New recycling rule on tap at King County transfer stations and drop boxes

New recycling rules started Jan. 2 at King County recycling and transfer stations, including the Houghton, Factoria and Shoreline facilities.

The new rules apply to residents and businesses that haul their own garbage, recyclable and compostable materials to King County transfer stations or drop boxes. The King County Solid Waste Division (SWD) is now asking self-haul transfer station and drop box customers to place selected materials in designated recycling bins or specified areas at facilities. The selected materials are cardboard, scrap metal, yard waste and clean wood (unpainted, untreated lumber, pallets and crates). Due to space constraints, some SWD facilities cannot provide recycling services for all the specified materials.

The selected materials were chosen because they comprise approximately one-third of the total garbage brought to SWD facilities by self-haul customers and they are easy to keep separate from garbage. These new sorting rules will help cut waste and reduce the amount of recyclable materials in the landfill.

Houghton Recycling & Transfer Station self-haul customers will be asked to keep cardboard separate from their garbage and to place empty cardboard boxes in cardboard recycling bins. At this time, Houghton, cannot provide recycling services for scrap metal, yard waste or clean wood. Shoreline Recycling & Transfer Station and Factoria Recycling & Transfer Station are now providing recycling services for cardboard, scrap metal, yard waste and clean wood. Self-haul customers at both of these facilities will be asked to recycle those materials.

Save time by separating recyclable materials from garbage before arriving at the facility. If both garbage and recyclable materials are present, load vehicles with recyclables first and garbage last. At the facility, customers will have their vehicles weighed before unloading their garbage, pay the garbage fee, and then drop off recyclable materials.

There will be no change in garbage disposal fees as a result of this recycling requirement, and there is no fee charged to recycle cardboard and scrap metal. While there is a fee to recycle yard waste and clean wood, that fee is 52 percent lower than the garbage disposal fee. At the Houghton, Factoria and Shoreline facilities, no fee is charged for regular recyclables, such as paper, cans and bottles.

“When recyclable materials are put back into the economy, they help create local jobs while conserving natural resources by reducing the need to create new products from virgin materials,” said Pat D. McLaughlin, SWD director. “Recycling conserves precious natural resources, including trees, energy and water.”

To learn more about what is accepted at King County recycling and transfer facilities, call King County Solid Waste Division at (206) 477-4466 or visit and select a facility.