King County, Washington, touts transfer station recycling success

The Solid Waste Division of the Seattle-based King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks says it saw a 41 percent increase in recycling volumes at its transfer facilities and drop boxes in 2016 compared with 2015. The division says the increase “is the result of an expansion in the types of recyclable materials accepted; additional employees available to answer customer questions about recycling; and a jump in the number of customers who brought their sorted recyclable and compostable materials to these facilities.”

The division handled 25,560 tons of separated recyclable and compostable materials in 2016, exceeding its goal of 24,000 tons. Yard waste—including branches, grass clippings, leaves, weeds and holiday trees—accounted for half of the total tons diverted from the landfill at King County facilities in 2016.

Scrap metal comprised 14 percent of the diverted tonnage, followed by clean wood at 12 percent of the total. Cardboard made up 10 percent, and an additional 12 percent of diverted recyclables included materials that can be commingled in designated recycling bins at division facilities.

Types of recyclable and compostable materials accepted differ by facility, and many materials can be recycled at no charge, while fees are charged for large appliances, clean wood and yard waste.