Seattle Public Utilities Melina Thung, Interim Director

What's Accepted as Garbage

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

The items below require special preparation or extra fees, or are not accepted as garbage. For more details, Look It Up with our handy tool or see our Where Does It Go? flyer (pdf). Still have questions? Email Ask Evelyn.

Accepted in home garbage or at Recycling & Disposal Station
Only accepted at Recycling & Disposal Station

Goes to Recycling at Transfer Station

Goes in Home Recycling Cart

Goes in Food and Yard Waste Cart

Other Collection Services

Yes! Goes in the Garbage

Accepted in home garbage or at Recycling & Disposal Station

Special preparation is required

  • Latex paint and latex stain - Dry out small amounts by leaving the lid off. For larger amounts, mix with kitty litter or a commercial paint hardener.
  • 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.
  • Kitchen fats, oil and grease - Place in a sealed container.
  • Alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, 9v, etc.) - may go in garbage. Button, rechargeable and vehicle batteries are not accepted as garbage and should be taken to a Household Hazardous Waste Faciltiy.

Only accepted at Recycling & Disposal Station

Special preparation or a fee may be required

  • Syringes and other sharps.
  • Painted or treated wood.
  • Building materials - See ideas for reuse rather than discarding them.
  • Carpet - Can be discarded, but better to ask your installer to recycle or donate if usable.
  • Contaminated soil - Depending on the contaminant, may 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.

Does NOT Go in the Garbage

Goes to Recycling at Transfer Station

  • Tires - 4 per trip limit; fee applies.
  • Vehicle batteries - Illegal in the garbage; accepted for recycling at no charge.
  • Metals - Cans, lawnmowers (drain gas and oil first), and scrap metal are accepted for recycling. See details.
  • Metal barrels, drums, cans - Accepted for recycling if empty, clean and cut in half; must not have held hazardous material.
  • Untreated wood.

Goes in Home Recycling Cart

All recyclables must be clean.

  • Aluminum foil and food trays
  • Plastic plant pots
  • Plastic bags (bagged together)
  • Plastic bottles, jars and tubs
  • Pill bottles (no prescription vials)
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Lids wider than 3 inches
  • Metal cans
  • Paper (dry)
  • Plastic trays, cup, containers
  • Cardboard (unwaxed, flattened)
  • Scrap metal (less than 2 ft. x 2 ft. x 2 ft.)

Goes in Food and Yard Waste Cart

  • Food scraps including meat, fish and dairy
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Pasta, bread, grains and rice
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea bags
  • Food-soiled paper (Also allowed in garbage can)
  • Food ware marked 'Cedar Grove Compostable'
  • Weeds
  • Grass and leaves
  • Prunings and branches (up to 4 feet long and 4 inches thick)
  • 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 natural fiber twine in bundles up to 4 feet long and 2 feet in diameter or placed in 32-gallon cans and set alongside your cart. Extra fee per unit.

Other Collection Services

  • Beds and furniture - Pay Bulky Item fee for home pickup or take item to the Recycling & Disposal Station.
  • Appliances - Pay Bulky Item fee for home pickup or take item to the Recycling & Disposal Station (extra fee).
  • Computers, monitors, and TVs - Call (206) 684-3000 to schedule home pickup for a fee. To recycle for free, visit or call 1(800) RECYCLE.
  • Used motor oil - Must not be contaminated with solvents or other wastes. For home recycling, set out in tightly sealed 1-gallon container; 2 gallon limit per collection. (Apartment/condo residents contact your manager.) For transfer station recycling, 5 gallon limit and two oil filters per trip accepted.

If items are in good condition, they may also be sold, donated, or given away.

See Reduce, Reuse, Exchange.

See Special Items for details on disposing of materials -such as asbestos and explosives- that are not accepted at transfer stations or hazardous waste facilities, but may be accepted by other organizations.

Related Links

Household Hazardous Waste
Reduce, Reuse, Exchange