Waste Prevention

Photo of fresh berries

Recycling and composting are great. But not creating waste in the first place is even better!

When you throw something away, even when recycled or composted, you are tossing all the resources that went into making it. And you are contributing to climate change in the process.

To save money and do the greatest good for the planet, prevent waste first at home and at work

Waste Prevention Planning

You can help shape Seattle’s waste prevention future. In 2023 and 2024, SPU will be talking with businesses, organizations, schools, and individuals across the city, as well as global waste prevention experts, to inform our new Waste Prevention Strategic Plan. Learn more about SPU's Waste Prevention Planning effort and how you can get involved.


Materials are central to our economy, our environment, and our communities.

Everything you buy or use starts by taking resources from the land, making them into a product, transporting it, using it, and then recycling, composting, or landfilling it. All this has big impacts on the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil where we grow food.
By taking action to prevent waste, you…

  • Save money by buying and using less.
  • Help our community by donating and sharing materials.
  • Reduce air and water pollution that hurt wildlife and human health.
  • Conserve natural resources, such as water, energy, land, and fuel.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

The EPA estimates about 42% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are caused by making, transporting, and disposing of materials. (Source: US EPA, Opportunities to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Materials and Land Management Practices, 2009)
That means that the everyday choices you make about what you buy and use don’t just impact you. They also impact your community and people all over the world.
We are already seeing climate change impacts in Seattle with hotter summers, smoke from regional wildfires, and shoreline changes due to rising sea levels. We are also thinking towards the future to protect our water supply from droughts as temperatures continue to increase.

Your choices matter. Choose to prevent waste!

Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000

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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.