New Seattle Recycling Regulations: Keep your plastic bags & wrap outside of your recycling bin

Since January 1st, the city of Seattle and King County will no longer accept plastic bags and plastic wrap in curbside recycling. What to do with all those plastic items? We address that here.

According to King County, thin plastic materials get tangled in equipment at recycling facilities and must be removed by hand. Stopping the recycling process to remove the tangled materials makes recycling time consuming and more expensive. In addition, keeping plastic bags and wrap out of your curbside recycling bin will make recycling more efficient by reducing contamination and keeping recycling “clean.” That will ensure that what is put in the bin can be turned into something new, like plastic lumber, playground structures, and new plastic bags.

The best option for the environment: use less plastic in the first place

  • Reuse the plastic bags you already have for things like lining trash cans or picking up pet waste
  • Switch to durable bags and containers
  • Buy fruits and vegetables loose

A quick look at some of your options for disposing plastic

  1. Find a drop off location in your area (many grocery stores) with Plastic Film Recycling 
    • Make sure they are clean 
    • Do not put dirty, food-soiled or wet bags into the bin
  2. Use a company like local startup Ridwell, which picks up hard-to-recycle materials from your doorstep and ensures they’re responsibly reused for $10 – $14 per month
  3. Put them in your garbage (this is the least desirable option, but officials say better than contaminating other recyclables) 

Find more information about King County’s recycling guidelines here