New Rates Take Effect Jan. 1 and Other King County Solid Waste Division News

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New Solid Waste Disposal Rates Take Effect Jan. 1 

An increase in King County’s solid waste disposal rates takes effect Jan. 1, 2019, and includes a discounted fee for low-income customers. 

On Jan. 1, 2019, the new minimum fee for self-haulers visiting a King County recycling and solid waste transfer facility will increase from $24.25 to $25.25. The typical (one-can) single family curbside customer can expect their monthly bill to increase by about $0.34 per month. 

The new rate enables the King County Solid Waste Division to sustain the current recycling and solid waste transfer and disposal system while investing in equipment and infrastructure upgrades, including replacing the Algona Transfer Station with a new recycling and transfer station in south King County.

The new rate will also fund major projects identified in the Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, including providing for disposal of garbage over the long-term. 

The discounted fee, titled Cleanup LIFT, is for qualifying low-income residents who haul their own garbage, recyclables and compostable materials to a King County recycling and solid waste transfer facility. Materials eligible for the discount include garbage, refrigerant-type appliances, yard waste and clean wood. King County estimates about 300,000 customers would be eligible for the discounted fee.  

Self-haul customers who show their ORCA LIFT, EBT, or Medicaid (ProviderOne) card when entering a King County facility will receive a $12 discount off their fee for each type of material, every visit. 

Also beginning Jan. 1, 2019, customers will be able to recycle non-refrigerant type major appliances at no cost, including stoves, washers, and dryers at King County solid waste facilities where scrap metal is collected.

Comp Plan Cover

Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan Update 

On, July 26, 2018, King County Executive Dow Constantine transmitted the 2019 Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan to the King County Council for their consideration and approval. This Comp Plan is required by state law and interlocal agreements with 37 partnering cities. The Comp Plan presents strategies for managing King County's solid waste over the next six years, with consideration of the next 20 years. It addresses the many components of the regional system including recycling, collection, finance, transfer station services, and disposal. Comments received during the January 8 through March 8, 2018 public comment period are addressed in the Plan.

On Jan. 9, the King County Council's Regional Policy Committee (RPC) discussed the Comp Plan, with many members in attendance voicing their support for adoption. The RPC is expected to take formal action on the Comp Plan at its Feb. 6 meeting.  

After the RPC, the Comp Plan must be approved by the King County Council, partner cities and the Washington State Department of Ecology. The approval process is expected to conclude in 2019. 


Responsible Recycling Task Force Continues to Respond to Changing Recycling Markets 

In April 2018, King County convened a "Responsible Recycling Task Force" to help the region respond to new recycling restrictions imposed by the Chinese government. 

China, one of the major importers of American recycling, restricted the amount and types of recyclables sent there for processing. 

Though these restrictions only apply to about 14 percent of King County's recyclable materials, mainly mixed paper and plastics, the new rules sent a shockwave through U.S. recycling markets. Fortunately markets remain in place for 86 percent of King County's recyclable material, including organics like food waste and yard waste. 

In response to China’s new rules, King County convened the task force, which is composed of representatives from local governments, recycling collection companies, processors, and others.

One of the first actions the task force took in response to China’s restrictions was a Recycle Right education campaign. Recycling right means making sure materials in the recycling bin are empty, clean and dry; putting the right materials into the recycling bin; and checking with your city or recycling collection company if you're unsure about what can be recycled. 

Additionally, the task force sought a thorough understanding of how recycling markets were being affected by China’s rules, and looked into whether current and emerging technologies were available to strengthen domestic recycling markets, how manufacturers could participate by reducing or finding alternative packaging options, and if any legislative actions could be taken to bolster recycling. 

With its preliminary work completed, the task force will now develop a report with proposed actions local governments and others can take to ensure that what is put in the recycling bin can and will be turned into something new. The task force anticipates this report will be ready by the beginning of 2019. 

More information can be found on the Responsible Recycling Task Force's webpage, and at the Solid Waste Division's Recycle Right webpage

City partners have been sent two social media tool kits to help spread the recycle right message on their various social media channels. Contact Solid Waste Division Communications Specialist Matt Manguso if you would like more information on the tool kits. 


Extending Operating Hours in Response to SR-99 Closure

Beginning Jan. 11, 2019, the King County Solid Waste Division will temporarily extend its operating hours at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill and at the Houghton Transfer Station. These extensions were proposed to help accommodate for traffic disruptions when the State Route 99 Viaduct in Seattle permanently closes.

In addition to being a vital commuter route into downtown Seattle, State Route 99 is a major transportation corridor that serves one of the West Coast's largest seaports. 

For that reason, the three-week closure of the Viaduct could have a significant impact to traffic beyonf the downtown Seattle area. According to a briefing from the Washington State Department of Transportation, traffic patterns could shift east and put an additional 100,000 vehicle trips each day onto Interstate 90, Interstate 405, and State Route 520. 

The extended hours, which would be effect from Jan. 11 to Feb. 1, 2019, will give King County's refuse trucks the flexibility to access roadways during off-peak hours and help provide relief to busy roadways during peak commute times. The affected facilities will be the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in Maple Valley and the Houghton Transfer Station in Kirkland. 

The Cedar Hills Regional Landfill currently operates from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the proposed change
would extend operating hours to 10 p.m. on weekdays to enable operations crews to process garbage brought in after

The Houghton Transfer Station currently operates from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The proposed change would extend hours for King County trucks only until 11 p.m. on weekdays (the operating hours for the public will be

As required by King County Code, Section 10.10.025, the Solid Waste Division notified the King County Council and provided a 15-day comment period that concluded on Dec. 26, 2018. King County will take all reasonable measures to minimize community impacts during extended hours of operation.  

Upcoming Meetings

For information about upcoming meetings, follow these links:

Metropolitan Solid Waste Management Advisory Committee (MSWMAC):

Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC):

Cedar Hills Regional Landfill Community Meeting:

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