Scoop: Talk Trash with Ask Evelyn

A new Seattle Public Utilities

Category: teaser headlines


To mark Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, we checked in with Seattle’s favorite recycling maven, Evelyn, of Ask Evelyn, Seattle Public Utilities’ advice column. (While SPU’s materials suggest that Evelyn is a perky white envelope wearing a flowered hat, “she” is actually a team of employees skilled in talking trash.) Since 2002, Evelyn has answered questions from eco-curious Seattleites wanting to know exactly what can be recycled. Plastic scoops for powdered foods? Yes. Car seats for babies? No. Matchsticks with the head popped off? Yes! (They're compostible.) Evelyn used to field 10 to 20 queries a day, but a recently launched, automated online lookup tool ( has lightened her load. Thanks in part to the city’s garbage troubleshooter, Seattleites recycle more than ever (50 percent of waste in 2008, up from 38 percent in 2003)—and when they’re in doubt, they ask Evelyn.