Recycle Right in Kitsap County

Last updated ​June 14, 2021

2021 Recycling Program Changes

On June 14, 2021, we removed paper milk cartons and frozen food boxes from the list of recyclable materials collected in Kitsap County. These items have a plastic coating and are embedded with resins that make them difficult to recycle at paper mills.

We are currently working on an outreach campaign to communicate these changes. You can expect new recycling guides, facility signage, and an improved website.


Recycling Guides

The following recycling guides is available to view, print, or download:

Residential Recycling Guide

  • Coming soon

Drop-Off Facility Recycling Guide

Coming soon


Recycle Right

Empty, clean, and dry

Recycle only these items in your curbside bin and at county recycling facilities:

  • Plastic bottles, jugs, jars, and dairy tubs (no lids or caps)

  • Cardboard (flattened)

  • Paper- mail, magazines and catalogs, newspaper, office paper, phone books, paperboard boxes, etc.

  • Metal cans (no loose lids)

  • Glass bottles and jars (no lids or caps)

Garbage

​Other

These items are not accepted for curbside recycling, but have some drop-off recycling options:


Frequently Asked Questions

Why can't all plastics be recycled?

Only a few types of plastics can be recycled for curbside or facility recycling in Kitsap. “Plastic” is a general term for a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic materials. These materials have different ingredients and are made in different ways. Because of this, not all plastics can be recycled.

We only collect plastics we're confident will be responsibly recycled. The four shapes of plastic we accept can be sorted at the sorting facility, are consistently purchased by companies to use in their manufacturing, and can be recycled using today's technologies. Put other plastics in the trash.

Ignore the symbol/number printed on some packaging. That “recycling symbol” on your plastic container is called a resin code. It identifies the type of plastic the container is made from—but it can't tell you if something is recyclable.

Recycle by shape. Shape determines how a container travels through the sorting facility. The plastic containers we collect are sturdy enough to hold their shape during sorting. Plastic containers that are easily crushed end up incorrectly sorted into paper bales.

Demand and technology are limited. For plastics recycling to work, companies must buy and use recycled materials to make new products. Many brands promote plastics recycling, but relatively few use recycled content or work alongside recyclers to make sure their packaging is recyclable. In Washington, a new law requires that beverage containers contain at least 50% recycled content by 2031.


Where do Kitsap's recyclables go?

Recyclables collected in Kitsap County are sorted at Waste Management- JMK Fibers, a Materials Recovery Facility in Tacoma. Machines and workers sort the recyclables into similar materials, bale them together, and then sell the bales to manufacturers.

Domestic and international buyers bid on the bales on an open market. Buyers inspect each bale and pay a higher price for clean materials without contamination.

When recycling markets are good, you receive a recycling rebate on your recycling bill. If sellers cannot sell a bale of recycling, they may have to pay the processor to take the bale. Or they may re-sort the bale to remove contaminants. It is much easier to sell recyclables if the quality is good from the start. Quality begins in your home.


What do recyclables become?

Plastic bottles, jugs, jars, or dairy tubs are primarily sold to a sorting facility in Canada. This facility is a "secondary sorting facility," where plastics are sorted again to increase the quality of the materials so they're easier to sell to re-manufacturers around the world. Recycled plastics become a wide variety of plastic goods. However, when the price of oil is low, manufacturers are less likely to use recycled plastics and more likely to use virgin plastics.

Corrugated cardboard is turned into a variety of paper products. The majority of cardboard is recycled at paper mills in the US. If the cardboard is purchased by Port Townsend Paper Company in Port Townsend, WA, for example, it will become the raw materials used to construct new cardboard boxes or pulp used to make new paper.

Mixed paper like office paper, mail, magazines, and paperboard boxes has some local (WA state) markets and some goes to countries in Asia.

Metal cans are 100% recyclable and can be recycled an infinite number of times. Steel (tin) cans are often recycled at Nucor Steel in Seattle. They melt and manufacture steel scrap into a variety of steel products. Aluminum cans are often sent to aluminum smelters in the southeastern US. It takes only a few month for a aluminum can from your recycle bin to make its way back to the shelves as a new can.

Glass bottles and jars are crushed during the sorting process to minimize the abrasive impacts on the sorting machines. Crushed glass is often sold to manufactures of composite materials, sandblasting medium, aquarium gravel, landscaping materials, and more. It is also used as an "alternative daily cover," a material placed on the surface of an active landfill cell to control pests, fires, odors, and blowing litter. Ardagh Group, a packaging manufacturer in Seattle, uses recycled glass to produce wine bottles.