Seattle Public Utilities Mami Hara, General Manager/CEO

What’s Accepted as Garbage

It’s important to recycle and compost as much as possible. But some items go in the garbage, including alkaline batteries and broken household goods.

The items below require special preparation or extra fees, or are not accepted as garbage. For more details, Look It Up. Still have questions? Email Ask Evelyn.

YES! Goes in the Garbage

OK in home garbage or at Recycling & Disposal Station with special preparation:

  • Animal waste - Double-bag or seal in leak-proof container.
  • Disposable diapers - Flush excrement down toilet. Put diapers in a bag and place in garbage.
  • Ashes, sawdust, litter and other loose material - Place in a sealed box or bag. Cool ashes before disposal.
  • Alkaline batteries (AA, C, D, 9v, etc.) - Can go in garbage, as they no longer contain hazardous compounds. Rechargeable batteries are not accepted.

Only accepted at Recycling & Disposal Station with special preparation or fee:

  • Syringes and other sharps.
  • Wood - Untreated wood can be recycled.
  • Building materials - Often can be reused rather than discarded.
  • Carpet - Accepted for a fee. Better to sell, exchange or donate.
  • Tires - 4 per trip limit; fee applies.
  • Used motor oil - 5 gallon limit per trip. Must not be contaminated with solvents or other wastes. Two oil filters per trip are accepted.
  • Vehicle batteries - accepted for recycling at no charge.
  • Metals - Cans, lawnmowers and scrap metal are accepted, but other items are not.
  • Metal Barrels, drums, cans & tanks.
  • Contaminated soil - Large quantities can only be accepted with a Waste Clearance form from the Health Department. Call (206) 263-8528 for information.
  • Rocks, rubble, slabs - Must not exceed 200 pounds and/or 2 cubic feet per piece.

Contact your building manager to arrange a bulky item pickup or take to a Recycling & Disposal Station:

If in good condition, these items may also be sold, donated, or given away.
See Reduce, Reuse, Exchange

NO! Does NOT Go in the Garbage

Goes in Recycling Cart

  • Plastic shopping, drycleaner and newspaper bags (no produce bags) that are clean and stuffed together in one bag
  • Plastic bottles, jugs & tubs (no lids)
  • Glass bottles and jars (no lids)
  • Metal cans
  • Paper (clean and dry)
  • Milk, juice, soup, & ice cream cartons (rinsed)
  • Cardboard (unwaxed, flattened)

Goes in Food and Yard Waste Cart

  • Food scraps except meat or dairy (also allowed in garbage can)
  • Food-soiled paper (also allowed in garbage can)
  • Plant material
  • Leaves, tree trimmings and branches (up to 4 feet long and 4 inches in diameter)
  • House plants (no pots)
  • Small amounts of sod (less than 60 pounds)
  • Holiday trees (undecorated; up to 6 feet long and 4 inches in diameter)
  • Extra yard waste can be tied with twine in bundles up to 4 feet long and 2 feet in diameter and placed alongside your cart

Related Links

Reduce, Reuse, Exchange
Special or Hazardous Items
Food & Yard Waste Collection for Apartment Residents