Seattle recycling rates reach all-time high

Seattle, Washington, has always been known as a progressive city when it comes to going green, and a recent annual recycling report speaks to the commitment that its residents have toward the environment. According to, recent changes to recycling methods, including single-stream recycling and compost bins, have helped the city achieve the highest recycling rates it has ever seen.

Mayor Mike McGinn recently held a press conference at a home of Bing Tso, Janet Gwilym and their two children, who have been able to recycle 70 percent of their waste each week. While individual families have been the most successful in disposing of their trash correctly, the citywide numbers are still just as impressive.

"53 percent - an all-time high - 53 percent of the waste produced in the city of Seattle is taken out of the waste-stream and recycled," Mayor McGinn told the news source.

Seattle's recycling program doesn't require its residents to separate recyclables and nearly all of their food waste can be placed in compost bins and placed at the curb. While there is still some confusion that leads to unnecessary waste, the city sends out a flyer each spring detailing what goes in each receptacle, and residents can check online on the city's website for the same information. The Seattle Public Utilities website even has a webgame for kids called "Where does it go" to educate children and their parents about the right way to discard their recyclable materials.

While the city has reached some impressive recycling numbers, it is not standing pat. The long-term goal for the city is to reach a 70 percent recycling rate by 2025, and believes that a 60 percent rate is attainable by the end of 2011.