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Kirkland News Room

New Commercial Recycling Ordinance Requires Equal Recycling Capacity

Media Contact:
Kellie Stickney
Communications Program Manager
(425) 979-6562

KIRKLAND, Wash. – The City Council recently passed Ordinance O-4695 requiring commercial customers to have recycling collection service with as much capacity for recycling as for trash. 

The new ordinance is intended to improve the commercial recycling diversion rate, or proportion of material recycled by weight. The City’s goal is to recycle seventy percent of its waste. Currently, commercial customers in Kirkland recycle only about a quarter of the waste they generate. Approximately forty percent of Kirkland commercial properties will need to increase their recycling capacity under the new ordinance. 

“Ordinance O-4695 allows us to make a notable reduction in the percentage of commercial waste that ends up in the trash without imposing a significant burden on our business community,” said Mayor Penny Sweet. “There is no additional cost associated with adding recycling service, and City staff is prepared to support businesses that might need assistance during this transition.” 

Recycling is included with trash service at no extra cost through the City’s contract with Waste Management. To help businesses improve their recycling programs, the Solid Waste Division can provide free on-site assistance, deskside recycling containers, and outreach materials. Food scrap composting service is also free for qualifying businesses. Additionally, businesses are eligible for free sustainability resources through the EnviroStars Green Business program

The new commercial recycling ordinance is modeled after a 2016 revision to the Kirkland Municipal Code (KMC) requiring all multifamily properties to offer recycling service to their residents and have as much recycling capacity as garbage capacity. The multifamily requirement has been a useful tool to encourage recycling and has supported the growth of the multifamily diversion rate over the past three years from twenty-two percent to over thirty percent.

Businesses interested in receiving assistance with their waste reduction and recycling programs can call the City’s Recycling Hotline at (425) 587-3812 or email Information can be found online at