King County is home to some of the best recyclers in the nation. Whether at the curb or at transfer stations and drop boxes, King County residents continue to benefit both the environment and the economy by recycling their plastic, paper, cardboard, glass, and metal cans. No matter what, we should all keep recycling and always recycle right.
No plastic bags or wrap in the recycling bin
Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, garbage and recycling collection companies in King County will no longer accept plastic bags or plastic wrap in curbside recycling bins. Plastic bags and wrap are often wet or have food waste on them when placed in the comingled recycling bins and contaminate other materials in the bins. At recycling facilities, these plastics can jam sorting and processing equipment, leading to frequent shutdowns so workers can remove the tangled materials.
While throwing plastic bags and wrap in the garbage is the least-desirable action, it's better to toss them out rather than contaminating other recyclables in the recycling bin.
Empty, clean, and dry
One of the easiest ways to recycle right is to make sure what you're putting in the recycling bin is empty, clean, and dry. Food and liquids in recyclables can allow mold to grow, which make the materials unacceptable for recycling. Containers that previously contained food or liquid should be rinsed to remove food and liquid residue. Shake out excess liquid and air dry.
When putting recycling in your curbside bin, make sure you don't overfill the bin and keep the lid shut tight. Overflowing bins or open lids make it more likely for rain or other water to get in and ruin the recycling.
What to recycle
As long as they are empty, clean, and dry, you should always recycle:
Plastic bottles, jugs, and tubs
Glass bottles and jars
When in doubt, find out
Recycle only materials that are accepted by your city's recycling company. When in doubt, find out. Check your local recycling guidelines to ensure you're putting the right materials in your recycle cart. You can learn more about recycling in your area by checking with your city, or find your recycling company by using the following drop-down:
Still in doubt, throw it out
You know that when you’re in doubt about where something goes, you find out by checking your local guide. If you are still in doubt, throw it out. Putting something in the recycling that doesn’t belong there could send the entire load to the landfill. That’s why if you’re ever unsure, uncertain, or in doubt about where something goes, the best option is to throw it out.
Recycling is one of the most important things we can do benefit both the environment and the economy. Recycling allows existing items to be made into new products. Making products from recycled content decreases the need to extract new materials, such as petroleum, wood, minerals, and water from the environment. Keep recyclables out of the garbage to ensure they are made into new products instead of wasting away in a landfill.
Waste prevention is another way to conserve resources, your time, and your money, and there are many easy ways to prevent waste.
Choosing reusable items over single-use/disposable ones is another great way to prevent waste. Bringing your own bag for groceries to the store, bringing your own utensils for meals on the go, using a refillable water bottle or bringing your own cup are all ways to decrease the amount of waste you generate. These small changes add up over time.