Councilmember Tim Burgess Councilmember Tom Rasmussen Councilmember Sally Bagshaw Councilmember Nick Licata Councilmember Bruce Harrell Councilmember Jean Godden Councilmember Richard Conlin Councilmember Mike O'Brien  Council President Sally J. Clark
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The Back Story
Why commercial recycling legislation?
Legislation Timeline
Resources for Businesses
Share your comments on the legislation
News Coverage
2012 Recycling Report
Seattle Public Utilities Business Recycling Resource Page


Recycling - the next step
Comprehensive Commercial Recycling in Seattle

Comprehensive Commercial Recycling keeps glass, aluminum, tin, and plastic, in addition to paper and cardboard, out of Seattle's garbage - preventing upwards of 200 shipping containers from heading to the landfill per year. This change in City law requiring commercial recycling combined with education and outreach will help businesses meet their recycling goals and their bottom lines.


The Back Story

In 2007, Council passed ground breaking legislation which authorized the Zero Waste Strategy to improve recycling and waste reduction rates. The goal is to recycle 70% of our waste by 2025.

The 2012 Recycling Report for Seattle was recently released and the good news is that Seattle's recycling rate continues to increase-up 0.3 percentage points to a high of 55.7%. This is the 9th straight year of overall growth in the recycling rate.

The one sector that did not see any growth from last year is the commercial. This is also the sector where there is the greatest opportunity for increased recycling. Achieving higher recycling rates in the commercial sector is key to helping Seattle reach its goal of 60% by 2015. Download the 2012 Recycling Report.


Recycling Chart


Why Commercial Recycling Legislation?

To improve the commercial sector's participation in commercial recycling the Council passed legislation to ban glass, aluminum, tin, and plastic recyclables in the waste stream. Before the legislation's adoption, the commercial sector is only banned from disposing of paper and cardboard in the garbage.

In 2005, Seattle City Council implemented a ban of all glass, aluminum, tin, and plastic in the garbage stream in the single family sector. Today the single family sector has a recycling rate of 71.1% while the commercial sector is at a rate of 61.4%. We believe the same success is possible in the commercial sector.

Keeping glass, aluminum, tin, and plastic recyclables out of the garbage in the commercial sector will not only increase commercial sector recycling by at least 1% by 2019 but should also re-energize the recycling conversation in the city, leading to improved recycling rates in all sectors.


Legislation Timeline

Comprehensive Commercial Recycling is about education and resources for businesses. The timeline for the implementation will involve a year-and-a-half of education before enforcement begins.


Recycling Chart


Resources for Businesses

Check back here for resources on how to find the right recycling fit for your business or call Seattle Public Utilities' business outreach group, Resource Venture at: (206) 343-8505. Sample businesses below, that have already transitioned to comprehensive recycling, have seen significant savings:


Recycling Chart




Please share your comments on this legislation with @Jean_Godden on Twitter: #SEArecycles
and on Facebook.


News Coverage




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