Here are some tips to help you reduce the amount of waste your household produces during the Waste Management strike.

Though certainly annoying at times, a garbage strike like the one affecting parts of Seattle and the surrounding area provides a green opportunity to consider how much trash your household generates, and how you can reduce it. Try these waste-prevention tips:


• If you need to buy a large item with lots of packaging, ask a store employee if you can leave some of the packaging there (especially if the store’s garbage is getting picked up).

• Choose products with less packaging. Purchase products in bulk, but only if you know you will use up the entire contents.

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• Instead of buying single-use water bottles by the case, pull out that lonely, seldom-used reusable water bottle from the cupboard and fill it from your tap.


• For households with small children: If you use a combination of disposable diapers and washable cloth diapers, now is a great time to lean heavier on the cloth.

• If you don’t want to wash your own diapers, sign up for a cloth-diaper service such as Baby Diaper Service, covering much of the Puget Sound area, or Sunflower Diaper Service, serving part of North Seattle.

• To reduce odors in the garbage cart, consider triple-bagging potentially smelly items such as pet waste. Reuse old plastic bags such as grocery-store produce bags or newspaper bags (Seattle’s new plastic-bag ban does not include either of those).

Food scraps, yard waste

• Use up leftovers before they turn into science projects that you have to toss. The BigOven website ( offers bountiful recipe ideas, and when you choose three leftover ingredients it provides suggestions on what you can make.

• To temporarily reduce the amount of food scraps going into your yard-waste cart, store them in the freezer or a spare refrigerator. Use compostable bags for food scraps.

• Leave grass clippings on the lawn when you mow or stop watering and mowing the lawn for a while. Grass clippings in the yard-waste cart get stinky in a hurry this time of year.

Tom Watson, with King County’s Recycling and Environmental Services, writes the EcoConsumer column for The Seattle Times. Reach him at or 206-296-4481. On Twitter: @ecoconsumer