Solid Waste Management Plan

The Solid Waste Management Plan updates the City of Seattle’s programs and services to prevent waste, increase recycling and composting, and improve services. The Plan describes how Seattle will manage the City’s solid waste over the next 20 years. We are currently in the process of updating the Plan for 2019.

2019 Solid Waste Management Plan Amendment: We are currently amending the 2011 Solid Waste Management Plan. Learn more about the process and how to get involved.

2011 Solid Waste Management Plan: The State of Washington Department of Ecology approved the revised plan on June 25, 2013. Learn more about the 2011 Plan including Plan Sections, Appendices, and Stakeholder Feedback.


Background Information

In August 1998, the City Council adopted On the Path to Sustainability (pdf) describing how Seattle would manage its solid waste. The 2004 Plan Amendment (pdf) updated the 1998 Plan.

In 2007, the Mayor and City Council adopted Resolution 30990, the Zero Waste Resolution, setting goals for recycling and outlining actions and strategies to achieve those goals:

  • To increase waste reduction and resource conservation.
  • To recycle or divert from disposal 60% of all municipal solid waste generated in Seattle.
  • To increase the efficiency, fairness, convenience, and accessibility of services.
  • To expand local recycling markets and increase purchases of recycled-content products.
  • To increase producer and consumer responsibility for sustainable waste management practices.
  • To implement the Seattle Sustainable Building Action Plan.
  • To improve sustainable waste management and resource conservation practices in all City operations.
  • To keep Seattle’s neighborhoods clean and safe by partnering with communities.


Related Resources

Annual Waste Prevention and Recycling Reports: Annual reports of the Seattle Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) recycling rate calculation, the percentage of MSW diverted from the landfill by reuse, recycling and composting. These reports contain a historical overview of solid waste tons generated, recycled, and disposed; cumulative progress to recycling goal; annual program activities and future plans.

Composition Studies: To better understand the types and quantities of municipal solid waste disposed, and to assess the City's recycling potential, Seattle Public Utilities has been conducting ongoing composition studies since 1988.

Recycling and Waste Reduction Study (Zero Waste Study): This study, completed in 2007, evaluated both new strategies and existing programs adopted previously under the guiding principle of "zero waste" as originally laid out in the 1998 Seattle Solid Waste Comprehensive Plan, "On the Path to Sustainability." Zero Waste and collection strategies, with the potential to divert significant tonnage away from landfill disposal, were identified in this five-month comprehensive study.

Research Papers: Various research papers on topics ranging from single-use plastics, plastic pollution, food waste, and materials management.