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Non-recyclable materials - What's in our garbage - Garbage & recycling services

Non-recyclable materials

195,939 tons of non-recyclable materials were disposed of at the landfill in 2019

Garbage today. what will it be in the future?

Some materials are not readily recyclable and are appropriate for disposal today. But with research and advancements in technology they could become resources tomorrow.

  • Non–recyclable paper – wrapping paper that is laminated or contains foreign materials such as foil-coatings or glitter, photographic film, microwave containers, hardcover books, frozen food boxes, thermal fax paper, carbon paper, blueprints, aluminum foil boxes and binders.
  • Treated or contaminated wood - wood treated with preservatives or attached to other materials like sheetrock or window glass
King County waste stream graph
Eighty percent of materials thrown away are resources – not waste.
  • Non–recyclable plastic consumer items - some food storage containers, dishware, vinyl, disposable diapers, toys, Formica™, fiberglass, foam materials, and plastics attached to other materials such as kitchenware or auto parts
  • Non–recyclable glass – window glass, mirrors, light bulbs, and cookware
  • Other waste – ashes, soil, animal feces and carcasses, dirt, furniture, mattresses, and insulation

For now, it’s important to buy carefully, use and reuse, and find ways to reduce waste wherever possible.

Related information

  • What happens to my recyclables? Materials collected for recycling in King County become new products, many of them manufactured locally. This 10-minute video shows how the recycling loop works: from collection to remanufacture to new product.
  • Recycle More. It's Easy To Do. Although most King County residents say they participate in their curbside recycling program, more than half of what ends up in the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill is readily recyclable.
  • Compost More. Waste Less. Food scraps and food soiled paper break down into compost, a soil amendment that enriches soil and improves plant health.
  • King County’s Zero Waste program is a guiding principle for all waste reduction and recycling programs.
King County Solid Waste Division mission: Waste Prevention, Resource Recovery, Waste Disposal

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