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SF Recycling Guide cover
Download our 2020 Recycle Guide (pdf, 3mb) - email us to request a hard copy
Errata: bulky item rates from 2019 were included, see correct 2020 rates here

Recycling questions? Contact us at or (425) 587-3812. If you leave a message, please include your question, phone number, and address.

Información en Español
Información sobre recolección de reciclaje
Información en Español: 1 (800) 592-9995
Recomendaciones para reciclaje (pdf)

Other Languages
한국어 / Korean (pdf)
አማርኛ / Amharic (pdf)
Русский / Russian (pdf)
繁體中文 / Chinese (pdf)
Af Soomaali / Somali (pdf)
Tiếng Việt / Vietnamese (pdf)
हिन्दी / Hindi (pdf)

What can I put in my blue recycling cart?
In your blue recycling cart, you can recycle:
Recycle Cart
  • Paper (including aseptic cartons)
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Plastic bottles, cups, tubs & jugs (screw or snap lids back on)
  • Metal (aluminum/tin cans and scrap metal)

Only recycle the items listed above. These are the only things that we can sort, and that manufacturers want to use to make new products.

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. 

What About Extras?

Extra recycling is free.

  • Place extra household recyclables next to your cart in a paper bag, cardboard box, or reusable container labeled "Recycling".

Extra cardboard boxes 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.

We need your help to keep recycling strong!
You can help keep recycling going strong by recycling right! The biggest problem for recycling right now is when the wrong things are put into the blue cart.

When food and liquid goes in the recycling, it can ruin paper and other recyclables by making them wet or moldy. Plastic bags in your blue cart can make paper harder to recycle because the sorting machines can't tell thin plastic from thin paper.

rinse dirty containers before recycling

Please make sure everything you put in your recycling cart is:

  1. Clean - rinse out food residue, pour out liquids
  2. Loose - do not put your recycling in plastic bags

Do not put these in your recycle cart! Our top problem items
These items cause problems at the Recycling Center, and should not go in your recycling cart at home:

oops tagI got a tag! What does that mean?

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.

What about...
Not sure whether something is recyclable? Contact our Recycling Hotline at or (425) 587-3812. You can also check King County’s What Do I Do With... website to see if items can be brought somewhere to be recycled. Please don't "wish-cycle"links to external site items that you want to be recycled but are not on our accepted items list (pdf, 3mb).

Drop-Off and Next-to-Your-Cart Recycling Options 
Many household items are recyclable but unable to be sorted in our curbside program. For these items that can't go in your home recycling cart, there are special recycling events and programs for you to drop off items or put them out next to your cart (with notice to Waste Management). Some items also require special disposal for safety.

Special Recycling and Disposal Programs (follow links for instructions)

Recycling Collection Events
We periodically hold Special Recycling Collection Events for residents to bring in recyclable materials that are not collected curbside, such as tires, appliances, mattresses and toilets.

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.

what happens to recycling

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!

Public Works
123 5th Avenue, Kirkland WA 98033
T. 425-587-3800 | F. 425-587-3807
Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Operations & Maintenance
915 8th St, Kirkland WA 98033
T. 425-587-3900 24/7 | F. 425-587-3902
Mon-Fri, 6:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

General Inquiries - Contact us via the: 
Our Kirkland Customer Service Portal