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November 15 is America Recycles Day

Tips to reduce your waste.

Seattle residents and businesses are known for their leadership in recycling. Last year, the city diverted a record 55.4 percent of its annual generated waste from the landfill through recycling and composting.

“Seattle residents and businesses recycle because it’s a smart and easy thing to do to support a healthy community,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. “Recycling cuts down on landfill costs, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves energy and natural resources — and creates jobs.”

Still, Seattle sends more than 300,000 tons of garbage to a landfill in Oregon every year. In recognition of America Recycles Day, November 15, Seattle Public Utilities offers a few tips to reduce Seattle’s waste:

Seattle throws away nearly 90,000 tons of compostable food and food-soiled paper a year.

  • Put leftover kitchen scraps, including greasy cardboard pizza boxes and paper napkins in your food and yard waste cart, where it will be made into compost for local gardens.

Seattle throws away nearly 40,000 tons of paper a year.

  • Recycle newspaper, mail, catalogs, cardboard, mixed paper, office paper. When shopping for office supplies, buy recycled-content paper.

72.4 million tons of packaging are thrown away in America each year.

  • Reuse foam packaging or take it to a shipping store. For a list of local mailing centers that will take packing peanuts for reuse, call the Peanut Hotline at (800) 828-2214.
  • Bring a reusable bag with you when you shop.

North Americans recycled more than 7.6 million pounds of rechargeable batteries in 2011.

Nearly 2 million tons of used electronics are discarded in America each year.

  • Contact 1-800-RECYCLE or  to recycle your old TV, computer, monitor, laptop or tablet for free at a several convenient locations.

An estimated 128 million cell phones are retired from use annually. An estimated 670 million fluorescent light bulbs are thrown away each year. 

  • Recycle electronic and CFL products such as TVs, computers and cell phones, and fluorescent bulbs and tubes at local Take It Back Network locations. A recycling fee may apply. Visit to learn more.

Seattle businesses recycled more than 178,000 tons of construction materials in 2011.

$100,000 in rewards were provided to Seattleites for reducing waste in 2011.