Waste Prevention Planning

Illustration of people planting flowers and riding bikes next to a pond with flowers in the foreground and a city skyline and mountains in the background.
Frida Clements artwork for SPU Strategic Business Plan

Recycling and composting are great. But not creating waste in the first place is even better! Let’s work together to shape Seattle’s waste prevention future.

Seattle is recognized as an international leader in recycling and composting, thanks to community members like you! To move us closer to Zero Waste in the 2022 Solid Waste Plan, we are taking our waste reduction efforts to the next level by focusing on waste prevention. Simply put, waste prevention means stopping waste. In 2023 and 2024, SPU will be talking with businesses, organizations, schools, and individuals across the city, as well as global waste prevention experts, to inform our new Waste Prevention Strategic Plan (WP Plan).

The WP Plan will define: 

  • Meaningful waste prevention goals, priorities, and metrics that reflect community priorities,
  • Where SPU can most effectively leverage its unique role to amplify existing waste prevention efforts, reduce or eliminate barriers to preventing waste, and support new waste prevention strategies, and
  • Strategies and tools to measure success. 

Throughout this process, we hope to learn how SPU can have the greatest impact on waste prevention. Since the WP Plan will guide SPU’s waste prevention programs and policies for decades to come, it’s especially important to share your thoughts and experiences with us.

Why is this plan needed?

Waste contributes to climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, and the destruction of natural resources. When we prevent waste, we protect human health and the environment. Recognizing this, Seattle’s 2022 Solid Waste Plan places a bigger emphasis on waste prevention and commits to the development of new waste prevention goals, metrics, and approaches. While SPU has already implemented some waste prevention programs and policies, our efforts have been small compared to our recycling and composting efforts. By focusing more efforts on waste prevention, we can have a greater impact.

Preventing waste benefits SPU’s customers by:

  • Saving you money
    Reducing the waste you generate by buying only what you need, buying second hand, sharing, and repairing broken items are great ways to save money.
  • Creating new economic opportunities
    Waste prevention stimulates innovation. From reuse to repair, and remanufacturing to sharing, this industry offers many new business and employment opportunities.
  • Building healthier and stronger communities
    By preventing waste, we use fewer natural resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and minimize pollution—paving the way for a healthier future. We also strengthen our communities by increasing engagement, and donating or sharing materials.

Why engage with us?

When our community works together, we can create a plan that works for all of us. Learn how to get involved.

In order to successfully reach our waste prevention goals, our WP Plan needs to work for community, by understanding and serving the needs of those who live and work in Seattle. One part of creating an effective community-centered WP Plan, is better understanding the challenges you face when trying to prevent waste and what programs and policies could help you prevent waste. By talking with diverse individuals, organizations, and businesses across the city, we hope to design a WP Plan that will successfully address:

  • Environmental Justice
    While the negative effects of waste impact us all, communities of color and low-income neighborhoods are often disproportionately burdened. Throughout our planning process, we are conducting additional outreach to communities who carry the greatest environmental burden and are often excluded from decision-making processes.
  • Equitable Economic Opportunities
    Waste prevention creates opportunities for new innovations, such as new reuse and repair businesses. We want to ensure that all communities have equitable access to these economic opportunities. By participating in our planning process, you can help the needs, interests, and perspectives of your community be understood. 

Connect with us today! By actively participating in the planning process, you can help create a plan that truly reflects the needs of our community. Learn how to get involved.

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.