Bellingham recyclingBellingham, WA (pop. 82,234) is the largest city between greater Seattle and Vancouver, BC, Canada. The “City of Subdued Excitement” continues to grow rapidly, expanding its population at a 20% clip from 2000 to 2010, according to census data. The city offers curbside recycling pick-up through a contractor, Sanitary Service Company, and the city-run Clean Green Transfer Station fuels Bellinghamsters’ quest to compost yard waste and clippings. Collection in Bellingham utilizes a stackable three-bin system. White bins are used to collect scrap paper, red bins are used to collect newspapers and blue bins are used to collect bottles, cans and plastic containers. A self-hauler, a rolling cart that fits all three stackable bins, can be purchased for $35.

Materials recycled

White bin Accepted in the white bin: junk mail, magazines, catalogs, envelopes, stationery, labels, paper sacks, phone books, tin can labels (cans go in the blue bin), paperback books and manuals, computer paper, copy/office paper (all colors), carbonless paper, file folders, poster paper and paperboard (flattened). Staples, paper clips and file folder clips are OK. Corrugated cardboard (flattened) should be placed next to the white bin, not in it. Red bin Place newspapers (including inserts and ads) in the red bin. Masking paper and masking tape can also go in the red bin. Blue bin Accepted in the blue bin: glass bottles and jars (all colors; rinsed; labels and loose caps OK), aluminum cans (rinsed and flattened), tin cans (rinsed; place labels in the white bin), aluminum foil, standard state-issued license plates (remove or invalidate the month and year tabs then bend the plates so they cannot be used on another vehicle), plastic bottles, plastic jugs (caps and rings OK), plastic cups, plastic jars, plastic tubs, plastic pails, plastic buckets (maximum 1 gallon; no metal handles) and plastic lids. All colors of plastic and all numbers accepted. Labels are OK. Please rinse all items and flatten when possible. Other Empty aerosol cans (caps are OK) can be placed in a cardboard box with any other scrap metal and set next to recycling bins.


Bellingham residents take recyclables to the curb every week. Each bin should be placed curbside the evening before pick-up.

Other programs

All residents of  Whatcom County, which includes Bellingham and surrounding areas, can drop off yard waste at the Bellingham Clean Green Transfer Station (1400 Woburn St.) for a $5-per-load fee on Saturdays and Sundays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. March through November. Only the following materials are collected: grass clippings, garden trimmings, limbs (8 inches or less in diameter and less than 7 feet in length), vines, leaves and other natural vegetation. All materials are composted at the facility. Sanitary Service Company operates the Bellingham Recycling Center and Transfer Station (1001 Roeder Ave.). The facility accepts all of the above-listed recyclables as well as other various plastic products, lead products, porcelain products, vehicle batteries, household batteries and non-compressor appliances. For a full list, click here. Hours are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Whatcom County’s Disposal of Toxics Facility (3505 Airport Dr.) is the drop-off location for all household hazardous materials. Accepted items include used oil and fuels, oil-based paint and paint products, fluorescent lamps, household cleaners, lawn and garden chemicals, solvents, automotive products, mercury thermometers and usable latex-based paint (cans half full or more). The toxics facility is open Monday through Friday and the first Saturday of each month, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

More information

Visit the Bellingham Recycling and Waste Reduction website for more recycling program info.