Free holiday tree composting through Jan. 12


Seattle residents who subscribe to curbside food- and yard-waste collection can put their trees and greens out on their regular collection day at no extra charge through Jan. 12.

Multi-family buildings can put out one tree next to each food- and yard-waste cart per collection day at no extra charge during this time.

Trees should be cut into sections of 6 feet long or shorter, with branches trimmed to less than 4 feet to fit into the collection trucks. Sections should be bundled with string or non-plastic twine. Metal, plastic and ornaments in trees and wreaths must be removed.

Trees that are flocked and/or have tinsel or ornaments will be collected as extra garbage. Customers will need to cut the tree into 3-foot pieces, and each piece will be charged as extra garbage. Each unit of extra garbage costs $10.20. Plastic trees are not compostable.

Seattle residents can also drop off holiday trees and greens for free at Seattle Public Utilities’ North and South Recycling and Disposal through Jan. 12. The tree sections must be cut to 8 feet or less in length, and the trunk must be 4 inches or smaller in diameter. The limit is three trees per vehicle. Only trees and wreaths without flocking or decoration may be composted free of charge.

(The North Recycling and Disposal Station is at 1350 N. 34th St.; the South Recycling and Disposal Station is at 130 S. Kenyon St. The stations are open daily from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., other than selected holidays.)

Regular residential food- and yard-waste collection rates resume on Jan. 13. The fee for extra yard waste is $4.90 per unit.

Here are a few tips on where to dispose of your holiday-related waste in Seattle:

•Styrofoam packaging CANNOT be recycled in your recycling cart. Many local mail houses accept packing peanuts for reuse; Styro Recycle in Renton will accept Styrofoam for recycling. Otherwise, place in garbage, but place the peanuts in a bag first so they don’t litter then neighborhood. 

•Cardboard goes in your recycling cart. Flatten it first; if it doesn’t fit, place it flattened next to your cart on collection day at no extra charge.

•Ribbons and bows go in the garbage. It’s best to reuse them.

•Gift wrap goes in the recycling. It’s even better to reuse it.

DON’T burn it in your fireplace. Those pretty green flames are toxic.

•Greeting cards, catalogs and envelopes — Recycle, even the envelopes with the plastic windows or the letters with staples.

 •Batteries CANNOT be recycled in your recycling cart. Alkaline batteries can go in the garbage; all the others are hazardous and are not allowed in recycling, yard waste or garbage. You can find places throughout Seattle that can recycle all varieties of batteries at or 1-800-8-BATTERY.

•Burned-out holiday lights can be only be recycled at specific locations; otherwise, place them in the garbage.

•Cardboard eggnog containers go in recycling — empty, of course.

•Electronics CANNOT be recycled or placed in the garbage because they contain hazardous materials. Go to or for convenient locations to drop off your old TVs, monitors and computers.

It’s best to use up what you have, donate items in good condition that you no longer need and purchase items with little or no packaging.

Want to learn where other stuff should be disposed? Visit find out.