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Recycling Required for Construction and Demolition Projects

  • Source-separated metal collection container
  • Source-separated cardboard collection container
  • Source-separated wallboard collection container

New requirements have been adopted for new construction, remodeling and demolition activities in Seattle. Learn how you can recycle more and what requirements affect your jobs and properties.

What’s changing?

About 62% of construction and demolition (C&D) waste was recycled from Seattle projects in 2013 and another 4% was “beneficially used” as industrial boiler fuel. Seattle City Council has adopted a goal for recycling 70% of construction waste by 2020. To reach this goal, Seattle Public Utilities has:

  • rolled out landfill disposal bans on readily recyclable C&D materials,
  • certified the recycling levels at recycling facilities which receive and process C&D materials from Seattle jobs, and
  • required building permit holders for each new construction, remodeling and demolition to file a waste diversion report to show compliance with the disposal bans.

Certain materials from new construction, remodeling and demolition activities in Seattle must be recycled and may not be put in containers for disposal in landfills. Before receiving a permit from DPD, building permit applicants with projects more than 750 square feet will need to submit a Waste Diversion Plan. A salvage assessment will be required for demolition permits. Once a project is completed, all demolition permits and all new construction and remodeling permits that are $30,000 or more in value will need to submit a Waste Diversion Report which documents where construction materials were delivered for reuse, recycling and disposal. These documents and submittal instructions can be found at:

Phased Landfill Disposal Bans 2012 - 2016

Seattle Municipal Code 21.36.089 prohibits the disposal of certain C&D materials in construction site disposal containers and the disposal areas of transfer stations. SPU Director's Rule 405.3 Rev. 1 (pdf) adopts a new implementation schedule for certain targeted items:

  • Asphalt Paving, Bricks and Concrete (2012)
  • Metal (2014)
  • Cardboard (2014)
  • New Construction Gypsum Scrap (2014)
  • Unpainted and Untreated Wood (January 2015)
  • Tear-Off Asphalt Shingles (July 2015)
  • Carpet (2016)
  • Plastic Film Wrap (2016)

Are there exceptions to the landfill ban?

The disposal bans do not include materials that are:

  • painted,
  • have hazardous constituents,
  • are difficult to separate from others (such as wood or styrofoam adhering to concrete), or
  • are present in very small quantities.

Will I get a ticket for disposing of banned building materials?

During the first year these bans are effective, SPU will not issue any fines for non-compliance with civil infractions. Enforcement may begin during the second year of the disposal ban.

What does “Facility Certification” mean?

SPU will develop a program to certify the recycling activities at receiving and processing facilities which are in compliance with the disposal bans. These facilities will need to be permitted by the local Health jurisdiction, submit reports to SPU and conduct testing of the residuals from sorting operations to ensure such material going to a landfill does not contain a significant amount of targeted recyclables. Contractors and haulers who deliver C&D materials to these facilities will be considered to be in compliance with the City’s recycling requirements and disposal bans.

List of Qualified Receiving and Recycling Facilities

The two lists of Qualified Receiving and Recycling Facilities are based on 2013 data and will be updated quarterly.

Do I have to use the SPU-Certified Facilities?

No, you may use facilities of your choice. However, you will be required to show how you have complied with the recycling requirements and landfill bans. You can show compliance either by:

  • Using Qualified Receiving and Recycling Facilities
  • Providing weight slips and other documentation indicating where you have recycled and not disposed of targeted building materials in landfills.

What do I have to report?

As of January 1, 2014, all new construction, remodeling and demolition projects that receive a DPD building permit will need to submit an electronic Waste Diversion Report to DPD within 60 days of Final Inspection. The Waste Diversion Report documents material tonnages and where all materials were delivered for reuse (on or off site), recycling, beneficial use and disposal. Delivery of materials to certified processing facilities will be the easiest path to show compliance with the City’s disposal bans. SPU will conduct periodic audits of such reports for accuracy and timely submission. A civil penalty may be assessed as of January 1, 2015 if a report is not submitted or if the targeted materials for recycling are disposed in a landfill.

For more information, contact Gabriella Uhlar-Heffner at or (206) 386-9772.