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One Less Bag Challenge

One Less Bag Challenge Recycling Champs reduce waste and make it part of everyday activities! Learn how (PDF, 1 MB)….

One Less Bag Challenge

Make taking out the trash a little easier – take King County’s One Less Bag Challenge. Pledge and find ways to reduce your garbage by one bag a month by recycling more basic recyclables, food scraps and food-soiled paper, reusing and wasting less.

Take the pledge and receive free recycling tools.

Why One Less Bag? More than 60% of what ends up in our landfill is easily recycled. By taking the pledge, you are helping save valuable resources from going to waste and you could save money on your garbage bill by shrinking your garbage cart size.

Did you know? If we all reduced our garbage by just one bag of recyclables per month, we could collectively keep more than 26 million pounds of material, worth $750,000, out of the landfill.

Here are four steps to get you started toward one less bag of garbage:

  • Put food scraps and food-soiled paper in your yard waste cart. Food and yard waste makes up a third of what ends up in the landfill.

    • Sign up for curbside yard waste service, if you don’t already have it. Contact your garbage hauler for details.
    • Begin recycling with veggie and fruit trimmings or the leftovers that got lost in the back of the fridge.
    • Set up a kitchen collection container and make food scrap recycling a part of your pre-meal prep and your after-meal clean-up routine.
    • Try these tips to make it clean and easy. Take the One Less Bag Pledge and get 10 free compostable bags, or find a compostable bag retailer near you.
  • Discover one new thing that you didn’t know you could recycle and start recycling it.

    • Check the recycling rules in your community by finding your garbage hauler and visiting their website for their do’s and don’ts list.
    • Confused about how to recycle different plastics? Ignore the chasing arrow recycle symbols on containers. Instead, look at shape: plastic tubs, jugs and bottles can all be recycled. This includes things like yogurt containers, liquid detergent bottles and milk jugs.
    • To learn how to recycle the most unusual items, check out the What Do I Do With…? website.
    • Place recycling bins in the kitchen, home office and garage.
  • Don’t let one piece of paper—even food-soiled paper—hit the garbage can. Learn what goes in the recycling cart and what goes in the yard waste cart and reduce junk mail at its source (external).

    • Remember all junk mail, envelopes, catalogs, magazines, office and craft paper of all shapes, sizes and colors can be recycled.
    • Add a recycle bin to your home office to make recycling more convenient.
    • Put food-soiled paper such as pizza delivery boxes, dirty paper towels, napkins and uncoated* paper plates in your yard waste cart. You can include your shredded paper.
    • Recycle flattened cardboard boxes—from the small cereal box to the large shipping box.
    • Stop junk mail, phone book and catalog waste through online services such as Catalog Choice (external).
    *Uncoated paper does not have a shiny surface.
  • Choose one disposable item that you typically use (and toss!) at home and switch to a reusable alternative. Example: paper coffee cups, cleaning wipes, or plastic storage containers and shopping bags.

    • Kick the paper cup, plastic bag or plastic water bottle habit. Go reusable!
    • Bring your reusable bags to the grocery store every time you shop. Put a reminder on your dashboard or at the top of your shopping list.
    • If you use plastic bags, you can recycle them at your local grocery store. They accept clean and dry grocery, produce, dry cleaning and bread bags, as well as the plastic wrap from paper products such as toilet paper.
    • Look at what you buy (external) and select products with recyclable packaging.
    • Learn more about reuse from King County's EcoConsumer.

Take the pledge!

Take the One Less Bag Pledge and receive a free recycling kit. The kit includes:

  • 10 compostable bags to get you started with food scrap recycling
  • A spatula to help with the hard-to-clean containers like peanut butter jars
  • Recycling do’s and don’ts booklet with a fridge magnet

Note: offer valid for King County residents outside the City of Seattle only. King County will only use your email address to mail your recycling kit and follow up with you on how reducing your garbage output is going. King County will never share your information.

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Updated: Dec. 17, 2013

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