SEATTLE-- Seattle is doing its best to remain one of the top recycling cities in the nation.
For the 13th consecutive year, the city's recycling rate has improved -- now up to 58.8 percent as of 2016, according to Seattle Public Utilities. It's an increase of about a percentage point over last year and a 20 percent increase from where it was 13 years ago.
SPU says there is still room for growth -- primarily by diverting organic material such as food waste and food-contaminated paper from the landfill to be composted.
"Thirty percent of our garbage is still food, and composting food waste is where we can make our biggest recycling gains," says SPU Solid Waste Director Ken Snipes. "In fewer than six months food waste goes from being something people throw away to rich compost they are buying to make their gardens grow."
Although every jurisdiction measures its recycling and waste diversion results differently, the cities of Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle are widely considered to have some of the most advanced recycling and waste diversion programs in the United States, SPU says.
"Thank you, Seattle for being persistent environmental stewards and premier environmental leaders,” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said in a release announcing the city's recycling results. "Our commitment to recycling and sustainable living shows the rest of the country what’s possible when it comes to taking responsibility for the planet."
The city is aiming to reach a rate of 70 percent goal by the year 2022.