2022 Solid Waste Plan Update: Moving Upstream to Zero Waste

On April 11, 2023, the City Council adopted the City’s latest comprehensive solid waste management plan, Seattle’s 2022 Solid Waste Plan Update: Moving Upstream to Zero Waste (2022 Plan Update). The Washington State Department of Ecology approved the 2022 Plan Update on June 7, 2023.

An international leader in solid waste management for decades, Seattle has advanced a zero-waste vision thanks to public support for environmentally progressive programs and thoughtful planning. To move upstream toward zero waste, SPU is looking at the whole life cycle of materials to eliminate waste and toxins, prevent pollution, reduce carbon emissions, and conserve natural resources as early as possible. We get closer to zero waste by producing and using less. That is why Seattle’s 2022 Plan Update prioritizes waste prevention in solid waste system planning. As part of our emphasis on waste prevention, Seattle will work to address the root causes of waste to reduce impacts on health and the environment. 

 Infographic showing key steps in the lifecycle of consumed materials and pointing out where greenhouse gas emissions are produced
View a larger version of this graphic.

Don’t have time to read the whole plan? Take a look at this brief document summarizing each chapter and the recommendations in it.



2022 Plan Contents

Chapter 1: Development of the 2022 Solid Waste Plan Update (PDF)

  • Overview
  • Solid Waste Management in Seattle
  • Plan Organization
  • Planning Background
  • Plan Development
  • Recommendation Development

Chapter 2: Maximizing and Measuring Impact: Moving Upstream, Beyond the Recycling Rate (PDF)

  • Overview
  • A Data-Driven Approach to Planning
  • Evolving Recycling Rate Goals for Commercial, Residential, and Self-Haul Waste
  • Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling Rate Goals
  • 2011 Plan Revision Rate Goals
  • Disposal Reduction Goals
  • Advantages and Limitations of the Recycling Rate
  • Measuring Upstream Goals
  • Measuring the Impact of Activities and Services

Chapter 3: Solid Waste Data and Trends (PDF)

  • Overview
  • Types and Sources of Waste
  • Measuring and Modeling Seattle’s Waste
  • Demographic, Economic, and Environmental Factors in Planning
  • Commercial, Residential, and Self-Haul Waste Generation Trends and Forecasts
  • Commercial, Residential, and Self-Haul Waste Recycling and Composting Trends and Forecasts
  • Capture Rate Estimates for Commercial, Residential, and Self-Haul Waste
  • Waste Composition Study Results
  • Construction and Demolition Debris Trends and Forecasts

Chapter 4: Waste Prevention and Reuse (PDF)

  • Overview
  • Prioritizing Waste Prevention
  • Food Waste Prevention and Food Rescue
  • Product-Related Waste Prevention (Excluding EPR)
  • Waste-Free Communities Matching Grant
  • Natural Yard Care
  • Green Purchasing
  • Reuse and Repair

Chapter 5: Recycling and Composting Policy and Markets (PDF)

  • Overview
  • What’s Recyclable
  • Recycling Markets
  • Developing Local Recycling Markets
  • Partnering for Change
  • Voluntary Product Stewardship
  • Extended Producer Responsibility
  • Laying the Groundwork for Statewide Packaging EPT and a Container Deposit System
  • Composting

 Chapter 6: Solid Waste Handling, Collection, and Removal (PDF)

  • Overview
  • Collection at Home and Work
  • Litter and Illegal Dumping Mitigation in the Public Right-of-Way
  • Hazardous Waste Drop-off

Chapter 7: Solid Waste Transfer, Processing, Disposal, and Emergency Management (PDF)

  • Overview
  • North and South Transfer Stations
  • Recycling and Compost Processing
  • Long-Haul and Disposal of Garbage
  • Managing Historic Landfills
  • Emergency Management

Chapter 8: Construction and Demolition Debris (PDF)

  • Overview
  • C&D Debris Requirements Encourage Reuse and Recycling
  • C&D Collection, Reuse, Recycling, and Disposal

Chapter 9: Education, Outreach, Enforcement, and Compliance Support (PDF)

  • Overview
  • Outreach and Education
  • Customer Communications
  • Customer Programs
  • Code Enforcement and Collection Contract Compliance Support

Chapter 10: Administration and Financing of the Solid Waste System (PDF)

  • Overview
  • Organizational Structure
  • Financial Policies
  • Financial Health
  • Funding Sources
  • Projected Monetary Needs and Financing Strategy

Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000

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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.