Find Posts By Topic

Help Trim Seattle’s Holiday Wasteline

According to the EPA, household garbage in the United States generally jumps 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day – about one million extra tons of waste goes to the landfill.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) suggests easy action steps to reduce your impact on the environment this holiday season:

Recycle at the curb! Cardboard boxes and wrapping paper are recyclable, even with some tape. Plastic ribbons and wrap are NOT RECYCLABLE. Consider reusing ribbons for next year’s presents. Clean and empty paper and plastic cups as well as aluminum foil and foil trays are now recyclable. If you have too much recycling for your recycling container, put the extra in a cardboard box and set it next to your recycling container for collection. Do NOT put recyclables in plastic bags. Extra cardboard boxes need to be flattened. There is no charge for extra recycling. Click here to learn more about what can be recycled.

Recycle your old electronics! Go to to find out where you can drop off TVs, monitors and computers for free as well as old cell phones and other electronics (may be a fee). Electronics can also be picked up at your curb for a fee. Call 206-684-3000 for pickup information. 

Leftover fruitcake isn’t garbage anymore! According to SPU, 30 percent of Seattle’s garbage is made up of food waste. Put your leftover fruitcake, Christmas ham, nutshells, pumpkin pie, paper napkins, pizza boxes and other leftovers in your food and yard waste cart to make compost for local parks and gardens. Click here for tips on storing and carrying scraps from kitchen to your cart.  Consider donating non-perishable food to your local food bank.

Reuse it!  Save packing peanuts or bubble wrap for your next mailing, or take them to a mail store business that will put them to use. Other reuse ideas include:

Bring a reusable bag when you shop for gifts or groceries. Wrap gifts in recycled or reused wrapping paper or even scarves or pillow slips! Send electronic or recycled-content greeting cards and reuse or recycle paper cards you receive. Buy rechargeable batteries. Consider giving a battery charger as a gift.

Shop smart. Select durable gifts that can be enjoyed again and again. Or for the person who has everything give experiences or a service, or something useful that can be consumed (candles, food, soap).  When preparing for festivities, plan food purchases carefully to ensure the least amount of waste.

For more holiday waste prevention tips, visit King County’s Green Holidays website.