Holiday Waste Disposal Guidelines

How to dispose of Christmas trees, batteries and lights: Food and yard waste subscribers can put trees and greens out on their regular collection day. Cut trees into sections, six feet long or shorter, with branches trimmed to less than four feet to fit into the collection trucks. Bundle each section with sisal string or twine (not plastic). Decorated, flocked and plastic trees are not recyclable, and will be charged as extra garbage.

Fluorescent bulbs and tubes, Ni-Cad and Lithium rechargeable and other batteries can be disposed of free of charge at Seattle’s Household Hazardous waste stations.

Incandescent light bulbs, regular Christmas lights and alkaline batteries, such as the ones AA, AAA, C, and D can be disposed of in your curbside garbage. However, King County offers a list of seasonal locations where you can recycle your Christmas lights for free.

For more information on where to dispose of household hazardous waste, including station locations and hours, visit or call 206-296-4692.  See more on the At Your Service page.

Starting January 1, 2015: No food in the garbage. Every year, Seattle spends more than $13 million dollars to send its trash to a landfill in eastern Oregon. More than one-third of that material is made up of table scraps, coffee grounds, banana peels, chicken bones, and other food waste.

Starting January 1, 2015, the City of Seattle will no longer allow food and compostable paper, including paper napkins and paper towels, in the garbage. After July 1, 2015 fines will be issued to businesses and residents whose garbage containers contain too much food or recyclables.

Call 206-684-3000 or go to to learn more and receive tips and advice on how to get started with composting.