Learn how to properly dispose of old license plates, and see a list of which plates you must return to us in person.
How to dispose of old license plates
While you can keep old license plates as mementos (if you remove or invalidate the tabs and do not display them on a vehicle), you can also dispose of them.
You can dispose of most old license plates (see exceptions below) in the following ways:
At an office
Take them to your local vehicle licensing office or mail them to us at:
Check with your recycler to see if they accept license plates before disposing of them in your curbside recycling.
You must remove or invalidate the month and year tabs and bend the plates so they can't be confused with a valid Washington license plate or used on a vehicle.
Special design plates
You must return certain special design license plates to us at a vehicle licensing office. You can't recycle them. You can mail them to us, but you must add the correct postage.
- Commercial Vehicle plates (gross weight over 12,000 pounds)
- Personalized plates
- Disabled Parking plates
- Collector Vehicle plates
- Horseless carriage plates
- Baseball Stadium plates
- Amateur Radio Operator (HAM) plates
- Disabled American Veteran plates
- Purple Heart plates
- Medal of Honor plates
- Pearl Harbor survivor plates
- Gold Star plates