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Seattle Recycling Rules Explained by Junk B Gone

Residential Recycling Rules

What Should You Recycle?

Remember to keep it as easy for them as possible. Things like individual sandwich bags can get caught in the machinery and stop sorting for a long period of time.

Seattle has had its fair share of what many call “wishful recycling”, where consumers don’t check lists and just “hope” or “are pretty sure” that certain items are recyclable. Only the purest form of the material can be recycled. These regulations are not put into place to overcharge you for services previously rendered, but to reflect the changing market for getting these materials sold to the correct place. Many places around the world are no longer accepting recyclables from the US because of this “wishful recycling”.

So keep it clean and as simple as possible, and remember this list while you are sorting your waste:

Aluminum and tin cans

  • Clean aluminum foil and clean foil trays
    • If there is ANY food stains that cannot be cleaned put these items in the garbage bin not recycling cart
  • Soda cans
  • Metal food cans (such as canned veggies, fruit, etc.)

recycled water bottles Seattle


  • Plastic plant pots (cleaned w/ no soil)
  • Plastic cups
  • Shampoo and conditioner bottles
  • Household cleaner bottles
  • Detergent
  • Fabric softener bottles
  • Yogurt, dairy and margarine tubs

Paper Products

  • Newspapers and inserts
  • Mail (windowed envelopes are accepted)
  • Cereal and dry food boxes (no plastic liners)
  • Frozen food boxes (also no plastic)
  • Paperback books
  • Phone books, magazines, and catalogs
  • Non-foil wrapping paper (also can’t be cellophane wrapping paper)
  • Juice boxes and broth containers
  • Ice cream cartons and milk cartons (soy, coconut, almond, and regular)
  • Paper cups


  • Cardboard without a waxy or plastic (laminated) coating
  • Size limit = 3 ft. x 3 ft.
    • *Tip: Rember to take off all the tape from cardboard boxes.

Glass jars and bottles, any color

  • No broken glass
  • All recycled glass containers need to be unbroken and cleaned


  • Less than 35 pounds
  • Limit 2 ft. x 2 ft.

What Should You Compost?

Food and food-soiled paper products such as paper towels, paper napkins, and cardboard must be composted. Layer food scraps, yard waste, and paper in your compost container. Turn over (mix it up) once a month with a hayfork or shovel. No plastic, glass, metal, liquid waste, cooking oil, stickers that come on fruits, pet waste, or litter. There is an informative guide to making your own compost heap.

If you do not have the space or want to do it yourself, King county can provide a Food/Yard Waste Cart and will collect it also. These carts can be included in your garbage service fee or as an added service fee at signup.

Yard waste

  • Grass clippings & leaves
  • Houseplants (no pots)
  • Weeds
  • Twigs, small branches, and roots from pruning

Food scraps

  • Fruit, vegetable scraps and leftovers
  • Bread, pasta, and grains
  • Eggshells and nutshells
  • Coffee filters and grounds
  • Teabags and tea leaves

*Tip: Keep meats, poultry, fish, and bones out of your compost since they will attract pests by smell. Even if you have an animal-proof composting container they will still search it because of the smell. Dairy products can also attract unwanted visitors.

Food-soiled paper

While you cannot recycle paper that has been soiled by food (not anything else)

  • Greasy pizza delivery boxes (no condiment packets or plastic trays)
  • Paper towels and napkins (no cleaners or chemicals)
  • Shredded paper (small amounts)
  • Uncoated paper plates*
  • Paper grocery bags containing food scraps
  • Paper egg and berry cartons

*Uncoated paper does not have a shiny surface.

*Tip: Currently, the regional composting facility does not accept compostable plates, cups, and utensils. As they do not break down fast enough. You can still use them in your personal compost bin.

Don’t have room for a compost bin in your backyard, or don’t want to deal with one? We can take care of you. Give us a call today at (206) 722-4285 or fill out our online form.

Everything Else That Shouldn’t Be With Your Recycling

Recycle Junk Removal Seattle


  • Preformed plastic packaging
  • Take-out containers
  • Styrofoam packaging and packaging peanuts*
  • Caps and lids
  • Polystyrene cups and egg cartons
  • Stretch wrap
  • Motor oil and antifreeze containers
  • Plastic bakery, meat trays, plates and utensils
  • Empty prescription vials
  • Plastic Bags/Dry Cleaner bags
    • These can be recycled (ONLY IF THEY ARE GROUPED TOGETHER) at designated drop-off locations.
    • Check here for rules regarding plastic bags.

*Tip: Reuse packing peanuts and any packaging materials as much as possible. Formed styrofoam can be broken down and used as a homemade packing peanut.


  • Disposable diapers
  • Ribbons or foil wrapping paper
  • Hardback books*
  • Wax and plastic-coated cardboard
  • Used tissues and paper towels with cleaning solutions

*Tip: Donate books to a local charity or school.


  • Mirrors, window glass, and broken glass
  • Ceramics and dishes
  • Incandescent and halogen light bulbs only (no compact fluorescent tubes, lights or bulbs (CFLs)

Aluminum and tin

  • Empty aerosol spray cans
  • Latex paint cans containing hardened or solidified paint (leave the top off)*
  • Oil containers

*Tip: Dry out paint before putting it in the garbage – mix with kitty litter or paint hardener.


  • Sharp or greasy metal
  • Metal caps and lids
  • Clothes hangers*
  • Small appliances

*Tip: Donate clothes hangers to a local charity.

Other Garbage Items

  • Garden hoses, light strings*
  • Pet waste and litter (double bagged and tied shut)

*Tip: Do you toss damaged clothes, shoes and household linens into the trash because you think they can’t be donated? We’ve got great news: items that aren’t reusable can be recycled into industrial wiping cloths, carpet padding, insulation and more.

Besides removing large or laborious rubbish items, we are also a local rubbish removal service. Give us a call today at (206) 722-4285 or fill out our online form.

Don’t Throw These Away With Your Garbage…

The rest of these items will need to be hauled away and disposed of or recycled by special means.


Batteries can be taken to Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility or you can visit Call2Recycle

  • Alkaline batteries
  • “Button” batteries
  • Motor vehicle batteries
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • UPS (Uninterruptible power supply batteries)


Medical instruments with needles or sharp edges are illegal to dispose of through normal waste collection services in Washington. Visit the King County website for more information


  • Computers – Mainframe, desktop, and laptops
  • Computer monitors  – Cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and flat panel
  • TVs (all)
  • Cell phones

*Tip: Visit Take it Back Network for electronics recycling

Large appliances

  • Refrigerators and freezers
  • Dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers
  • Stoves, ranges, and furnaces


Of course, we can take care of your mattresses and large appliance removal. We are not just a single truck but a fleet available so that we can remove large items the right way. Give us a call today at (206) 722-4285 or fill out our online form.

Mercury-containing products

  • Fluorescent bulbs and tubes
    • Including “green-tipped” or “low mercury” tubes and compact fluorescent (CFLs) bulbs and tubes.
    • Contact Light Recycle Washington about disposal
  • Mercury switches, thermometers, and thermostats

*Tip: For any possible hazardous waste, visit the How Do I Get Rid of…? website to find out what to do with the items in question.

Other Items

  • Furniture
  • Old carpet and carpet scraps
  • Hot tubs
  • Old tires
  • TVs
  • Lumber
  • Cars

Junk B Gone offers full-service junk removal for your home. Our professional and friendly team is here to meet most of your junk removal requirements. We are longtime members of the Seattle community and have been for 30 years now. You won’t be able to find a better junk removal service that can meet your needs like we will. Give us a call today at (206) 722-4285 or fill out our online form.


We Provide Junk removal & Disposal Services.

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