Beginning January 1, 2020, the city of Seattle and King County will no longer accept plastic bags and plastic wrap in curbside recycling. Customers will be asked to take plastic bags and wraps to a drop-off location for re-manufacturing or put them in the garbage.
“Our goal is to ensure what goes into the recycling cart gets recycled at its highest value. We want everyone to Recycle Right,” noted Jeff Fowler, Seattle Public Utilities Solid Waste Deputy Director. “Removing plastic bags and wrap from our curbside recycling mix will have a positive impact on the quality of our other recyclable materials and the efficiency of the facilities that process those materials.”
County officials said plastic wrap and bags can jam sorting and processing equipment at recycling facilities, which can lead to frequent shutdowns so workers can remove the tangled materials.
While throwing plastic bags and wrap in the garbage is the least desirable action, it’s better to toss them out rather than contaminate other recyclables, officials said.
“Recycling is one of the best ways to protect the environment and fight climate change, but to make it work we have to do it right,” said King County Solid Waste Division Director Pat McLaughlin. “Keeping problem items out of our bins at home will save money because we won’t have to throw out good recyclable materials that get contaminated from dirty plastic bags.”