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Frequently Asked Questions

Collection Service

Question: A holiday is coming up. Will my garbage be collected?

Answer: Regular weekly collection is provided on all holidays except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. If your regular collection day falls on one of these three holidays, your service will be delayed by one day. If your collection day comes later in the week after collection has been delayed because of a weekday holiday, your service will also be one day later that week. If these holidays fall on a weekend, regular residential collection schedules apply.

Question: My garbage did not get picked up because of the weather. Could I get a credit?

Answer: No. The City of Kirkland does not issue service credits from service delayed due to inclement weather. Customers that do not receive service due to a weather event may put out a double load of garbage, recycling, and yard/food waste on their next regular collection day at no additional cost. Check Waste Management's Weatherboard to determine whether there are service delays.

Question: My neighbors leave their carts out on the sidewalk all week. Does Kirkland have any rules about this?

Answer: Yes! Residents must remove their carts no later than 24 hours after service is provided, and may put their carts out no earlier than 24 hours before their service day, per Kirkland Municipal Code (KMC 16.08.070). The code also encourages residents to use planter strips in lieu of sidewalks for their carts (where available) and requires that carts be placed out in such a manner that does not block traffic or impede use of sidewalks and bike lanes. Here are a few examples of do's and don'ts to help you be more "cart smart".

Question: A garbage truck woke me up this morning at 5:45 a.m. What are the residential operating hours for Waste Management?

Answer: In residential neighborhoods, operating hours are Monday – Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please report pickups outside of Waste Management's operating hours by calling the Kirkland Recycling Hotline at (425) 587-3812. The operating hours in commercial areas is 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the exception that collection in commercial areas adjacent to residential areas is restricted to the residential operating hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Question: I got a tag on my cart. What does that mean?

Answer: When drivers notice contamination - items that do not belong - in your recycling or compost carts, they will put a tag on your cart informing you of the item in question. In the future, please make sure that you sort your items into the correct cart.

Contamination causes problems in processing your recycling and compost. When non-recyclable items are mixed in with the recycling, if they can be sorted they will be thrown away; however, some contaminants are not able to be sorted and reduce the quality of the recyclable material, making it less valuable and useful. Plastic bags can also force the Recycling Center to halt operations when they get wound around the machinery and need to be cut out by hand. When non-compostable items - especially plastic and glass - are mixed in with your yard waste and food scraps, they degrade the quality of the finished compost. No one wants plastic or sharp glass in the compost that they buy to put in their vegetable gardens.


Question: Why do plastics have a recycling symbol and number on them if they can't be recycled?

Answer: All plastics are technically recyclable, but even if an item has a recycling logo on it, it might not be accepted by local recycling companies due to high processing costs, lack of markets, or inability to sort in the recycling facility.

The number inside the recycling arrows on many plastic items generally identifies the type of resin used in making the product. However, some items with the same number inside the arrows cannot be recycled together because they are manufactured using a different heating and molding process. For example, markets that accept #1 plastic bottles, don't want #1 plastic cups.

Ignore the numbers and recycle plastics by shape instead: jugs, tubs, cups, trays and bottles. Refer to our recycling guide (pdf) to determine if the item is recyclable in Kirkland.


Question: I want to start the composting service at my apartment complex, but my fellow tenants don’t want to participate because it’s “yucky.” How can I convince them that it’s easy to do?

Answer: Composting is easy when you have a container to collect food scraps and food-soiled paper in a convenient location in your kitchen. Your container is not going to be “yucky” if you follow these tips for your kitchen food scrap container (get one free at City Hall's recycling center:

  • Empty it into the gray cart frequently
  • Use a biodegradable liner so you can toss the liner with all the food scraps and food-soiled paper into the gray cart
  • Wash the container regularly
  • Sprinkle baking soda over food scraps or wrap them in newspaper to absorb odor and liquid
  • Consider storing your container in the refrigerator: food scraps stay drier and last longer

Got more questions?

Contact us.

Public Works
Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
123 5th Avenue, Kirkland WA 98033
Operations & Maintenance
Mon-Fri, 6:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
915 8th St, Kirkland WA 98033

General Inquiries

Engineering: T. 425.587.3800 | F. 425.587.3807
Operations & Maintenance: T. 425.587.3900 | F. 425.587.3902