerned about odors and fruit flies:

  • Use a kitchen container with a tight-fitting lid and/or a carbon filter.
  • Put food scraps in a compostable bag, paper bag or wrap the food scraps in newspaper and store in the freezer until collection day.
  • Rinse out your kitchen container after emptying it.
  • Line the container with a scrap of cardboard, paper bag or paper towel.
  • Sprinkle baking soda in the container.
  • A small layer of newspaper can absorb liquids in your cart
  • Keep your cart clean. Line the bottom with newspaper and/or layer food scraps and food-soiled paper with your yard waste. Using paper or compostable bags will also help keep the cart clean. When your cart starts to smell, contact your garbage hauler to have your cart replaced with a clean one.

Don't put these in the food scrap/yard waste bin

  • Plastic-coated containers such as milk and ice cream containers.
  • Plastic coated paper such as plates, cups and bowls. They do not degrade over time.
  • Plastic of any kind
  • Grease or liquids
  • Pet waste

What about using my garbage disposal for food scrap disposal?

In-sink garbage disposals should only be used for certain types of food waste and liquids from food preparation. Learn more about keeping fats, oils and grease out of the garbage disposal and sewer system. If you're going to use a garbage disposal, take the time to learn more about how to conserve water external link .

Compost More. Waste Less. – Take the Pledge!
Take the pledge and get free tools to help you recycle and compost more.
Food scraps and yard waste composting at the curb
Oh, la la! Ciscoe Morris shows what can go in your yard waste cart in this short video Youtube .
Food: Too Good To Waste
Learn how to reduce food waste at home.
Recycle More. It’s Easy To Do.
Already know about food scrap recycling? Why not learn more about recycling in general? Visit "Recycle More. It's Easy To Do." today!
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King County Solid Waste Division mission: Waste Prevention, Resource Recovery, Waste Disposal