CurbWaste & Conserve newsletter
Connecting people to the source of Seattle's drinking water, inspiring confidence, stewardship and sustainability.Your monthly update of tips and information on recycling, water conservation and other environmental programs and events in Seattle.
Questions? Comments? Contact us at (206) 684-3000.

Five Ways You Can Reduce Waste this Holiday Season

Holiday foods

The volume of household waste in the US generally increases 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. The additional food waste, packaging, wrapping paper, etc., adds up to about one million extra tons of garbage a week nationwide. Below you will find some practical and easy ideas to help you reduce waste during the holidays and throughout the year!

1. Buy less food
Buy only what you need, if possible purchase local, in season, fresh items in smaller quantities.

2. Set up an area in your fridge for food that needs to be eaten soon
A designated box or shelf to put leftovers and food that needs to be eaten first is a good way to avoid wasting food.

3. Recycle your spent holiday lights
Do you have a pile of burned-out holiday lights? Are you replacing old holiday lights with energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lights? Don’t throw out your holiday lights - recycle them! Holiday light recycling programs take your old light strands and recycle the copper wire inside them. Check online for locations.

4. Give green gifts
Avoid over-packaged gifts that need batteries or use lots of electricity. Consider crafting a gift or gifting a shared experience, like a visit to a museum or a zoo.

5. Buy well, buy once
Well-designed and constructed products that are repairable will last longer and usually save you money, even if they cost more initially.

Free Holiday Tree Composting

Holiday tree composting

Seattle residents who subscribe to curbside food and yard waste collection can put their trees and greens out on their regular collection day at no extra charges from December 26, 2015 through January 10, 2016. Customers can continue to set-out greens after January 10th with a fee charged for any greens outside to the cart.

Multifamily buildings can put out one tree next to each food and yard waste cart per collection day at no extra charge during this time.

Trees should be cut into sections of six feet long or shorter, with branches trimmed to less than four feet to fit into the collection trucks. Sections should be bundled with string or non-plastic twine. Metal, plastic and ornaments in trees and wreaths must be removed.

Trees that are flocked and/or have tinsel or ornaments will be collected as extra garbage. Customers will need to cut the tree into three-foot pieces and each piece will be charged as extra garbage. Each unit of extra garbage costs $10.20. Plastic trees are not compostable.

Seattle residents can also drop off holiday trees and greens for free at Seattle Public Utilities’ South Recycling and Disposal station from December 26, 2015 through January 10th, 2016. The tree sections must be cut to eight feet or less in length and the trunk must be four inches or smaller in diameter. The limit is three trees per vehicle. Only trees and wreaths without flocking or decoration may be composted free of charge.

Compost So Life Goes On!


Food and compostable paper items like paper towels are no longer allowed in the garbage, and 76% of Seattle residents say they compost their food waste – way to go! However, we still throw 70,000 tons of compostable food and paper in the garbage every year. That’s enough to fill more than 8,000 garbage trucks. This season, place your holiday food scraps in your food and yard waste cart to help sustain our environment.

Property Managers and Businesses

  • Apartments and condos can receive free educational materials, a one-time $100 rebate, and sign up for training that qualifies every unit for free kitchen food waste containers.
  • Green your business with posters, stickers, and other free assistance to get your business set up with composting and recycling.

Visit the Seattle Public Utilities website or call (206) 684-3000 to learn more about how to get started recycling or composting.


Holiday Solid Waste Service

No garbage, food and yard waste or recycling will be collected in Seattle on Friday, December 25th or Friday, January 1st. Collections scheduled for Friday will occur on Saturday. Customers should be sure to have their containers out before 7 a.m. to ensure collection.

Get a New Toilet and Save!

Is your toilet from before 2004? Consider replacing these water-guzzling (and likely leaky) toilets with the help of rebates from Seattle Public Utilities! Learn more about eligible toilet models or call (206) 615-1282.

Give Damaged Clothes New Life

Damaged and stained clothing, shoes, and textiles are now accepted by many used clothing outlets in our area. Please do not place these items in your curbside recycling. Choose from several drop-off locations or arrange for pick up. For more information visit the King County Threadcycle website.

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(206) 684-3000

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