Recycling is Changing

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April 23, 2019

Recycling is Changing

What You Need to Know

You may have heard that the world of recycling has been going through some big changes. These changes are affecting how King County and the rest of the world recycles, and they start with a big announcement that China made in early 2018.

For years, China has imported nearly half of the world’s paper and plastic recyclables, to either resell or process into new materials. While this has been a profitable industry for the Chinese, it’s also pretty terrible for their environment, causing serious air and water pollution problems. Fed up with the consequences of cleaning the world’s dirty recyclables, China tightened restrictions on the types and cleanliness of the materials they accept.

These restrictions have recycling programs all around the world, and here in King County, trying to figure out the best ways to keep people recycling. Although the policies have changed, the importance of recycling hasn’t. We know that recycling still saves energy, conserves resources, and reduces greenhouse gases, and that we can all play a part in the process. 

What can you do?

Focus on recycling right! Making sure everything you put in your recycling bin is empty, clean and dry is more important than ever. One wet or dirty item can spoil a full load of recyclables.

More helpful tips:

  • Use a paper towel or sponge to wipe out excess food, rinse to remove any additional food/liquid left behind, let the container dry.
  • When in doubt, check it out. Check with your garbage and recycling company or refer to our recycling quick guide for tips.
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Featured Tips

Eligible Customers can Save Money at King County Recycling and Garbage Transfer Facilities

As of January 1st of this year, residential customers currently enrolled in ProviderOne, EBT, or ORCA LIFT who haul their garbage and/or recyclables to a King County recycling and transfer facility are eligible to receive a discount of $12 off the disposal cost of each type of waste, each visit. Show your card at the facility entrance to receive the discount. This discount is not offered at City of Seattle transfer stations and is not available to businesses. 

Food Too Good to Waste: Tasty Family Recipes and Tips to Waste Less Food

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Learn family recipes for pozole and dumplings and view how to waste less food in the process! In the pozole video, check out how cilantro is stored to stay fresh: upright in a glass of water with a plastic bag over the top.

From King County's Food Too Good To Waste program, find more recipes and learn tips to waste less food:

Earth Day Activity Guide from King County Green Schools Program

This awesome Earth Day activity guide is filled with resources to inspire Earth Day fun and learning at your school, on Earth Day (April 22nd) or every day! It features educational and promotional campaigns, community and stewardship activities, competitions, field trip suggestions, links to other guides, sample pledge forms, documentary movie ideas, and more.

King County Green Schools Program provides hands-on assistance, resources, tools such as indoor recycling bins and signs, and recognition to K-12 schools and districts in King County outside the City of Seattle. For more information, visit or contact Dale Alekel at 206-477-5267 or

Click Image for Recycle Right video

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