Seattle Public Utilities Mami Hara, General Manager/CEO

What’s Accepted as Food and Yard Waste

Food scraps and food-soiled paper can be placed only in your city-provided food and yard waste cart. Do not put food scraps and food-soiled paper in any other yard waste container. See our flyer (pdf) for pictures of what you can put in Seattle Food & Yard Waste carts. For more details, Look It Up. Still have questions? Email Ask Evelyn.

You can purchase approved compostable bags to collect food waste in your kitchen at most retail stores or online.

Yes! In Your Food and Yard Waste Cart
Not! In Your Food and Yard Waste Cart

Yes! In Your Food and Yard Waste Cart

Food scraps

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Bread, pasta, grains
  • Eggshells, nutshells
  • Coffee grounds, filters
  • Tea bags
  • Meat, fish, and chicken
  • Dairy products - milk, butter, cheese
  • Shells and bones

Food-soiled paper

Yard waste

  • Plant material
  • Grass
  • Leaves, branches, twigs - up to 4 inches in diameter and 4 feet in length
  • Plant and tree trimmings
  • House plants - no pots
  • Small amounts of sod - less than 60 pounds
  • Holiday trees - no tinsel, ornaments, flocking; not longer than 6 feet long and 4 inches in diameter
  • Bundles up to 4 feet long and 2 feet in diameter, tied with natural twine

Not! In Your Food and Yard Waste Cart

Garbage can

  • Biodegradable containers unless marked “Approved” by Cedar Grove
  • Styrofoam containers
  • Dirty coated paper cups, plates. Clean ones can be recycled
  • Disposable utensils
  • Grease and fats in lidded container
  • Facial or toilet tissue
  • Diapers
  • Pet waste and litter
  • Household trash/litter
  • Hoses
  • Garden tools
  • Bundles tied with wire, nylon cording or plastic banding
  • Loose soil
  • Rocks/gravel

Recycle cart - all items must be clean

  • Plastic shopping, newspaper, and dry cleaner bags - clean, stuffed together, no produce bags
  • Milk, juice, ice cream cartons - rinsed
  • Cardboard - unwaxed, flattened
  • Plastic bottles, jugs, dairy tubs
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Metal cans
  • Paper - dry
  • Nursery pots
  • Paper and plastic cups - clean
  • Plastic trays and containers

See Special or Hazardous Items for detail about items the require special handling. For waste reduction tips see Reduce, Reuse, Exchange.

Get the picture

View a video of what you can and can’t put in Seattle food and yard waste containers. Translated versions of the video are also available.
Mandarin | Cantonese | Spanish | Vietnamese

See our photo guide -with translations.