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Keep a Lid on it Seattle & How to Set Out Extras

What to do when you have too much? Consider only putting out what can fit in your cart. Make sure you can close your cart and set out extras the right way.

Seattleites are spending more time at home this spring and if you’re like most people, that means you’re spending that time cleaning. You may be wondering what to do with the extra stuff you’re finding. There are a few things you can do to both keep your home clean and help Seattle Public Utilities keep our essential garbage, recycling, and yard & food waste collectors safe and reduce exposure to illness.

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SPU is asking that during this time, residents help our staff by keeping their city provided carts from overflowing by following these helpful tips.

  • Keep all garbage safely bagged and not loose in your cart to help keep our front line staff safe and healthy.
  • Only filling your carts to a capacity in which you’re still able to keep the lid on them (not overflowing)
  • Limiting the amount of extra waste you set out. This will help reduce handling by our workers.
  • If needed consider changing the size of your cart. You can request a cart size change online.

Store Your Extras, If Possible:

  • Recyclables – After your cart is full, you can store recyclables (cardboard, cans, bottles, paper, glass, scrap metal, appliances) at home, out of the weather until your cart has been emptied.
  • Yard Waste – Leaves, branches, yard clippings and other yard waste can remain in your yard if your cart is full. You can also start a backyard compost pile.
  • Hazardous Household Products – Store hazardous products so that kids and pets cannot access them. Then when it is safe to do so, you can drop off these materials at a number of locations.
  • Donation Items – Some donation sites may be closed during this time. Please do not leave donations at a closed site – this is considered illegal dumping. Save good condition items to donate at a later time.

How to Set out Extras – Recycling

Seattle residents can always recycle extras at no extra charge.

  • DO put additional CLEAN, EMPTY, and DRY recyclables in sturdy bins or boxes next to your recycling cart on your regular collection day. Remember to flatten empty cardboard boxes.
  • DO NOT put recyclables inside of bags. These will be thrown away as trash.

How to Set out Extras – Yard Waste

Extra yard waste does come with an extra charge typically for each additional 32-gallon container or 4 feet by 2 feet bundle set out beside your city-provided cart.

  • DO bundle yard waste in 4×2 feet dimensions or in 32-gallon containers. Bundles must be tied with natural fiber twine. You can use an old bin for garbage container.
  • DO NOT put extra food waste out. No food waste is allowed in these extra containers.

How to Set out Extras – Garbage

Extra garbage can be placed in a plastic bag or your own personal garbage can (up to 32 gallons).

  • DO place it next to your regular city provided garbage cart. Customers are charged for each extra bag, bundle or can.
  • DO NOT place recycling or food & yard waste in extra containers with garbage. This will lead to your items not be collected.
  • DO schedule for a special item pick up if needed. Bulky items, such as a couch, dishwasher or mattress, can be collected for around $30 (see our site as these rates may change). These are the same rates at the transfer stations, so save yourself the trip and call (206) 684-3000 or go online to schedule a special item collection. Once scheduled, place your bulky items out for collection by 7 AM, Monday through Friday of the scheduled week of collection. Make sure the items are on private property (not curb strips) and are easily accessible.

We know this can be a difficult time. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to maintain service and safety.

Help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in King County. Find out more at King County Public Health.