BOTHELL, Wash. -- When Waste Management driver Curt Gardner sees a plastic bag or bottle tumbling out of a yard waste cart into his truck, it is too late for him to do anything about it.

We can t reach in there, said Gardner, who said he has seen a lot of plastic, dirt, concrete and other non-compostable items mistakenly tossed into the yard waste cart.

On his route Thursday, he found a perfectly loaded cart, grass clippings, garden stems and branches, and food scraps - all perfectly acceptable, but on top of the pile, three plastic bags.

Please, no plastic in the yard waste, he pleaded.

Anything that rots in the ground, said Gardner, can be composted.

Leave some weeds, leaves, food and food stained paper on the ground and it will eventually just rot away. That s what can be made into compost for your garden.

Plastic never rots but it can be recycled and there s a cart for that.

Gardner said he also finds garbage cans full of items that could be composted and there s nothing he can do about that either. But he s hoping you will.

Waste Management Public Education Manager Candy Castellanos said one third of the garbage we send off to fill up the landfill each week could be tossed into the yard waste and turned into compost.

Her company is teaming up with King County, Cedar Grove and Seattle Public Utilities for their annual Compost Days (March 15th through April 15th) to try to reduce that number.

You can find the long list of activities the companies are hosting at

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