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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are we running out of landfill space?
  2. Can I recycle yogurt containers?
  3. Why can’t I recycle lids and caps?
  4. Do staples have to be removed from paper before recycling?
  5. What can I do with a mattress?
  6. Do I have to remove labels from containers before recycling?
  7. What do I do with an old microwave?
  8. What can I do with large amounts of soil or dirt?
  9. Can I put aluminum foil or wrap in my curbside recycling bin?
  10. What do I do with packing peanuts and plastic packaging blocks?
  11. Can I recycle shredded paper in the curbside bin?
  12. What do I do with TVs, laptops, DVD players and other electronics now that they're banned from the landfill?
  13. Can I take furniture to the transfer station?
  14. How do you know what's in the garbage?
  15. Can I recycle food scraps where I live?
  16. What happens to the food scraps and food soiled paper that I recycle?
  17. Who pays for the food scrap and food soiled paper collection service?
  18. Won’t the food scraps in my cart attract pests?
  19. Can I put meat and dairy products in my bin?
  20. What about compostable cups, plates and utensils?
  21. Why can we no longer put milk and ice cream cartons in the yard waste cart?
  22. Can I put shredded paper in my yard waste cart?
  23. What paper goes in the yard waste cart?
  24. Can I put my used latte cup in the yard waste cart?
  25. May I put picnic plates and cups in the yard waste bin?

1. Are we running out of landfill space?

No. Successful recycling programs in King County will allow us to keep the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill open a few more years. Each year the landfill stays open saves rate payers the cost of exporting garbage out of the county.

2. Can I recycle yogurt containers?

Yes. Yogurt and margarine containers go in the curbside recycling bins. (Put the lids in the garbage.)

3. Why can’t I recycle lids and caps?

Lids are made of different plastic resins than containers. Also, their small size makes them hard to compact in bales and they can pop out when crushed.

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4. Do staples have to be removed from paper before recycling?

No, but do remove paper clips and binder clips.

5. What can I do with a mattress?

Used mattresses cannot be recycled and charitable organizations do not take them. If the mattress is clean, consider donating it or give to a friend or relative. Otherwise, mattresses go into the garbage.

6. Do I have to remove labels from containers before recycling?

Bottles and cans can be recycled without removing labels as the labels will burn off during processing. However, if you remove paper labels, they can be recycled along with your mixed paper.

7. What do I do with an old microwave?

If your microwave still works, consider donating it or selling for reuse. If it no longer works, dispose of it at one of the King County transfer stations.

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8. What can I do with large amounts of soil or dirt?

Clean soil can be recycled at many facilities in King County. Contaminated soil must be disposed at a transfer station.

9. Can I put aluminum foil or wrap in my curbside recycling bin?

No. Aluminum foil is frequently dirty from food and grease and is hard to clean. Also, there is also some confusion between actual aluminum foil and metallic plastic wrappers, so it's better to put it in the garbage.

10. What do I do with packing peanuts and plastic packaging blocks?

Neither of these plastics are taken at curbside recycling. Packing peanuts can be reused or to taken to mailing centers, and there area some businesses that will accept blocks.

11. Can I recycle shredded paper in the curbside bin?

No, shredded paper is difficult to recycle because the pieces are so small. It flies away and contaminates other recyclable items. You can use shredded paper as mulch for your garden or layer a small amount of it with food scraps in your yard waste bin.

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12. What do I do with TVs, laptops, DVD players and other electronics now that they're banned from the landfill?

Electronics must be recycled. The Take it Back Network lists places in King County that accept electronics.

13. Can I take furniture to the transfer station?

Furniture in good condition can be donated or sold for reuse. If the furniture is in poor condition, it may be disposed of at King County transfer stations. No items with lengths greater than 8 feet; no heavy objects with dimensions over 2 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet and more than 200 pounds.

14. How do you know what's in the garbage?

In King County waste characterization studies are performed every five years to show what's being thrown away. These studies show that paper, food, wood, scrap metal, glass, plastic, yard waste and other recyclable materials make up over half of the current garbage stream in King County.

15. Can I recycle food scraps where I live?

Most areas in King County now have the service available for single family residents. Check with your city or waste hauler to find out the specifics for your service area.

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16. What happens to the food scraps and food soiled paper that I recycle?

Food scraps, food-soiled paper and yard waste collected in King County is composted at Cedar Grove Composting facility.

17. Who pays for the food scrap and food soiled paper collection service?

Depending on the service area in King County, residents either pay for yard waste collection as part of their garbage service fee, or as an additional service fee for which they sign up. Fees cover the cost of collection, transportation and labor.

18. Won’t the food scraps in my cart attract pests?

Managed property, it is unlikely that your food scrap/yard waste cart will attract pests anymore than your garbage cart does. You can use a compostable bag or paper bag to contain the food scraps or layer your food scraps in between layers of yard waste. Always keep the lid closed.

19. Can I put meat and dairy products in my bin?

It's best to check with your specific waste haulerhttp://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/garbage-recycling/recyclefood.asp to find out if mean and dairy can go in the bin. In general, residents with weekly food scrap collection may add meat and dairy.

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20. What about compostable cups, plates and utensils?

New products come out every day, and many provide great promise for the future, Currently, the regional composting facility does not accept compostable plates, cups and utensils as they do not break down within the time frame required to complete their composting process.

21. Why can we no longer put milk and ice cream cartons in the yard waste cart?

In 2007 the regional composting facility determined that milk and ice cream cartons contain plastic and do not break down sufficiently in the composting process. You can put the rinsed out milk and ice cream cartons in your regular curbside recycling cart.

22. Can I put shredded paper in my yard waste cart?

Yes, small amounts of shredded paper are allowed in your yard waste cart if they are layered between yard waste and food scraps. Shredded paper absorbs liquid from the food scraps and yard waste and helps minimize odor.

23. What paper goes in the yard waste cart?

Soiled paper with food scraps on it, greasy pizza boxes, paper food is wrapped in. Most paper from the kitchen, including paper towels and napkins, and coffee filters, can be put in the yard waste cart.

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24. Can I put my used latte cup in the yard waste cart?

No. The local composting facility does not take coffee cups from residents at this time.

25. May I put picnic plates and cups in the yard waste bin?

This is tricky. Paper plates and cups with NO plastic (shiny) coating can go in the cart. Unfortunately, most disposable cups and plates are plastic or plastic coated, or Styrofoam, and they don't go in the yard waste bin.

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Updated: Jan. 14, 2009


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