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?

The amount of construction materials generated at Seattle job sites was estimated to be 532,000 tons in 2016 with around 64% recycled and another 9% “beneficially used” as industrial boiler fuel for a total landfill disposal diversion rate of 72%. Seattle's goal for recycling is 70% of the construction materials city-wide by 2020 (not including “beneficial use”). To reach this goal, Seattle Public Utilities implemented the following set of programs:

  • Landfill disposal bans on readily recyclable C&D materials starting in 2012
  • Certifying the recycling levels at recycling facilities which receive and process C&D materials from Seattle jobs, and
  • Requiring building permit holders to file a waste diversion report to show compliance with disposal bans

In addition, all demolition and major tenant improvement projects of 750 square feet or greater or $75,000 or more in value must fill out a Salvage Assessment by a salvage verifier (in the case of whole building removal) or by the owner (in the case of alterations) in order to obtain a Building Permit from the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI). Upon project completion all demolition projects and all new construction and alteration projects with a value of $75,000 or greater must submit a Waste Diversion Report to SPU.

Phased Landfill Disposal Bans 2012 - 2020

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 and sets a schedule for banning them from disposal. SPU Director's Rule 405.3 Revision 4 (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)
  • Carpet (July 2020)
  • Plastic Film Wrap (July 2020)
  • Tear-Off Asphalt Shingles (July 2020)

Are there exceptions to the landfill ban?

The disposal bans do not include materials that are:

  • painted,
  • have hazardous constituents,
  • difficult to separate from others (such as wood or Styrofoam adhering to concrete), or
  • 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

Lists of Salvage and Source-separated Recyclers and the Mixed-Waste Recyclers and Disposal Facilities are found on the Certified Facilities webpage.

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 Seattle Department of Construction & Inspection (SDCI) building permit will need to submit an electronic Waste Diversion Report to SDCI 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 Katie Kennedy at or (206) 386-9772.