Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Seattle is a national leader and has set aggressive goals for the future.

By 2022, the City of Seattle plans to divert 70% of its waste to recycling and composting. Seattle Public Utilities' solid waste plan is guided by a zero-waste resolution passed in 2007, and waste reduction is a key component of Seattle's Climate Action Plan.

Other goals are to develop new markets for recycled materials and have producers of the goods we consume take more responsibility for end-of-life management of their products. Learn more about how you can help reach these important goals.

OSE Key Initiatives

The Office of Sustainability and Environment plays a role in the following initiatives. See the Programs & Policies page of this section for all the Waste related work the City is engaged in.

Key Initiatives

Our everyday purchasing choices have a carbon footprint that we can work to reduce.

Moving the Needle overview page

Below is a summary of the Waste strategies, goals and progress to date from the City's environmental progress report, Moving the Needle. Visit the Moving the Needle page for more information, download the full report, or check out the report's Waste section for infographics and more.

Seattle residents and businesses divert more waste than nearly every other city in the nation. We strive to maintain and improve on that level of excellence. Our strategies include:

  1. Waste prevention

    Reducing waste by not creating it in the first place.

  2. Recycling & Composting

    Expand recycling and composting through services, incentives, and regulations.

Waste Prevention Increase products where waste is managed by manufacturers 3 waste products now managed by manufacturers: electronics, mercury-containing lights, and medicines.
Ban or discourage problem materials 3 product discouragement/bans in place: phone book opt out, expanded polystyrene ban, and plastic bag ban.
Recycling & Composting Reduce waste sent to land fill 27% reduction in waste sent to the landfill over the last 7 years
Recycle 70% by 2022 56% recycling rate in 2012, up 2% from 2011