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Event Recycling & Compostables

About the Seattle and Washington recycling and food packaging laws

Seattle’s recycling, composting, and food packaging law (Seattle Municipal Code 21.36.086) requires food service businesses – including food and beverage vendors at events – to use recyclable and compostable service ware instead of Styrofoam or plastic service ware that would need to be thrown in the garbage.

Washington State’s Recycling Law (RCW 70.93.093) requires beverage vendors at official gatherings and events to provide recycling for single-serving plastic, glass, and aluminum containers. Event organizers are also responsible for monitoring and servicing recycling bins during events, and for having the recycled items hauled to a recycling and disposal station.

For more information about the food packaging law, and to access resources available to food service businesses, visit Green Your Business.

Why is event recycling and event compostables collection important?

Encouraging recycling and compostables collection at your event is not only good for the environment but also saves you money through lower garbage disposal costs. Recycling and compostables collection is required because it saves money on landfill costs and cuts down on energy and greenhouse gas use in manufacturing.

What must be recycled at events?

The following items must be collected: cups, plastic bottles, plastic tubs, aluminum, cans, glass bottles, glass jars, and cardboard. Other recyclables include newspaper and paper event programs or schedules.

What must be composted at events?

It is required to compost food waste from all food prep areas and plate scrapings from staff areas. All food packaging including compostable plates, bowls, trays and tubs used to serve food must be collected for compost collection. Packaging containing food should be made of compostable material. For more information about packaging options see Cedar Grove's list of approved compostable items.

Where to find help

The following are some vendors that provide event bins for sale, bin rentals, and collection services for recyclables and compostables. Seattle Public Utilities does not endorse any specific product or service provider. The listings provided are suggested resources.

How do I get started?

The type of event will determine your course of action.

Related links

Transfer stations
Green Your Business program