Composting, Recycling & Garbage, Oh My!

‑Multifamily, Mixed-use, and Townhouse Solid Waste Storage and Service

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) review of solid waste storage and service plans is required for all multifamily, mixed-use, and townhouse projects, as well as projects planning the use of compactors and those without on-site parking or a curb cut.

Last fall SPU launched the Checklist for Developers to help designers plan code-complaint storage and access for composting, recycling, and garbage. SPU requires that each project complete a Checklist before review, and an SPU approval letter is required before your Master Use Permit is issued.

Client Assistance Memo 1301 provides important guidelines for developing code-compliant and functional solid waste storage rooms and plans. It is an important source of information that will help you successfully complete the Checklist.

Contact SPU early with your solid waste storage area and collection questions.  Submitting your plans before Early Design Guidance will help ensure functional and code-compliant solid waste storage and access, and reduce costs and frustration associated with changes later in the application process.

Here are some tips to comply with lesser-known code and practical requirements:

  • Location: Site your solid waste room as close as possible to an alley or non-major arterial service location. Truck drivers can only move 2-cubic-yard and smaller containers 50 feet or less; larger containers (3 yard and 4 yard), or those stored more than 50 feet from the collection location will have to be moved by maintenance staff to a staging area located on the property. Alternatively, you must request special permission from SDOT to stage dumpsters in the right-of-way.
  • Slope: Dumpsters cannot be accessed or moved on slopes greater than 6 percent.
  • Shared Service: Townhouse projects with 10 or more units must have an HOA to pay for shared solid waste services (shared carts or dumpsters, typically dumpsters).

Please contact Angela Wallis at with questions.

Northwest Seattle Community Meeting Scheduled in Early Nov. 2017

Northwest Seattle residents, employees and businesses are invited to a community open house and informational meeting for Seattle City Light’s seven properties from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, November 6 at the Ballard First Lutheran Church (2006 NW 65th Street).

From 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., various city departments will share information about their projects and programs that will affect the Northwest Seattle area.

  • Ballard Loo – Following a Ballard community request for a permanent public toilet, the City of Seattle is collaborating with the community on plans for the installation of a Portland Loo.
  • The Ship Canal Water Quality Project will reduce combined sewer overflows with a deep storage tunnel constructed in the Ballard, Fremont and Wallingford neighborhoods.
  • Ballard Design Guidelines – City staff will provide an update on the process to develop new urban design guidelines for the Ballard Urban Village.
  • Recycling and Composting Information – Learn more about solid waste diversion efforts with a “Where Does It Go?” display, free guides and other cool stuff.
  • The Burke Gilman Trail Missing Link Project will connect the two existing portions of Seattle’s popular Burke-Gilman Trail with a 1.4 mile corridor through the Ballard neighborhood, designed to improving safety, predictability and access for all users.

From 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Seattle City Light will also host a community information meeting about the possible sale of the utility’s properties at these locations:

The utility is considering selling or transferring these properties for full market value. There will be representatives from various City departments there to answer questions about the proposal.

For more information on City Light’s properties, please visit

Seattle Parks and Seattle Tilth make healthy food accessible to all

Seattle Tilth instructor Veralea Swayne teaches Composting for Apartment Dwellers in Victor Steinbrueck Park.


It doesn’t matter whether you live in a studio, condo, dorm or house, Seattle Parks and Recreation wants to make sure more people have the opportunity to grow and eat healthy food.

For the past several years, Seattle Parks has partnered with Seattle Tilth to host free gardening classes in downtown parks. The classes range in subject, but many focus on apartment residents and teach people how to garden in small containers.

On Aug. 19, Veralea Swayne, a Seattle Tilth instructor, was teaching Composting for Apartment Dwellers in Victor Steinbrueck Park.

“I love being able to lead positive activities in our public spaces,” Swayne said. “People live downtown, work downtown, so it just makes sense to have classes downtown. It shows people they can grow their own food no matter where they live.”

Swayne has been teaching for three years and said the parks classes draw a variety of people including people who live on boats.

During the composting class, Swayne led the participants in constructing a worm bin that could easily be stored indoors mess-free.

“Worm castings are actually kind of magical,” Swayne said. “They’re a mild fertilizer that helps everything grow so much better.”

Seattle Parks concierge Stephen Wilson helped organize supplies for the composting class and said he enjoys the different groups that come into the parks to participate.

“These classes bring diverse people into the parks, and I love the lively, fun atmosphere,” Wilson said.

Brandon Neuhaus was one of the class participants. He lives in an apartment on Capitol Hill and said he’s recently become interested in growing his own food.

“I was researching classes and this sounded like an awesome opportunity,” Neuhaus said. “I love the idea of taking a class and having the backdrop be a park. It’s nice to be outdoors.”

Seattle Tilth hosts many free classes throughout the summer at Victor Steinbrueck Park and Freeway Park with support from Seattle Parks Center City Program Coordinator Adrienne Caver-Hall and funding from the Pike Place Market Foundation and the Freeway Park Association.

Seattle Tilth’s last class of the summer will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. in Victor Steinbrueck Park on Wednesday, Aug. 27 and will teach fall and wintering gardening in containers. To register, visit

Seattle Tilth is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire and educate people to safeguard our natural resources while building an equitable and sustainable local food system. For more information about their year-round programs and opportunities, please visit