Your curbside waste collection rate is based on your garbage container size. Residential collection service includes weekly recycling and food and yard waste. Commercial collection service includes recycling and approved businesses can add no-cost food scrap collection. Residents and businesses in Kirkland must have waste collection service.


Trash-Cart.jpgGarbage Guidelines

All your trash should be bagged and placed in your green cart or dumpster. Throw away items that cannot be recycled or composted, and that don't pose safety concerns. Some items can be recycled at drop-off locations - see links.

Plastic Food Packaging and Plastic Bags

Plastic wrappers.JPG

Food Serviceware and Dirty Items


  • Plastic utensils
  • Straws
  • Hygiene items (tissues, protective gloves, face masks)
  • Dirty items containing food or liquid
  • Dirty paper
  • Plastic trays
  • Plastic and foam clamshells 

Packing Materials and Plastic Packaging


Non-Recyclable Glass, Metal, and Other


  • Most plastic lids (screw plastic bottle caps back on plastic bottles to recycle, throw away other plastic lids)
  • Small items - under 3 inches (rubber bands, twist-ties, k-cups, corks) 
  • Loose plastic caps and metal lids (smaller than 3" across)
  • Computer cables and other tanglers (cables, hoses, chains, robes, tubing, ribbons, and strings) 
  • Small metal lids 
  • Disposable wipes (they are not flushable, even if the label says)
  • Diapers
  • Pet waste (kitty litter, dog poop) - please double-bag kitty litter
  • Foil or glitter wrapping paper and tissue paper
  • LEDs and incandescent lightbulbs (only CFL bulbs contain mercury and need special disposal)
  • Sheet glass
  • Aluminum foil and pie trays
  • Cooking oil
  • Broken glass
  • scissors 

Household Waste


When in doubt about where something goes, find out. Sometimes the garbage is the right place for an item, even when you are trying to recycle as much as possible. Please follow our list and do not recycle items that we don't accept.

Looking for a drop-off recycling option? Check our "beyond the cart" recycling directory or contact us at or 425-587-3812. Many items do not have recycling options.

Additional trash that doesn't fit in your cart with the lid closed may be subject to a charge. You can place extra garbage next to your cart for a charge.

Common Questions about Garbage

What should NOT go in the garbage?

Hazardous Waste - drop off at disposal sites

hazardous household materials, including fire extinguisher, bleach, pesticides, and auto productsHazardous waste, including oil-based paint, CFL bulbsbatteries, chemicals, pesticides, propane tanks, and automobile fluids, do not belong in the trash. Bring them to these locations for proper disposal:

Medicine and Sharps - drop off at disposal sites

prescription-drug-dropoff-KJC.jpgDo not throw away or flush unwanted medicine. Safely dispose of prescription and over-the-counter medicine at secure medicine return kiosks in Kirkland.

Sharps should be collected in a sharps container or 2-liter bottle and disposed at safe drop locations in King County, which include a drop box in Bellevue and the Shoreline Transfer Station.

Electronics - recycle next to your cart or at drop-offs

Do not throw away electronics. Recycle electronics for free with our curbside electronics recycling program or at E-Cycle Washington drop-off sites.

Food - compost in your gray food + yard cart

food scraps with compostable bagWhile composting your food is not required in Kirkland, we strongly encourage you to put wasted food in your food and yard waste cart instead of throwing it away. Food that's thrown away sits in the landfill for years before it decomposes. Food placed in your gray food+yard waste cart is composted and turned into a rich soil amendment. Composting food is a simple and impactful way to reduce your household's environmental impact.

Yard Waste - compost in your gray food + yard cart

Yard waste should be disposed in your gray food+yard waste cart. However, certain weeds are so important to control, and easy to spread, that they are recommended to be disposed in the garbage instead of yard waste.


How do I dispose of oversized items?

mattress and chair as example of furniture to disposeIf you have a large bulky item such as a mattress or couch that cannot be reused then Waste Management offers bulky collection curbside for single-family residents. Each year single-family residents have 1 free bulk item collection additional items can be collected for a charge

Oversize items, like mattresses and unusable furniture, can be disposed of as trash for a charge at King County Transfer Stations. In Kirkland, the Houghton Transfer Station is located in the Bridle Trails neighborhood. Recycling options for oversize items, including appliances and oversize scrap metal, are available at the Factoria Transfer Station in Bellevue and the Shoreline Transfer Station in Shoreline. Low-income King County residents may be eligible for reduced fees at King County transfer stations.


Where does my garbage go?


Garbage does not get sorted after the collection truck picks it up. The same day it's picked up, it goes to the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in Maple Valley. No one sorts the garbage to pull out recyclables or compostable material -- once something is thrown away, that material is gone for good.

Dozens of trucks a day dump their loads into open cells and bulldozers compress the material. When the cell is full, it's covered in dirt and left to decompose (very slowly - think centuries). Perforated pipes suck methane gas produced during decomposition to an onsite plant to produce energy. Other pipes route rainwater that gets contaminated from running through the garbage to leachate ponds where huge turbines froth the water so toxins will break down.

Because we have limited amount of unoccupied land for landfills, and a finite amount of natural resources, it is important that everything that we put in the trash are things that really cannot be recycled or composted. We encourage all residents and businesses to take steps to prevent and reduce waste, and have goals for reducing the waste our community generates.


How can I reduce how much garbage I produce?

How can I reduce how much garbage I produce?

waste-heirarchy.pngPreventing waste before you make it is the best way to reduce your garbage. Avoid generating waste by buying only what you need, buying used, and avoiding unnecessary packaging.

You can also reduce your garbage by:

We have a goal to reduce how much garbage each person in Kirkland tosses each week from 8 pounds to 5 pounds. How could you throw away 1, 2 or 3 pounds less a week?