Recycling Guidelines

Recycle-Cart.jpgWhat can I recycle in my blue cart or dumpster?

recyclables including glass bottle, plastic bottle, plastic tub, metal cans, and paper In your blue recycling cart or dumpster at home or at your business, you can recycle:

  • Paper (including aseptic cartons)
  • Cardboard (please break down boxes; cut down boxes larger than 3'x3')
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Plastic bottles, jugs, tubs & cups (screw or snap lids back on)
  • Metal (aluminum / tin cans, metal lids larger than 3", and scrap metal that's larger than 3 inches but less than 2 feet)

Not sure if something is recyclable? Contact our Recycling Hotline at or 425-587-3812.

Please recycle right!

  • Only recycle items that we accept. The biggest problem for recycling is when the wrong things are put into recycling carts. Please only recycle the items on our list, and throw away other items (or drop them off for recycling where possible).
  • Plastics are recycled by shape in Kirkland, so even though an item has the recycling symbol on it, we might not take it. Only plastic bottles, jugs, tubs and cups are accepted. Plastic clamshells and trays should be thrown away. Plastic lids should be screwed or snapped back on, or thrown away if loose.
  • Everything that goes in your recycle cart or dumpster should be clean (no food residue) and empty (no liquid).
  • Put recyclables into your cart loose. Don't put recycling in a bag!

What should I do with extra recycling?

Single-Family Residents

Extra recycling is free for single-family residents.

  • Place extra household recyclables next to your cart in a paper bag, cardboard box, or reusable container labeled "Recycling".
  • Extra cardboard boxes that won't fit in your cart can be flattened and placed next to your cart.
  • Pieces must be smaller than 3x3x3' so please cut it down if any side is longer than 3 feet.
  • Please don't leave extra cardboard or paper out in the rain overnight - soggy cardboard is not able to be recycled.
Apartments and Condos

Apartments and condos can add more recycling space for free.

If you live in an apartment or condo, we can increase your service levels for free if you often find that your recycling carts or dumpsters are overflowing. If there's room, we can upsize your dumpster or add more carts, and if not, we may be able to pick up your recycling more often. Simply email us your request with your property name and address.


Businesses can have up to 150% of your trash service for free.

Contact us to see whether your business qualifies for additional free recycling.

Common Recycling Questions

Why should I recycle?

  • Recycle to save money. By putting recyclables in your blue cart, you generate less trash. With less trash, you can opt for a smaller (and cheaper) garbage service level.
  • Recycling helps the environment because items are made into new things instead of sitting unused in the landfill for a lifetime. When items are made with recycled materials, then fewer natural resources need to be mined or extracted from the planet.
  • Our landfill is on pace to fill up in ten years, and once it's full we'll need to either ship our waste somewhere else or build a waste-to-energy facility that harvests energy from burning garbage. These options will likely cost more than using our current landfill, which would make your rates increase. There may be environmental justice considerations to transporting waste to other communities, and material that is burned would never be able to be recovered.

What happens to my recycling?

Recyclables go to the Cascade Recycling Center in Woodinville where they are sorted and eventually sold to be made into new products. This facility influences what's accepted in your recycling cart at home, because anything that goes in your blue cart needs to be able to be sorted here.


I want to recycle more!

Follow our guide to setting up recycling stations at home, to make sure you're recycling in every room and collecting special recyclables for drop-off.

Unfortunately, not everything is recyclable. Some items aren't recyclable because they cannot be sorted in our facilities, some because they're made of mixed materials that aren't feasible to separate into components, some because there isn't a market to use the material to manufacture new products. We've profiled a few things that you shouldn't do, to make recycling better. Recycling the right things, and not recycling items that we don't accept, are the most important things you can do to help the recycling system.

And remember, recycling is great, but reusing and reducing is even better!

I got a tag on my recycle cart! What does that mean?

"oops" tag used to mark recycling carts with the wrong item in them

If your driver sees plastic bags in your recycling cart, they may not collect your recycling. They will leave you an "Oops" tag on your cart explaining the problem. 

After removing the plastic bags, you can put the recycling out on your next pickup day. If you have too much recycling to fit in your cart after missing a week of pickup, you can put out extra for free. Put out extra recycling in your own can or a cardboard box labeled "recycling" so the right driver gets it.