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2015 Rating YellowPie chart Solid/Hazardous Waste Management Performance Key

Solid Waste Division (SWD)

Percent of single-family curbside solid waste stream that is recycled

2015 Results: 56%

2015 Target: 64%

2016 Target: 64%

Influencing Factors: SWD estimates that the 2015 single-family recycling rate must be 64% in order for the County to achieve a 2015 overall municipal solid waste recycling rate of 55%. This is needed to achieve an overall recycling rate of 70% by 2020. These goals are established in the draft King County Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, but the targets for 2015 were not met. SWD believes increases of this magnitude are unlikely to occur without changes in comprehensive plan.

Percent of solid waste recycled for single family households

Outreach activities in 2015 included the following: 1) staff and volunteers of SWD’s Master Recycler Composter (MRC) program made 11,414 public contacts in support of SWD’s "Recycle More. It's Easy to Do." and “Food: Too Good to Waste” campaigns, providing recycling information and answering questions at community events; 2) the "Recycle More. It's Easy to Do." campaign completed its fourth year of promoting the One Less Bag Challenge pledge drive, receiving 4,484 pledges in 2015. The residents that pledged received recycling tools at events or by mail. Also, in September, the campaign launched a month-long retail partnership with Bartell Drugs, BioBag, and the City of Seattle that promoted composting of household organics by providing discounts for compostable bags and countertop food scrap containers for residents. Subsequently, sales of these recycling tools increased by 6% compared to the same period in 2014; 3) the Recycle More Facebook page supported all these efforts with social media posts reminding residents of tips on recycling and composting, and gained 397 followers in 2015 - for a total of 4,631 followers since the page launched in 2009; and 4), a broad advertising campaign was implemented, including radio and Facebook advertising that resulted in 3.7 million media impressions.

In addition, in 2015, SWD’s Spanish language curbside recycling outreach and education campaign, “Recicla Mas. Es Facilisimo!” (Recycle More. It’s Easy.) completed its fifth year. This campaign utilizes Spanish speaking partners, the Facilitadores de Reciclaje, who teach garbage, recycling, and composting basics through their personal networks, at workshops and community events, and in radio and TV interviews. In 2015 the Facilitadores spoke with 2,597 residents through these venues. SWD also conducted a paid Spanish language media campaign on TV and radio, including five interviews with Facilitadores, which yielded 2.9 million impressions.

Strategy Going Forward: In 2016, SWD will continue working with stakeholders through the Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan planning process to determine additional steps necessary to reduce waste and improve recycling. In addition, SWD expects that 2016 outreach campaigns will result in increased diversion of recyclables and compostables from disposal. English language outreach will continue to include event outreach, the One Less Bag Challenge pledge drive, social media on Facebook, advertising, and retail partnerships.

New in 2016, SWD will pilot curbside cart tagging tactics with the goal of reminding single-family residents to compost their food scraps and food soiled paper in their curbside yard carts. The pilot will determine the depth of the response to a curbside reminder to compost food scraps by measuring the percent of food scraps and food soiled paper which is moved from the garbage to the yard cart as a result of the tagging. Additionally, SWD will explore making changes to collection services in the unincorporated areas to boost recycling and composting. These changes may include every other week garbage collection; including the cost of yard/food waste collection in the cost of garbage collection; and mandatory separation of recycling and composting from the garbage waste stream. SWD will also continue to work with unincorporated area haulers to implement the Best Practice Basics (BPBs) in multi-family complexes in unincorporated King County. The BPBs were piloted in 2013-14 and found to be effective in increasing recycling volumes at pilot sites.

Also new in 2016, the “Recicla Mas! Es Facilisimo.” Spanish language campaign will form a lead Facilitadores team to deepen the involvement the Facilitadores have in program planning. The Facilitadores will also have access to more training about recycling education methods for multifamily housing, where many Hispanic residents live. The program will launch a Facebook page which will be managed by the Facilitadores in partnership with SWD. The Spanish language outreach will continue to include event outreach, advertising, and promotion of the same discounted composting tools offered through the English language campaign. Finally, in 2016 SWD will begin planning to expand its multicultural outreach efforts to other language groups in King County.

King County’s solid waste service area includes its unincorporated areas and all cities in King County except Seattle and Milton. It also includes areas in the cities of Auburn, Bothell, and Pacific that cross over into adjacent counties. The data for single-family recycling and disposal do not include a) the portion of Pacific in Pierce County, and b) Snoqualmie Pass and the Skykomish area, which have limited collection services.

Map showing pounds of Recycled Materials Collected per Single Family Household per Week by Collection Area
Percent of Single Family Household Solid Waste Recycled
2013 Information
Download the PDF version.

Pounds of solid waste disposed per single-family household per week

Graph showing pounds of solid waste disposed per single-family household per week 2015 Results: 25 pounds per week

2015 Target: 24 pounds per week

2016 Target: 24 pounds per week

Influencing Factors: Pounds of solid waste disposed per single-family household per week has remained unchanged since 2011. The lack of progress in meeting the goal of 24 pounds per week may be explained in part by increased consumer purchasing due to improvements in the economy. SWD believes that increasing participation in curbside recycling and composting decreases the amount of waste disposed.

Outreach activities in 2015 included the following: 1) staff and volunteers of SWD’s Master Recycler Composter (MRC) program made 11,414 public contacts in support of SWD’s "Recycle More. It's Easy to Do." and “Food: Too Good to Waste” campaigns, providing recycling information and answering questions at community events; 2) the "Recycle More. It's Easy to Do." campaign completed its fourth year of promoting the One Less Bag Challenge pledge drive, receiving 4,484 pledges in 2015. The residents that pledged received recycling tools at events or by mail. Related to this, the campaign launched a month-long retail partnership in September with Bartell Drugs, BioBag, and the City of Seattle that promoted composting of household organics by providing discounts for compostable bags and countertop food scrap containers for residents. Subsequently, sales of these recycling tools increased by 6% compared to the same period in 2014; 3) the Recycle More Facebook page supported all these efforts with social media posts reminding residents of tips on recycling and composting, and gained 397 followers in 2015 - for a total of 4,631 followers since the page launched in 2009; and 4), a broad advertising campaign was implemented, including radio and Facebook advertising that resulted in 3.7 million media impressions.

In addition, in 2015, SWD’s Spanish language curbside recycling outreach and education campaign, “Recicla Mas. Es Facilisimo!” (Recycle More. It’s Easy.) completed its fifth year. This campaign utilizes Spanish speaking partners, the Facilitadores de Reciclaje, who teach garbage, recycling, and composting basics through their personal networks, at workshops and community events, and in radio and TV interviews. In 2015 the Facilitadores spoke with 2,597 residents through these venues. SWD also conducted a paid Spanish language media campaign on TV and radio, including five interviews with Facilitadores, which yielded 2.9 million impressions.

Strategy Going Forward: In 2016, SWD will continue working with stakeholders through the Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan planning process to determine additional steps necessary to reduce waste and improve recycling. In addition, SWD expects that 2016 outreach campaigns will result in increased diversion of recyclables and compostables from disposal. English language outreach will continue to include event outreach, the One Less Bag Challenge pledge drive, social media on Facebook, advertising, and retail partnerships.

New in 2016, SWD will pilot curbside cart tagging tactics with the goal of reminding single-family residents to compost their food scraps and food soiled paper in their curbside yard carts. The pilot will determine the depth of the response to a curbside reminder to compost food scraps by measuring the percent of food scraps and food soiled paper which is moved from the garbage to the yard cart as a result of the tagging. Additionally, SWD will explore making changes to collection services in the unincorporated areas to boost recycling and composting. These changes may include every other week garbage collection; including the cost of yard/food waste collection in the cost of garbage collection; and mandatory separation of recycling and composting from the garbage waste stream. SWD will also continue to work with unincorporated area haulers to implement the Best Practice Basics (BPBs) in multi-family complexes in unincorporated King County. The BPBs were piloted in 2013-14 and found to be effective in increasing recycling volumes at pilot sites.

Also new in 2016, the “Recicla Mas! Es Facilisimo.” Spanish language campaign will form a lead Facilitadores team to deepen the involvement the Facilitadores have in program planning. The Facilitadores will also have access to more training about recycling education methods for multifamily housing, where many Hispanic residents live. The program will launch a Facebook page which will be managed by the Facilitadores in partnership with SWD. The Spanish language outreach will continue to include event outreach, advertising, and promotion of the same discounted composting tools offered through the English language campaign. Finally, in 2016 SWD will begin planning to expand its multicultural outreach efforts to other language groups in King County.

King County’s solid waste service area includes its unincorporated areas and all cities in King County except Seattle and Milton. It also includes areas in the cities of Auburn, Bothell and Pacific that cross over into adjacent counties. The data for single-family recycling and disposal do not include a) the portion of Pacific in Pierce County, and b) Snoqualmie Pass and the Skykomish area, which have limited collection services.

Map showing pounds of Solid Waste Collected per Single Family Household per Week by Collection Area
Pounds of Solid Waste Disposed per Single Family Household per Week by Collection Area
2013 Information
Download the PDF version.


Pounds of solid waste disposed per employee per week countywide

Graph showing pounds of solid waste disposed per employee per week

2014 Results: 17.2 pounds per week

2014 Target: 23.5 pounds per week

2015 Result: TBD, 2015 employee data not available until mid-2016

2015 Target: TBD

Influencing Factors: In 2014, garbage disposal per employee was 27% below the county's target of 23.5 pounds per employee per week. Reasons for the decrease include strong employment growth (a gain of about 15,000 jobs, or 2.1%) and stable tonnage from nonresidential generators. Since most of the businesses in the county are located in cities, the SWD provides support to cities in the form of Waste Reduction and Recycling (WRR) grants to improve city recycling programs. SWD also hosts a website that provides information on workplace recycling, business waste prevention activities, and property managers recycling.

Strategy Going Forward: The strategy for 2016 is for SWD to continue to work with cities to increase recycling services for businesses and institutions. These efforts will include continuing to provide WRR grants to cities and continuing the Green Schools Program to help schools recycle more. A new target will be set when the update to the Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan is approved, estimated for 2018.

King County’s solid waste service area includes all cities in King County except Seattle and Milton. It also includes areas in the cities of Bothell, Kent, and Pacific that cross over into adjacent counties. Employees included in this measure are those considered "covered employees." Covered employment refers to positions covered by the Washington Unemployment Insurance Act. The Act exempts the self-employed, proprietors and corporate officers, military personnel and railroad workers; therefore those categories are not included in the dataset. Covered employment accounts for approximately 85% to 90% of all employment.


Residents' recycling and disposal behavior via EBI

About this measure: The King County Environmental Behavior Index (EBI) tracks and reports on the adoption of selected environmental behaviors of King County residents. In 2004, 2006, 2008 and again in 2011, 1000 randomly selected respondents in King County participated in a telephone survey and reported on their household's behaviors related to:

  • Yard Care
  • Recycling And Disposal
  • Environmentally Friendly Purchasing
Understanding residents' awareness and behavior guides a more cost-effective targeting of outreach efforts and helps evaluate whether the efforts to improve these behaviors are making a difference.

The 2011 Environmental Behavior Index was conducted in spring of 2011. The findings about yard care and purchasing behavior can be found under the performance measure on solid and hazardous waste management, which is here.

Below are details on findings for residential recycling and disposal behaviors.

2011 results: The 2011 survey of residents' recycling and disposal behaviors indicates that use of recycle containers at home is high and improving, as is proper disposal of paints, kitchen grease and prescription drugs. Proper disposal of compact fluorescent light and tubes is low and is slightly declining.

Influencing factors: In 2011, the Seattle City Council passed an ordinance making it illegal and punishable by fine to put selected recyclables in the garbage. There was significant media coverage of this new legislation, which likely influenced both awareness and behavior of residents throughout King County.

Strategy going forward: SWD will continue to work with cities to allow food waste recycling with yard debris. The SWD is partnering on a recycling education campaign, "Recycle More, Its Easy to Do" and is making further improvements to its Web site about general and food waste recycling.

Graph showing proper use of recycling container at home Graph showing hazardous waste disposal Graph showing proper disposal of compact fluorescents and tubes Graph showing proper disposal of unwanted electronics Graph showing proper disposal of shopping waste Graph showing proper disposal of latex or water-based paints, stains, sealers Graph showing giving experience as a gift

Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County

About this measure: This measure is a composite index of actions aimed at reducing exposure to hazardous materials. Below are descriptions of four key 2015 Local Hazardous Waste Management Program areas.

Voucher Incentive Program

This program provides incentive reimbursements to businesses spending more than $1000 to address hazardous materials issues. Vouchers are used to support change, stimulate compliance, improve environmental outcomes, and provide field staff with a promotional tool. Paired with business recognition and promotion, this creates a powerful business investment incentive.

2015 Goal: a cost/benefit ratio of at least 1 to 2

2015 Results: 205 vouchers paid with a cost/benefit ratio of 1 to 4 (target exceeded)

Details: Provided a total of $133,000 in financial incentives to 205 businesses, who invested $578,000 to improve hazardous materials storage and disposal. Most voucher incentives reimbursed up to $500 for the cost of implementing program recommended improvements.

Pollution Prevention and Compliance Technical Assistance

Field teams from DNRP and Public Health provide technical assistance visits and other services to businesses, providing information on how to properly manage their hazardous materials and waste. The outcome from these services is an increase in businesses following best management practices related to disposal, storage, spill management, and documentation.

Site visits in 2015: 1026

Tons moved into proper storage or disposal in 2015: 103

2016 Target: Teams are completely revamped in 2016. Measures and targets to be determined.

Details: Provided 1151 technical assistance visits to 1026 businesses and small quantity generators of hazardous waste, including but not limited to businesses in the auto repair, manufacturing, retail, dental, and dry cleaning industries. Improved 554 specific hazardous materials and waste management practices in 443 non-compliant businesses, with 40% making all recommended improvements. This resulted in proper management of approximately 127 tons of hazardous materials and wastes.

Collection of Hazardous Waste/ Materials from Households and Small Quantity Generators (SQG)

Collection and disposal services provide convenient collection of hazardous wastes through a combination of fixed and "Wastemobile" collection sites operated by the City of Seattle and King County. This includes three fixed facilities (North Seattle, South Seattle and Factoria), year-round Wastemobile collection in Auburn at the Outlet Collection Seattle (formerly "Auburn Supermall"), seasonal (spring-fall) weekend Wastemobile events in areas not served by year-round facilities, and limited home collection for homebound and elderly residents. 2015 highlights include:

Tons of Waste Disposed in 2015: 1582

Visits by Residents in 2015: 75,939

Visits by SQGs in 2015: 957

Events

LHWMP projects provide outreach on varied topics to residents and businesses in King County. Venues include fairs, conferences, trainings, presentations and webinars.

Community Education: Provided information to at least 10,216 people in multiple languages through 242 workshops, trainings, community events, and customer service contacts. An additional 9,400 people were reached through events and customer service contacts leveraged through the Program's partnerships with the City of Seattle and community-based organizations.

  • Offered janitorial and professional cleaners training to reduce use and exposure to hazardous chemicals by English as a second language residents who work as janitors and domestic housekeepers.
  • Hosted tables at job and safety fairs and community festivals and conducted a variety of other outreach activities with safe cleaning messages.

The Garden Hotline and the Green Gardening Program, with Seattle Public Utility partner, conducted outreach events including garden workshops, tabling, garden tours, and presentations to connect with local residents and diverse populations living in neighborhoods in Seattle and King County.

Eco-Healthy Child Care©: Eco-Healthy providers commit to reducing children's exposure to environmental health hazards. Childcare centers and family home programs qualify as eco-healthy by completing a checklist that highlights 30 simple, free or low-cost steps that help make children safer.

In 2015, LHWMP staff provided training to 360 providers through 20 trainings, far exceeding the goal of teaching 200 providers through 10 trainings.