What You Should Know About Garbage, Recycling, and Litter

It is important to keep your home and yard clean and free of debris and maintain the regular pick-up for trash, recycling, and compost collection. The Bellingham Municipal Code also states that garbage containers shall be located off of any public street, alley, sidewalk, or other public place except at or about the time of collection. This means that you can’t leave your garbage cans and recycling out on the street except on the day of collection. Violating this code can result in litter being blown out of the receptacles and contributes to litter accumulation in some neighborhoods. If receptacles are up beside the residence and not out on the street or sidewalk every day, there is less likelihood of litter being blown out or strewn by animals/birds. Find more information on city ordinances and codes.

How to Sort Your Garbage and Compost

Tenant Waste Taskforce - Keep Bellingham Beautiful

Dispose of Unwanted Items

Be respectful of your neighborhood and good to the environment and use one of these options!
Litter Infographic

Want a printable, text only version of the infographic? Download our printable, text only file!

Note! Do not accept a rental unit at final walk through that contains unwanted furniture items inside or outside without a promise IN WRITING from your landlord to dispose of them at their cost.

If you are a WWU student, the University, some Neighborhoods and the City of Bellingham also offer occasional free dumpster services in neighborhoods to facilitate the recycling and disposal of garbage and unwanted furniture. Check the WWU Office of Sustainability (OS) website to see if and when this free service is available (usually at the end of Spring Quarter). The WWU OS site will also inform you about community or WWU-specific “furniture roundup” events where you can drop off or pick up a good condition furniture item.

It is against the law and disrespectful to a neighborhood to improperly dispose of items you don’t want to take with you when you move out.

Garbage/Recycling Service

If you live in an apartment, you probably don’t need to arrange for garbage and recycling pick-up, but if you live in a house you may need to set up service. Garbage and recycling collection in Bellingham/Whatcom County is provided by Sanitary Service Company, Inc. You can contact them at 360.734.3490 or check out their website. Visit Sanitary Service Company’s “Frequently Asked Questions" for additional information.

Important Garbage, Recycling, and Litter F.A.Q.s

Where can I donate my unwanted items to charity?

Local Non Profits Accepting Some Good Condition Items

If you have furniture that is in good condition (no stains or tears) and you want to donate it, consider contacting a non-profit. Some organizations provide free pickup, but most require you to drop off the item(s). This is a great option for items you don’t want that can still be used by other households.

House 2 Home Network: Virtual Furniture Bank is a program under the Opportunity Council to provide quality used furniture to people moving out of homelessness. When someone has an item of furniture to donate, call 360.734.5121 x173. House 2 Home will arrange for volunteers to pick up the furniture and deliver it to the person who needs it. Beds are particularly needed. The program does not store furniture and it may take time to arrange a pick up.

Habitat for Humanity will pick up large items, and a donation pickup may be scheduled online or call 360.778.2036. The Habitat store at 1825 Cornwall Avenue in Bellingham accepts new and gently used furniture, appliances, housewares and more. Check their website for what donations that they will accept. Please do not leave items after hours.

Goodwill Store at 1115 E Sunset Drive accepts most items, except used mattresses.

Love, Inc., is run by volunteers. Their hours are Monday - Thursday 9am-1pm to drop off (no sofa beds or file cabinets, and no rips or stains on furniture). Furniture can possibly be picked up on Tuesdays, with two weeks’ notice to schedule a pickup. They will sometimes allow people to borrow their truck, so call for more information. For furniture drop off, they are located in the Irongate area, 1998 Midway Lane. Call first, 360.671.6201. Love, Inc. will also help furnish a place.

Appliance Depot will pick up larger appliances (which usually doesn’t apply to tenants), but also accepts microwaves and has them for sale. 802 Marine Drive, 360.527.2646. website: www.reuseworks.org

Assistance League at 2817 Meridian St. (Across from Haggen on Meridian), 360.738.2803. Accepts clothing, small electronics, sporting goods, art, books and small household items. Does NOT accept large furniture items. Also does NOT accept mattresses, computers, televisions, pillows, or large items like treadmills. Drop off only, no pick up. Drop off is in the alley behind the store. Ring bell for service. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 5:00 pm All items are sold to provide school clothes for children K to 8, summer scholarships for children 6 to 11, gifts for forgotten nursing home residents and clothing for emergency room patients in need.

Back Country Essentials at 214 W. Holly, 360.543.5678 Hours: 10 am to 7:00 pm daily. Outdoor gear for winter sports, hiking and backpacking. Consignment shop, No pick up, no household items.

Wise Buy Shop at 1224 N. State, 360.734.0202 Hours: 10 to 5:00 daily. Accepts clothing, household items, kitchenware, small appliances, sheets, pillows, and small furniture items. No couches or mattresses. Donation only, no pick up. Supports parent and family life skills, transitional housing and parent support for Lydia House.

Value Village at 150 E. Bellis Fair Parkway, 360.733.2333 Hours: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. Accepts clothing, books, kitchen and housewares, small appliances and tools. Will accept couches and furniture in good condition for resale. Accepts dining room chairs and tables, desks, dressers, bookcases and entertainment centers. Also bicycles, gardening tools, sports and exercise equipment including skis. Items are sold and donations made to local charities. Does NOT accept, mattresses, box springs or bedding parts such as hide a beds or bunk beds. No large appliances or damaged furniture. Drive through donation only. No pick up.

To Recycle Electronics

Goodwill drop off at 1115 Sunset Drive store

Safe and Easy Recycling (service charge on some items), 360.715.3279 (EASY)

Salvation Army drop off at 1515 Birchwood Ave open 8:30 to 5:15pm

Sanitary Services drop off at 1001 Roeder or call 360.734.3490 to arrange pick up (fees apply)

Most donation sites do not take large entertainment centers.

If any of this information is incorrect or if you know of other local places that accept donated items, please contact us to have them added to this list.

How do I recycle scrap metal?

Recycle scrap metal by placing neatly next to recycling bins. Residents can use this option provided by SSC to recycle steel, copper, aluminum, brass and aerosol cans. Maximum 35 lbs. per pick up. Maximum length 24 inches. Store in a box. No plastic pipe.

How do I dispose of electronic waste and household hazardous waste items?

Detailed E-waste (Electronics) recycling/disposal/reusing information is provided on the SSC website.

SSC does not accept any kind of hazardous, toxic, radioactive or dangerous waste(s), ammunition, explosives, roadkill/dead animals, old gasoline, solvents, antifreeze, asbestos, pesticides, oil-based paints or hot ashes. Note: Hot ashes are a fire hazard and should never be placed in a Toter® or can. Set in a metal can outside and away from buildings, structures or anything that can ignite. Let cool completely. Place COLD ashes in a bag and dispose of as garbage.

Household hazardous wastes should not be thrown in the garbage. Examples of some types of common household hazardous waste include: Paints, old or dirty gasoline, oil, antifreeze, solvents, asbestos (siding, shingles, floor adhesive, etc), pesticides/herbicides, and other liquid chemicals. Disposal and/or recycling options for these and other products can be found on the SSC website.

To dispose of household hazardous wastes, please contact the Disposal of Toxics program at 360.380.4640. Disposal of Toxics accepts a variety of household hazardous wastes from Whatcom County residents. For more information, visit http://www.whatcomcounty.us/833/Disposal-of-Toxics-Facility

How do I dispose of light bulbs?

It is illegal to dispose of mercury-containing lights with regular garbage (RCW 70.275.080). More information and a list of convenient local drop off locations can be found at the LightRecycle Washington website.

How do I dispose of yard waste?

Grass clippings, garden trimmings, branches, leaves, and weeds can be disposed up via curbside pickup by Sanitary Service Company (SSC). For more information, call 360.734.3490.

When should I set my containers out for pick-up?

Please set out recycling bins, recycling Toters, FoodPlus! Toters, garbage cans or garbage Toters in a visible location the night before your regular collection day. As our area grows, collection times in your neighborhood may change. To help us keep program costs low, please set out recycle bins only when full. Max. bin wt - 35 lbs.

On windy days, please place individual recycling bins on the ground rather than stacking to prevent tipping and windblown litter.

For garbage cans and Toters, please bag all garbage, packing peanuts, shredded paper, animal waste/litter, sawdust and cooled ashes to prevent windblown litter! Thank you for your cooperation!

What if I lose my recycling bins or they are stolen?

Recycling bins remain the property of Sanitary Service Company, Inc. (SSC). Please do not take recycling bins, FoodPlus! Toters or garbage Toters with you if you move.

Please mark your address on your bins. A replacement fee will be charged for lost or stolen recycle bins. Customers are responsible for any theft, loss or damage in excess of normal use. If any of your SSC containers are lost or stolen, please click here or contact us via email or call 360.734.3490 to order replacements.

What should I do if my pick-up is missed due to a weather related service delay?

During times of severe weather, service(s) may be delayed. If we cannot collect material on your regular service day, please leave your container(s) out at the curb (or alley). We will collect material as soon as possible. This may be the next business day or the next time we are scheduled to service your area. Please brush snow off containers. Tips to prevent windblown litter are here.

If we do not service your account until your next regularly scheduled service day, we will take extra material at no extra charge (not to exceed an amount that would be reasonably generated as a result of missed pick up). Use bags for extra material.

For the latest info, click here or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. Please contact us via email for specific account questions. Your patience and understanding is appreciated as we work to safely collect all materials during these times.

I forgot to set out my (home) curbside recycling? What are my options?

There are a couple options:

1) Store your recyclables and set out at your next regularly scheduled pick-up. If your recycling bins are full, place moderate quantities of extra materials in a small plastic tub or cardboard box no larger than a curbside recycling bin. Max. bin wt. 35 lbs.

2) Visit one of our Drop Box Facility & Recycling Centers and let the attendant know you forgot to set out your home curbside recycling. We will accept those recyclables at no charge. For questions, please contact us via email or call 360.734.3490.

What if I need an extra pick-up?

If you need an extra pick-up between regular collections or you have a large amount of garbage or recyclables, please contact us via email or call 360.734.3490 to arrange for a special pick-up. Moderate quantities of extra recyclables will be collected at no extra charge Place extra materials next to recycling bins in an open plastic tub or cardboard box no larger than your curbside recycling bin. Max. bin wt. - 35 lbs.

Additional garbage collected will result in additional charges. For current rates or additional questions, please contact us at via email or call 360.734.3490.

Page Updated 11.22.2017