In addition to managing the City's contracted curbside waste collection services (provided by Waste Management) and providing special recycling events, Kirkland's Solid Waste Division develops policies to reduce waste generation and improve recycling and composting in the city, as well as being involved in regional and state workgroups.
Under the 2019 King County Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, Kirkland will need to work towards new goals.
- The plan establishes a target recycling diversion rate of 70%. Currently Kirkland’s combined single family, multifamily, and commercial recycling diversion rate is about 46%.
- Kirkland residents currently throw away about 7.8 pounds of material each week, while the plan’s waste disposal target would be 5.1 pounds.
- The plan also calls for lower waste generation, the total weight of waste each person produces (including trash, recycling and compost).
See the Solid Waste Program's 2020 work plan.
- By Kirkland ordinances, commercial and multi-family customers are required to have recycling capacity equal to their garbage capacity, and located next to each other where possible. Co-locating containers reduces the likelihood of contamination (garbage being put into recycling containers) and improves ease of recycling for employees and residents.
- Kirkland provides public containers for recycling in downtown Kirkland and at all neighborhood parks. Big Belly Solar Compactors are located throughout downtown.
- Compost service is available at no cost to qualifying businesses and multi-family properties. Multi-family residents that do not have on-site composting are able to compost food at our innovative public food scrap drop-off stations.
- In cooperation with student group The Tomorrow Project, the City ran a pilot public food scrap cart in fall 2019, evaluating how well a public food compost container would work in downtown Kirkland. Unfortunately, the public food scrap cart was contaminated with plastic items all four weeks of the pilot, so the cart was removed in mid October. Learn more about the pilot and see photos of the contamination.
The City of Kirkland's plastic bag reduction policy is intended to reduce unnecessary plastic waste and encourage consumers to use reusable bags or reduce unneeded disposable bags.
Currently, staff are evaluating options for a potential policy related to single use food service ware. Staff prepared an Introductory Report on Single Use Food Service Ware Policies - March 2019 (pdf, 740kb) and presented it to Council during a study session to receive guidance on next steps. Staff are currently preparing a supplemental report.
Product stewardship is an environmental management strategy that means whoever designs, produces, sells, or uses a product takes responsibility for minimizing the product's environmental impact throughout all stages of the products' life cycle. Product stewardship programs exist in Washington for flurorescent lights, certain household electronics, and medicine, and are in development for paint. These programs provide better access for consumers to properly dispose of products that might otherwise have limited or challenging options.
Solid Waste staff participate on the Steering Committee of the Northwest Product Stewardship Council.
Kirkland supports and participates in regional solid waste policy planning efforts.
City Council has adopted the 2019 King County Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan. Under the plan, Kirkland’s residents and businesses have new recycling diversion, waste generation, and waste disposal targets to meet. (See page 33 of this pdf.) Kirkland is meeting some of the plan’s targets but others will require additional effort and resources to reach.
The plan establishes a target recycling diversion rate of 70%. Currently Kirkland’s combined single family, multifamily, and commercial recycling rate is about 46%. Kirkland residents currently throw away about 7.8 pounds of material each week, while the plan’s waste disposal target would be 5.1 pounds. The plan also calls for lower waste generation, the total weight of waste each person produces (including trash, recycling and compost).
Under the plan, a new transfer station will be sited and built somewhere in the northeast County service area. This service area includes the cities of Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, and Sammamish. Modern transfer stations offer recycling services and acceptance of difficult-to-recycle items such as appliances, mattresses, fluorescent tubes/bulbs, polystyrene, yard waste, and sharps. Once the new station is built, the Houghton Transfer Station will be closed. The King County-led transfer station siting process will include opportunities for public involvement and comment.