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Recyclable Wood - What's in our garbage - Garbage & recycling services

Recyclable wood is a resource

An estimated 105,737 tons of this resource was disposed of in landfills in 2019*

What is it?

Wood such as clean timber, dimensional lumber, stumps and limbs are readily recyclable. Wood that has been treated (with creosote, for example), painted, stained or contaminated is not appropriate for recycling and should be properly disposed of.

Why recycle wood?

In the landfill wood is a wasted resource. Wood can be reused as building material, recycled into mulch for landscaping or pulp for paper production and used beneficially as a fuel. Reusing and recycling wood reduces the need to cut down trees.

King County waste stream graph
Eighty percent of materials thrown away are resources – not waste.

What can you do?

  • Recycle waste wood. Use King County's What do I do with…? website to find facilities that accept wood for recycling or reuse.
  • Consider chipping wood debris for landscape cover. Wood chips make excellent mulch for garden beds. A number of companies chip wood from trimmed or downed trees, including some tree services.
  • Buy and use salvaged or recycled wood and wood products or non–wood materials that are more easily recycled. If you use wood, choose certified wood, which means that the trees are harvested from a sustainably managed forest. To learn more see the Forest Stewardship Council external link website.

* Estimate is calculated by combining selected categories of wood from the King County Waste Monitoring Program 2007 Waste Characterization Study, which accounts for municipal solid waste, with the clean wood category from the 2007/2008 Construction and Demolition Materials Characterization Study.

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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