Notes from Seattle – Yard Waste and Composting

The amount of food-soiled organic waste in disposed residential garbage is significant. In 2002, food scraps and food soiled paper represented nearly 40% of the disposed 143,000 tons of residential garbage in Seattle.  

Curbside yard waste collection service has recently expanded to include more items. In the past, only items such as grass, leaves, twigs, and other plant trimmings were permitted in yard waste carts. Now, vegetative food waste and food-soiled paper can also be disposed of in yard waste carts. Items such as fruit and vegetables, bread, pasta, grains, coffee grounds, tea bags, paper contaminated with food or grease, and paper plates and towels can all find a new life through composting rather than taking up space in landfills.

For those Seattlites with a „do-it-yourself“ attitude towards composting, the city offers food composting bins and yard waste composting bins for sale at a 35-75% discount over retail prices.

The addition of certain types of food scraps (limited to „vegetative“ type) to curbside yard waste collection carts is anticipated to recover 10,000-12,000 tons per year of new food-soiled waste. That’s progress!

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