Recycle & Compost

Recycling and composting are important to sustainable living in the Islands. Each Island has slightly different systems, but all require that you know which clean materials are recycled at the facilities. Recycling can be taken to the solid waste facilities on San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez or placed in marked recycling collection bins.

recyclable cans


Recycling is an important responsibility San Juan County residents take with pride. Not all materials that may seem recyclable are in fact recyclable. These lists of acceptable materials do change over time. Each island waste station and your curbside recycler may have different items for what they each can and cannot accept. Please identify your service provider and check their website (Waste Management Operators) for materials you are not sure about recycling. When in doubt, it's better to throw it out rather than contaminate an entire batch of otherwise recyclable material (please, no "wish-cycling"). If you do not have time to ensure your item is clean, dry, and empty, it is also better to throw it out than risk contaminating other resident's recyclables. Besides your service provider's website list for recyclables, you may be able to find a business on-island that recycles an item, an off-island business that provides recycling, or even a mail-in recycling program. You can find all of these options in one place! Please visit:

Washington Recycles - a Zipcode online lookup tool, or 1-800-RECYCLE, as they are an online tool and a hotline that connects you to local, regional, and mail-in recycling services across Washington. This tool can help you find any recycling options from used appliances to leftover paint. This click here button will take you to the link.

Click Here button Opens in new window

If you are making a special trip or have a large volume of material, it is best to call ahead to confirm the item is still accepted at the location.

San Juan County Recycle Right Flier


Composting of yard debris is available as part of the Town of Friday Harbor waste collection services. Food waste is a developing area of waste management on the Islands. In most cases yard debris can be left on site, mulched, and reused using a compost bin or just pile and cover method. Food waste composting requires an added level of care to avoid attracting rodents or other animals. Composting food waste within an animal proof compost bin is best. Some Islands have businesses that will take your compost. The County is exploring options for San Juan and Orcas Island to offer commercial level composting of food waste. Currently, the following entities may take certain compostable materials. Please contact them directly for up to date information on what they will accept. 



Additional Composting Resources

WSU SJC extension