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Learn about King County, Washington, including Featured News, Key Projects, and The Team.
Established in 1852, King County is home to more than two million people, making it the 12th most populous county in the United States. Located in Washington State in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, King County stretches from the shores of the Salish Sea to the peaks of the Cascade Range. The region boasts a diverse economy, headlined by technology, aerospace manufacturing, and consumer retail giants. King County covers more than 2,100 square miles of territory, encompassing urban cities, suburban neighborhoods, rural farmland, and undeveloped natural lands including mountains, forests, and waterways.
King County is launching a new initiative, Re+, to return valuable materials to the economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions created by the region’s waste system. Re+ aims to recover nearly 70% of materials that are currently being sent to the landfill that could avoid becoming waste in the first place by being reused, recycled, or composted.
King County Executive Dow Constantine today launched Re+, an initiative to reinvent the region’s waste system to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a sustainable circular economy.
While King County has achieved one of the highest recycling rates in the country, nearly 70% of the materials currently brought to the regional landfill could be reused, recycled, or composted, rather than buried as waste that generates potent greenhouse gas emissions. Re+ will mobilize the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to extend producer responsibility, make it more convenient to recycle, reduce food waste, and invest in new technologies that recover valuable materials.
Re+ will advance a goal in King County’s 2020 Strategic Climate Action Plan to cut countywide greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of the decade.
"Re+ is our commitment to reinventing the waste system to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and transition to a more sustainable economy,” said Executive Constantine. “The people and businesses of King County want to contribute to climate solutions. With these systemic changes, we will make it easier and less expensive for everyone to make sustainable choices.”
Re+ includes the following actions:
Producing, packaging, shipping, and disposing of products all contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, but some of the best opportunities for improvement are in food waste, which accounts for about one-third of materials that currently end up at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill in Maple Valley.
Businesses and households in King County in 2019 threw out enough edible food to feed everyone in Kirkland – about 92,000 people – for an entire year. Food production requires large amounts of resources – particularly water and energy – while creating significant greenhouse gas emissions. If food is not eaten and ends up at the landfill, its decay can create methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
By enacting new policies, supporting state legislation, coordinating with cities, and partnering with businesses, King County can reduce the amount of waste currently generated, decrease the demand for virgin materials and the energy required for manufacturing, and make recycling and composting more convenient.
King County Executive Dow Constantine released the following statement after the King County Council unanimously passed a $15.8 billion biennial budget that adopts major investments in his priority areas focused on battling the climate crisis and restoring our environment, ensuring every person has a home, ensuring a community where every person is safe, and uprooting racism and racial disparities.
“This budget is a map of King County’s values – prioritizing investments in our environment, in prosperity, and in communities and populations farthest from opportunity, access, and justice – to make ours a welcoming community where every person can thrive.
“Thanks is due to the King County Council, and especially Budget Chair Joe McDermott, for thoughtful deliberation these past eight weeks since I delivered my proposed two-year budget. I also want to thank and acknowledge all the community members who participated in the budget process to have their voices heard.
“This budget allows us to not only continue transforming the way government operates, to solve problems, and to deliver services to all our residents, but also to show the way for others, regionally and nationally – whether improving quality of life, working for a just society, or ensuring the survival of our planet.
“The collaborative process led by Council Budget Chair McDermott, Council Chair Balducci and others showcases that, together, we can take on the extraordinary challenges of this time and build the future our children deserve.”
Executive Constantine unveils 2023 – 2024 budget, highlights investments in key priority areas including clean energy, public safety, housing projects, and behavioral health
Focusing on four priority pillars of work first introduced in his 2022 State of the County, King County Executive Dow Constantine joined the King County Council today to deliver his 2023 – 2024 biennial Proposed Budget. The $15.8 billion budget will make major investments in the Executive’s priority areas focused on battling the climate crisis and restoring our environment, ensuring every person has a home, ensuring a community where every person is safe, and uprooting racism and racial disparities.
In his prepared remarks, Executive Constantine spoke to each of these areas emphasizing that this budget proposal is a road map to King County’s values – prioritizing investments in communities and populations farthest from opportunity, access, and justice, in order to ensure that King County is making a welcoming community where every person can thrive.