Ban on Batteries and Electronics in Garbage

Seattle Public Utilities Director’s Rule SW-404 bans the disposal of batteries and certain electronic products in municipal solid waste, including any commercial or residential garbage or recycling can or container, or at any transfer station except in containers or other locations designated to collect these items for recycling.

What doesn't go in the garbage?

  • Cathode ray tubes
  • Electronic products covered by the Washington Electronics Recycling Law. These include:
    • TVs
    • Monitors
    • Computers and Laptops
    • Tablets (like iPad and Amazon Fire)
    • E-Readers (like Kindle and NOOK)
    • Portable DVD Players
  • Batteries, as defined under the state’s Dangerous Waste Regulations.
    Examples of batteries include but are not limited to:
    • Miniature button cell batteries
    • Alkaline, silver oxide, zinc air, and other single-use batteries
    • Lithium-ion, nickel-cadmium, and other rechargeable batteries

How can I dispose of these items?

Special Item Curbside Pickup for Residential Customers

Seattle offers curbside pick-up options for residential customers for both electronics and batteries through our Special Item Pickup service. Submit a request online or call SPU Customer Service at (206) 684-3000 to schedule. Account holders can schedule a pick-up for a fee.

Why are these items banned from the garbage?

Many electronic products and batteries contain heavy metals and other hazardous substances that can pose risks to human health and the environment if disposed in landfills. Batteries contain mercury, lead, cadmium, lithium, and other metals (or even acid) that can leak from them and damage the environment. Certain types of batteries also have the potential to cause fires, which pose risks to the safety of solid waste collection staff, vehicles, and facilities.

These items require separate collection to ensure safe handling, disposal, and recycling. This protects workers who handle solid waste, protects the environment from hazardous chemicals, and allows recyclable materials to be reclaimed for further use.

What happens if I don’t follow the new disposal regulations?

If electronics or batteries are seen in your garbage, you will receive a tag on your cart or dumpster asking you to remove them. If you need additional information on disposal options, check out the Where Does It Go Tool.

What are the environmental benefits of recycling batteries and electronics?

Many electronic products and batteries contain materials such as mercury, lead, cadmium, nickel, and lithium. These substances are toxic disposed when not disposed of properly, but they can also be recycled safely into new products because they are valuable. Reusing and recycling used electronic products and batteries keeps these toxic materials out of our landfills and also helps to reduce the negative impacts of producing new products on our air, water, and climate.

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.