Recycle Right

Header Image
Recyclable materials
Children standing by recycle cart

Bellevue is home to some of the best recyclers.

Our residents continue to benefit both the environment and the economy by recycling their plastic, paper, cardboard, glass and metal cans.

This page offers tips to help you manage your home's waste effectively by knowing what and how to recycle, and small waste prevention steps that can add up to big environmental differences.

We're here to help you recycle right.

If you have any questions about any of this information, don't hesitate to reach out to us at

Children with reyclables

Why recycle?

Recycling is one of the most important things we can do benefit both the environment and the economy. Recycling allows existing items to be made into new products. Making products from recycled content decreases the need to extract new materials, such as petroleum, wood, minerals and water from the environment. Keep recyclables out of the garbage to ensure they are made into new products instead of wasting away in a landfill.

Empty, clean and dry

Clean, empty, dry recyclables
One of the easiest ways to recycle right is to make sure what you're putting in the recycling bin is empty, clean and dry.Food and liquids in recyclables can allow mold to grow, which make the materials unacceptable for recycling. Containers that previously contained food or liquid should be rinsed to remove food and liquid residue. Shake out excess liquid and air dry. When putting recycling in your curbside bin, make sure you don't overfill the bin and keep the lid shut tight. Overflowing bins or open lids make it more likely for rain or other water to get in and ruin the recycling.

What to recycle

As long as they are empty, clean and dry, you should always recycle:
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Plastic bottles, jugs and tubs
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Metal cans

When in doubt, find out

Republic Services recycling guidelines
Recycle only materials that are accepted. Check recycling guidelines from Republic Services, Bellevue’s solid waste provider, to ensure you're putting the right materials in your recycle cart.

Waste prevention

Junk mail

Waste prevention is another way to conserve resources, and your time and money. There are many easy ways to prevent waste.

  • Opt out of paper mailings and paper bills. This is a good first step to decrease the amount of waste paper you generate. You can opt out of junk mail, phone books, credit card offers and catalogs. Choose e-billing where available.
  • Choose reusable items over single-use/disposable ones. Bring your own bag for groceries to the store, cart your own utensils for meals on the go, use a refillable water bottle, carry your own cup - all of these small actions will add up to tons of reduced waste.

Recycling plastic bag and film waste

Plastic bag

Plastic bags, film and wrap waste carry heavy costs for our environment. Unfortunately, these can't go in your recycling bin, and can cause big trouble for recycling facilities. The thin, flexible plastics can get tangled in equipment, shutting down processing and making it harder and more expensive to recycle other materials.

A few simple actions can help reduce the amount of plastic bag and film waste - and protect other recyclables:

  • Bring reusable bags and refuse plastic when shopping.
  • Reuse the plastic bags you already have for things like lining trash cans or picking up pet waste.
  • If you can, buy items in bulk or with less plastic packaging, and purchase recycled-content products.
  • Take clean, dry plastic bags and plastic wrap back to stores to be recycled. Visit to find drop off locations near you.

If none of these options work, throw plastic bags and film in the trash. It isn’t ideal, but keeping these out of the recycling bin helps make recycling work.

Zero Waste Public Event Guide
City of Bellevue Zero Waste Events Guide

The City of Bellevue's goal is to achieve zero waste of resources. Follow the Zero Waste Public Event Guide to set up garbage, recycling, and composting services and avoid unnecessary waste at your event.

Event organizers: Garbage and recycling services are required at all events, and composting services for food scraps and compostable materials are required for any event with food service.