What are organic materials? What can be composted in my area?
|Food scraps, such as produce, dairy, grains, meat, bones, and eggshells
|Food-soiled paper and boxes
|Plants, flowers, yard waste, and untreated wood
|Pet waste or diapers
|Fats, oil, or grease
Help create nutrient-rich compost by checking what goes in the organics bin and what stays out. Compost is used on our local landscapes to maintain a healthy environment for plants, animals, and people. See more at Compost Right.
2022 Organics Management Law (OML)
Beginning in 2024, certain businesses throughout Washington will be required to divert organic waste from the garbage. Diversion methods could include donating edible food, establishing curbside collection, self-hauling to a transfer station that accepts the waste, and/or composting on site.
- January 1, 2024 - Businesses generating at least eight cubic yards of organic waste per week must arrange for organic materials management.
- January 1, 2025 – Businesses generating at least four cubic yards of organic waste per week must arrange for organic materials management.
- January 1, 2026 – Businesses generating at least four cubic yards of solid waste (garbage) per week must arrange for organic materials management
How do I know if my business is required to comply with the law?
Conducting a “waste audit” is a great way to start. Evaluate how often your outdoor garbage containers fill up and about how much of it is food and yard waste. Estimates are OK! Determine what size your containers are and how often they are serviced by a hauler. If you are near the law’s threshold for the year, reach out to a waste hauler or explore ways to reduce your organic waste.
Only businesses in geographic areas designated by the Department of Ecology are required to comply. These areas will be updated every year in July. As of 2024, the designated area includes a majority of western King County. To verify if your business address is included, visit Ecology’s interactive map.
Donate edible food
By donating edible food to local food banks or meal programs, you can:
- Prevent food waste in King County.
- Lower costs with a reduced garbage bill.
- Support those in need in your community.
- Inspire employee pride and qualify for a tax deduction.
Repurpose and reduce excess food
Find new ways to reduce food waste, such as:
- Explore networks that allow others to purchase unsold food, from single-serve meals to bulk product.
- Offer “day-olds” to customers at a reduced price.
- Evaluate purchasing and back of house stocking practices.
- Engage employees and seek their ideas on how to create a more sustainable workplace.
Establish curbside collection
Some cities may already hold a contract that covers organic waste collection for your business. Check with your city’s recycling coordinator or solid waste lead. For businesses not covered by a city contract, there are a variety of organic waste haulers in King County you may choose to work with, such as:
- Cedar Grove
- Commercial Waste Reduction and Recycling (CWRR)
- Republic Services
- Waste Management
For temporary container service, many other providers are available. Visit the What do I do with…? site and search for food or yard waste. King County maintains these lists as a courtesy to the public and does not endorse or guarantee the quality of the service provided. This list should not be considered exhaustive. Don’t see your company? Contact email@example.com.
Learn how to compost food and yard waste using an onsite "in-vessel" system, where organic waste is fully contained and resistant to pests. Learn more at Backyard composting.
Bring yard waste to a King County facility
Businesses can self-haul yard waste to several King County recycling and transfer stations.