How To Get There > Curbside Composting: Tacoma, Washington, USA

Curbside Composting: Tacoma, Washington, USA

Tacoma, Washington

Tacoma residents receive curbside collection of food and yard waste as part of their trash and recycling service. City-run trucks provide all services and pick up each bin on a biweekly schedule.

Action(s) Taken

  • Composting policies

Population

202,000

Background

Since the 1990s, Tacoma has offered curbside yard waste pick-up every other week to all single-family residents and has achieved a 90% participation rate in the program. In 2012 the city expanded the organics program to include all food waste including meat and dairy products.

The program expansion was prompted by a 2009 waste characterization study that found 1/3 of household trash was food scraps, which prompted the city to run a pilot program for food scraps in 2011. The pilot beat its goal of diverting 10% of food scraps and was successfully rolled out to all residents.

Results

In the first year of the program, 48% of existing customers were composting their food scraps and the city reduced its waste by 5,000 to 6,000 tons.

Composting Program Details

Tacoma provides a 1-gallon kitchen bucket for collecting food scraps and a 96-gallon brown curbside bin. Compostable materials include:

  • Bread, grains, pasta
  • Fruits and vegetable
  • Poultry, meat, and seafood
  • Dairy and eggs
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Branches
  • Prunings
  • Weeds

Bioplastics and compostable packaging are not included in the program.

City-run Services

The city of Tacoma provides the trash, recycling and composting collection services for all its 54,000 single-family and duplex residents. Recycling, trash and composting are all picked up on an every other week schedule. Garbage and recycling are collected on the same day and composting is collected on alternate weeks. The city moved to every other week trash service in 2013.

The city also provides mandatory trash service to all businesses and multi-family properties and offers recycling services as well.

Tacoma operates under a PAYT pricing structure for its residential collection services that bases the price of recycling, trash and composting service on the size of the trash container.

  • smallest 30-gallon container costs $18 per month
  • largest volume available, two 90-gallon containers, costs $110/month

Downloads

Curbside Food:Yard Waste Tacoma

City of Tacoma Food Waste Recycling

Curbside Composting Tacoma Washington

More Information

Tacoma Information on Curbside Composting

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