2022 Solid Waste Plan Update - Moving Upstream to Zero Waste

An international leader in solid waste management for decades, Seattle has advanced a zero waste vision thanks to public support for environmentally progressive programs and thoughtful planning. Seattle's vision of a zero waste future builds toward an inclusive and circular economy, where all materials with value are reused or recycled, and nothing is wasted. To move upstream toward zero waste, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is looking at the whole life cycle of materials to eliminate waste and toxins, prevent pollution, reduce carbon emissions, and conserve natural resources as early as possible.

This lifecycle view of materials reflects industry-wide shifts toward solid waste management approaches focused on preventing waste in the first place. The 2022 Plan Update prioritizes waste prevention in solid waste system planning. We get closer to zero waste not just by recycling more, but by producing and using less. As Seattle increases waste prevention work, we will target product consumption and consumer behavior, addressing the root cause of waste and toxins to reduce their impact on health and the environment.

With the 2022 Plan Update, Seattle aligns its waste-related goals not only with SPU’s Strategic Business Plan, but also with the City’s sustainability and climate goals in the Climate Action Plan, as well as the overarching vision of Washington State’s Solid and Hazardous Waste Plan - "Moving Washington Beyond Waste and Toxics".

What is the Plan?

The 2022 Plan Update describes how Seattle will manage and finance waste management services and facilities over the next six years, and projects system management needs over 20 years. In addition, the plan:

  • Describes how Seattle advances waste prevention and diversion from landfill through policy, customer outreach and education, investments in the circular economy, and enforcement of solid waste rules and regulations
  • Highlights historic solid waste trends, including progress toward goals, and details solid waste system projections
  • Describes the solid waste system and how Seattle provides essential waste management services to 1.5 million people in the City
  • Recommends 39 actions for Seattle to continue innovating in solid waste management
  • Suggests creating new goals consistent with Seattle's growing emphasis on reducing waste at the source

Goals & Guiding Principles

The 2022 Plan Update reflects goal areas and guiding principles that are at the center of Seattle's work:

  • Understanding and responding to customers and community
  • Ensuring affordability and accountability 
  • Addressing risk and resilience
  • Enhancing equity and empowerment
  • Delivering service and safety

Getting Ready for Public Comment

Staff have been hard at work meeting with community and stakeholders to develop the 2022 Plan Update. The Draft 2022 Plan Update will be available for feedback in early 2022. Check back for more information and materials.

Public Comment Outreach Materials

We will post information here to encourage community members, businesses, industry, and non-profits to submit their feedback during the public comment period. These materials will be made available in early 2022. Information will include:

  • Toolkit for community partners
  • Social media & ethnic media posts
  • Blog content
  • Outreach email template