Your curbside waste collection rate is based on your garbage container size. Service includes recycling and compost. Residents and businesses in Kirkland must have waste collection service.
What should I put in my green garbage cart or dumpster?
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.
- Hygiene and waste (diapers, pet waste, protective gloves, used face masks, etc)
- Non-recyclable plastic (clamshells, wrappers, chip bags, plastic bags, Styrofoam, prescription bottles, etc)
- Non-recyclable glass
- Non-recyclable paper (including shredding)
- Non-recyclable metal
- Dirty items (items containing food or liquid cannot be recycled)
- Small items (rubber bands, twist-ties, k-cups, loose caps and lids, corks, items under 3")
- "Tanglers" (cords, rope, chain, etc)
- Cooking oil
- Dried-out latex paint
- Noxious weeds
Please double bag pet waste / kitty litter, packing peanuts, and cold ashes.
When in doubt about where something goes, find out. Sometimes the garbage is the appropriate 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.
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.
What shouldn't go in my garbage?
Hazardous waste, including oil-based paint, CFL bulbs, batteries, chemicals, pesticides, propane tanks, and automobile fluids, do not belong in the trash. Bring them to these locations for proper disposal:
Medicine and Sharps
Do 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 2-liter bottle and disposed at safe drop locations in King County, which include a drop box in Bellevue and the Shoreline Transfer Station.
Recycle electronics with our free curbside electronics recycling program or at E-Cycle Washington drop-off sites.
While composting your food is not mandatory in Kirkland, we strongly encourage you to keep food out of the garbage and put it in your food and yard waste cart instead. Due to the low-oxygen conditions of the landfill, food sits in the landfill for years before it decomposes. Composting food is a simple and impactful way to reduce your household's environmental impact.
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.
What should I do with oversize items?
Waste Management offers bulky collection curbside for single-family residents 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 (verrrrrrry 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.