Thanksgiving Recycling Checklist

Thanksgiving is undoubtedly the most wasteful time of the year as far asSliced Turkey food goes. Don’t buy more food than you’ll need. Freeze leftovers before you’re tired of them. Avoid unnecessary packaging.

But for those items that just need to get out of the house, use this checklist of what goes in which bin:


  • Poultry, meat, fish and bones, pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns (no candles), plus every other kind of food item except fat, oil, and grease (see Garbage)
  • Paper napkins, paper towels, coffee filters, tea bags, plain uncoated paper plates (like Chinet), greasy pizza boxes, greasy brown paper bags, waxed paper


  • Rinse out: milk / juice / eggnog cartons, ice cream cartons, shiny paper plates, paper cups, and other coated paper containers
  • Rinse out: plastic food containers and trays, plastic cups, plastic caps and lids larger than 3″ diameter
  • Clean aluminum foil, aluminum pie tins, metal cups, cans, bottles, jars
  • Catalogs, greeting cards, envelopes, clean cardboard and paper, glossy paper shopping bags, gift wrap
  • Plastic grocery and shopping bags: stuff into one bag and tie
  • Extra recyclables will be picked up for free if you place them next to your cart in a cardboard box

REUSE, then into the GARBAGE:

  • Plastic produce bags, plastic ziplock bags, plastic cutlery: wash and reuse
  • Ribbons and bows


  • Fat, oil, grease: put in container with tight lid or cover
  • Candy wrappers, chip and snack bags, plastic “cling” wrap, styrofoam trays, cellophane

Can’t find it on this list? Post a question to Wallyhood or check out “How Do I Get Rid Of This?

For those things that do need to be carted away, the Waste Management truck drivers get to spend Thanksgiving at home, so garbage, recycling, and food waste collections usually scheduled for Friday the 25th will occur one day later, on Saturday. Be sure to have your containers out by 7 am.

The North Recycling and Disposal Station will be closed on Thanksgiving Day but will open again at 8 am Friday.

  1. Janey said,

    Barbbsea — thanks for this. I can see that you’re one of us, or maybe I’m one of you. One final step for the freakish recycler (which I pride myself on being) is that the King County “Bag Your Bags” program actually accepts a few more things than SPU’s recycling program, which takes shopping, newspaper and drycleaning bags. “Bag Your Bags” takes all of those, but also takes clean and dry bread bags, produce bags and frozen food bags (no zip-locks), as well as plastic wrappers from paper products such as toilet paper and paper towels.

    QFC and many other grocery stores participate in this program. And while our QFC no longer has the recycling deposit area up front, you can turn your bagged “Bag Your Bags” bags (wow!) in to the checker in the U-Scan area, and they will recycle them. Or at least tell you that’s what they’re doing.

    And if someone can explain to me why King County and Seattle would have such different plastic recycling guidelines, I’d be happy to know.

    Thu, November 24 at 9:13 pm
  2. Brett said,

    Thanks, Janey, recycling your plastic bags at grocery stores is a great way to reduce waste.

    To answer your question, King County and Seattle send their recyclables to different recycling processing centers that have different ways of sorting, baling, shipping and marketing recyclables, so we don’t necessarily recycle the same stuff.

    You can find videos that follow the recyclng process at

    Mon, November 28 at 3:13 pm
  3. cata said,

    unfortunately I do not have a password to login. However I wish to say that a couple months ago when the Driver camera study was offered ( here, I think) I completed an online application.. a couple months ago. This is the same as is on Wallyhood blog today. I never heard back from them. The person who answered the phone didnt know about wallyhood blog and cant answer any questions about what happened with my appllication from before. Also FYI Honda 2003 Civic s are popular cars and they dont need you inthe study if you own and drive one.

    Mon, November 28 at 9:02 pm
Read previous post:
Seattle Bike Blog reminds us to be safe this holiday weekend

Tom over at Seattle Bike Blog posted a pic of an accident that happened on the Burke Gilman Trail this...