Seattle Bans Yard Waste and Paper from Business Trash

Seattle -- Mayor Greg Nickels submitted legislation this week banning yard waste and paper from commercial garbage. If the city council approves the mayor’s proposal, a public education program will begin in 2004, and the ban will go into effect Jan. 1, 2005. To enable businesses to comply with the ban, the city would extend the residential curbside program to all businesses during the next couple of years.

Residential curbside recycling services are free to single-family dwellings. By 2006, commercial and multi-family customers would receive two warnings for mixing yard waste and paper with trash then face fines up to $50. Single-family residents would not be subject to fines but would have their trash collection delayed until the recyclable materials were removed from the garbage. The mayor also has proposed to ban bottles and cans from residential garbage. The bans are intended to reverse Seattle’s two-year decline in recycling rates.