Help Residents Recycle and Compost

How to train residents

  1. The best time to train residents on how to sort correctly is during move-in. For best results, talk to residents in person and physically show them the containers used for recycle, compost, and garbage.
  2. Use this sample letter to residents (PDF) to notify them by writing about where the recycle and compost collection areas are located in the building.
  3. Make sure that each unit has a container to collect recyclables and a food waste scrap container. You can request stickers for the recycle bin and food waste scrap containers below.
  4. Include the sorting guidelines in the move-in package. Request free sorting guidelines in different languages below.

Graphic showing items for Recycling, Compost & Garbage, with illutrations of example items and the following text:

The top 5 items wanted in Recycling, Compost & Garbage
Complete sorting information at:

When in doubt, find out.

1. Paper
2. Cardboard - flattened
3. Plastic bottles & containers
4. Metal cans
5. Glass bottles & jars 
(Must Be EMPTY, CLEAN & DRY. No Plastic Bags.)

1. Food scraps
2. Pizza boxes, napkins & paper towels
3. Compostable bags
4. Compostable food packaging
5. Yard waste & plants 
(No Plastic Bags)

1. Plastic bags, wraps & wrappers
2. Bubble envelopes & mailers
3. Styrofoam & food foam trays
4. Diapers & pet waste - bagged
5. Hygiene products & personal protective equipment

Items that need special disposal:
1. Furniture
2. Electronics
3. Batteries & fluorescent light bulbs
4. Medicines & syringes
5. Cooking oil & motor oil
(Place up to two one-gallon jugs of ccoking oil or motor oil next to recycle containers.)

Property manager or builder owner schedule at:

More info:

Download a flyer showing the most common types of items in your chosen language. (PDF)
English | አማርኛ (Amharic) | عربي (Arabic) | हिन्दी‎ (Hindi) | 日本語 (Japanese) | ខ្មែរ (Khmer) | 한국어 (Korean) | русский язык (Russian) | Tagalog | Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)

How to set up containers for success

  1. Label each container with stickers and post sorting poster near each container. Request free stickers and sorting posters (available in different languages) below.
  2. To reduce contamination, place the containers so the first one the residents will encounter as they approach them is the garbage, then the recycle, and finally the compost.
Screenshot of compost cart label
Screenshot of recycling cart label
Screenshot of garbage cart label

Screenshot of container sorting graphic


Informational materials for display

Order online

Help residents sort correctly by ordering free materials, such as flyers, posters, and labels. Many items are available in multiple languages (examples below). Your order will be delivered within 2 weeks.

These materials are only for Seattle residents in apartment, condominium buildings, and other multifamily housing. Businesses, such as office buildings or food services, should order materials from our commercial/business customer site.

Download print materials

Don't want to wait for an order? Download these posters and flyers:


Still having issues?

Look up answers in the Where Does it Go? Tool.

Contact us by email or leave us a voice message at (206) 684-8717.


Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000

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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.