Spokane uses a single-stream recycling system, which allows significantly more recyclables to be collected curbside than ever before.
Each residential customer is provided with a 64-gallon rolling cart with handles – nicknamed "Big Blue" – to collect recyclables. The blue carts allow for fully automated collection, increasing efficiencies and reducing operating costs. Position your recycling cart at least 3 feet away from other collection carts or objects.
The recyclables that are collected are taken to a facility owned and operated by the private company, Waste Management, where they are sorted, processed and prepared for marketing. View the Smart Recycling page of their website.
Recycling pickup in the City of Spokane is switching to every other week from weekly, starting the first week of May, for residential customers. Under the revised system, customers will continue to receive weekly garbage collection on the same day they currently receive service. Recycling collection will continue on the same day of the week, but will be done every other week instead. Routes are still being finalized, so check back soon for access to a map with more information. For now, check out our webpage.
For information about missed collection, vaction hold, and assistance for elderly or disabled customers, please visit our Solid Waste Residential Services page.
Clean pizza boxes
Corrugated and non-corrugated cardboard
Mixed pager (not shredded)
Most types of paper (no coated or laminated)
Other metal and tin cans (no lids or tips)
Plastic bottles, tubs, and jugs (empty, no lids)
Glass bottles + jars (empty, no lids)
Plastic bags and film
Any plastic that is not a bottle, tub, or jug
TV's and electronics (E-Cycle WA)
Light bulbs (Light Recycle WA)
Household Hazardous waste (batteries, syringes, aerosol cans, chemicals, etc.)
Garden hoses, Christmas lights, or wires
Food-soiled pizza boxes and paper (yard waste)
All curbside recycling in Spokane County is taken to the SMaRT (Spokane Materials and Recycling Technology) Center, owned and operated by Waste Management.
The facility opened in 2012 and collects mixed recyclables from businesses and residences in Washington, Idaho and British Columbia. The SMaRT Center can process 100,000 tons of recyclables per year. The 62,000-square-foot, "single stream" facility allows residents and businesses to recycle a broader assortment of materials, resulting in dramatically higher recycling and diversion rates. The facility is not open to public drive-in customers but is open to commercial customers.
You may have seen an "oops tag" on your recycling cart in the summer of 2020, which was part of an education campaign to reduce contamination in recycling carts. The City of Spokane had the goal of reducing contamination from 13% to 5% by 2021. Select routes were studied and tagged four consecutive times, and results were analyzed to see if the messaging helped to reduce contamination. About 17,000 City households were on tagged routes.
Cart tagging is just one outreach strategy that the City of Spokane and Spokane County employ to reduce contamination in curbside recycling. Utility bill inserts, direct mailings, educational videos, and social media posts are also part of the outreach activities. This study was funded by The Recycling Partnership, a national non-profit working to improve recycling in the United States. Spokane was the first community in the Pacific Northwest to receive funding from TRP for cart tagging. Similar projects conducted in Akron, Atlanta, and Baltimore have all shown a significant decrease in recycling contamination collected at curbside at the conclusion of the projects.
Drop-offs must be sorted into material types: glass, plastics, cardboard, magazines/cereal boxes/paper bags/egg cartons, colored paper/manila envelopes, white office paper/newspaper, tin cans/scrap metal, and aluminum cans.
For disposal locations and hours, please see our Disposal Locations page.
For information about Household hazardous waste, pleae see our Hazardous Wastes page.
Residential appliances are accepted and recycled, but require a regular waste charge (same as garbage) because of special handling. Refrigerators with ammonia are not accepted at the Transfer Stations, however, they are accepted at the Waste to Energy Facility at the regular garbage rate. Commercial sized refrigerators or freezers are not accepted.
Recycling of mercury-containing lights is now free in Washington state at authorized collection sites (including SCRSWS transfer stations), thanks to the Washington Mercury-Containing Lights Stewardship Program and LightRecycle Washington.
Household batteries can be placed in a clear plastic bag and placed on top of the Single Stream Recycling Cart lid. Otherwise, you can drop them off at the HHW part of transfer stations.
Watch the batteries disposal video.
E-cycling is the reuse and recycling of electronic products. Unwanted electronic equipment is one of the fastest growing segments of the solid waste stream, and can contain materials that are harmful to our environment. Fortunately, many of these items, such as computers, TVs, VCRs, stereos, copiers, fax machines, and cell phones, can be reused or recycled.
Washington has a free, convenient and environmentally responsible recycling program for many of these items. Visit the E-Cycle Washington website or call 1.800.RECYCLE (732.9253) to find e-cycling opportunities near you. Below are partial lists of Spokane County locations that can take your unwanted electronics.
Always call first to verify items accepted and whether there is a fee.
Most major cell phone retailers will take any used cell phone, whether or not it came from them and whether or not you buy a new one from them. Remember to cancel your cell phone service and delete any stored information before recycling or donating the phone. The following companies accept cell phones. Always call first.
Or, consider donating your old cell phones to:
You can take clothing and bedding in good condition to Goodwill, a thrift or consignment store, or sell/donate items on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, etc.
Please check the Check the Spokane Waste Directory.
Free tools are available to help event planners offer recycling at their local events. Event Recycling provides collection receptacles, supplies, and information necessary to plan environmentally friendly events and meet the Washington State Recycling Law.
Organizations may borrow ClearStream recycling collection containers from the Equipment Lending Library. The recycling containers are designed to collect aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and plastic cups. Compostable containers allow for collection of food scraps and food-soiled paper.
Contact Event Recycling to reserve your equipment – at least two weeks in advance is suggested. Staff is also available for tips on creating a recycling program, planning checklists, and signage templates.
Determine ahead of time where your collected recyclables will go and how the materials will be hauled. Recyclables can be sorted and taken to one of the three transfer stations (see the Disposal page for more information). You may also place mixed recyclables in your Big Blue single stream recycling cart. For larger events, make arrangements with your hauler.
For items that aren't accepted at the curb or at transfer stations, check out the comprehensive waste disposal and recycling directory that is maintained by the EnviroCertified Program.