Seattle Public Utilities Mami Hara, General Manager/CEO

What's Accepted - Top Recycling Questions

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about recycling. If you don’t find your item on this page, try using our Lookup Tool. Still have questions? Email Ask Evelyn or follow her on Facebook.

Aluminum foil and pie pans

Clean aluminum foil and food pans can be placed in your recycling cart. Reuse foil whenever possible.

Caps and lids

Lids larger than three inches in diameter can be recycled. Tin can lids must stay hooked to the can and be pushed down inside. Put plastic caps back on plastic bottles for recycling. Loose caps, lids smaller than three inches in diameter, and detached metal lids go in the garbage.

CD cases

CD cases go in the garbage and cannot go in your recycling cart. Search King County's Reuse and Recycling website for private recyclers.

Compostable food ware

Compostable food ware cannot go in your recycling cart. Plain uncoated (non-shiny) paper plates and approved Cedar Grove compostable food ware (pdf) is accepted in your food and yard waste cart. All other food ware labeled compostable or biodegradable goes in your garbage.

Computers and electronics

You can request a home pickup for your computer, monitor, or television by calling (206) 684-3000. There is a $20 collection fee. Limit: three items. These materials will be recycled safely.

For free recycling drop off for computers, monitors, and TVs, visit E-Cycle Washington or call 1(800) RECYCLE.

For cell phones, stereo systems, VCRs, printers, computer keyboards and mice, use the Take It Back Network to find out where to take them.

Packing materials

Styrofoam “peanuts” and Styrofoam blocks go in the garbage and cannot go in your recycling cart. Styrofoam can be recycled for free at:

Bubble wrap can go in your recycle cart. Bundle it together in a plastic grocery bag and place it in your cart. Bubble envelopes cannot be recycled and must go in the garbage.

Reuse these materials at home or some mailing and shipping businesses may accept “peanuts” for reuse (call 1-800-RECYCLE).

Plant pots

Clean plant pots go in your recycling cart.

An alternative is to reuse them for your own plant starts and house plants or check the King County Materials Exchange to find nurseries that may reuse the pots.

Plastic food bags

Produce bags, bread bags, frozen food and Ziploc pouches go in the garbage and cannot go in your recycling cart. Plastic food bags often contain food residue and moisture that contaminate the rest of the plastic material.

An alternative is to reuse them for storing food at home and for shopping.

Plastic shopping, newspaper and dry cleaning bags

They can be placed in your recycling cart. Stuff into one bag for recycling. Do not recycle plastic food bags because of contamination issues.

An alternative is to avoid the need for plastic shopping bags by taking your own bags to the store.

Prescription containers

Empty prescription medicine containers go in the garbage and cannot go in your recycling cart. Cylindrical prescription vials are not recyclable.

Find medicine disposal locations.

Shredded paper

Only long shreds (at least 8 ½ inches long and ¼ inch wide) can be recycled. Put them in a clear plastic bag and tie off. Confetti or crosscut shreds cannot be recycled, as they have no useful fibers for recycling. They can also be bagged and placed in the garbage.

As an alternative, all shredded paper can be layered in food and yard waste carts with organics.