NEW! Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability Quarterly Report

Sustainability Semi-Annual Report Masthead

July 2015

Stay in Touch!

Subscribe to the EnviroNews Listserv to send and receive e-mails on environmental topics:

  • grant opportunities,
  • workshops,
  • restoration activities,
  • volunteer programs,
  • trainings,
  • announcements,
  • news, and
  • events.

Follow Tacoma Sustainability on Facebook.

Follow Tacoma Mobility on Facebook and Twitter.

Upcoming Events

CHB 8th Annual Shoreline Clean Up - Saturday, July 25, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, at Tyee Marina, 5618 Marine View Dr. Tacoma.

August Green Drinks - Thursday, August 6 at      6:00 PM.

CHB Storm Drain Marking Event - Saturday, Aug. 22, 9:00 AM to Noon.

Downtown to Defiance -  Sunday, Sept. 13, 9:00 AM  to 1:00 PM. 

Ongoing Opportunities

Sustainable Tacoma Commission - 2nd Tuesday of each month, 3:30-5:30 PM at Tacoma Municipal Building, 9th floor Visibility Center. Public welcome! 

EnviroHouse workshops - Free with advance registration. Weekends at the EnviroHouse, Recovery & Transfer Center, 3510 South Mullen St.

Tacoma Green Drinks - Every 1st Thursday at 5:30 PM at different locations around town.

Point Defiance Marina Beach Cleanup - 3rd Saturday of each month, 9 AM - 12 PM.

Additional Education and Involvement

Green Living Guide

An award-winning interactive map featuring many of Tacoma’s resources and efforts towards more sustainable living.

Video Features


This series takes you behind the scenes to find out where Tacoma's waste goes

Urban Green

Tacoma Report Eco Videos

Explore the City of Tacoma's archive of videos on environmental topics.

Summer Green Events

Green Excellence Seal

Several events participating in the Green Events Program have achieved Green Excellence status this summer. Organizers of these events have taken steps to lessen their environmental impact and are doing things like providing mobile water fountains to offset disposable water bottle waste, providing temporary bike racks to encourage active transportation to and from events, and creating a waste management plan to better manage and reduce waste.

Green Events volunteer

Recent Green Excellence events include Freedom Fair (Tacoma Events Commission), Independence Day 5K (Tacoma City Marathon Association), Out in the Park (Rainbow Center), and PRIDE Block Party (The MIX). The upcoming Tacoma Maritime Fest (Tacoma Neighborhoods Together) on July 18, Food Truck Fest (MetroParks Tacoma) on July 19, and Proctor Arts Fest (Proctor District Association) on August 1 all achieved Green Excellence status.


Active Transportation

bike swap browsers

This year’s Tacoma-Pierce County Bike Month was a huge success! Hundreds of people participated in bike-related activities like the Bike Swap, the Tweed Ride, Kidical Mass, and the Bike Everywhere Challenge. During Bike Month, the in-ground bicycle counter on Division at Wright Park counted 1,872 bicycles—over 60 per day. Thanks for biking Tacoma and calling attention to our local bicycle resources!

The third-annual Downtown to Defiance Open Streets event will take place on September 13th, from 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. People are invited to walk, bike, skateboard, scooter, and rollerblade (or otherwise self-propel) their way along 6.5 miles of Tacoma’s beautiful waterfront— unencumbered by vehicular traffic! There will be activities in parks along the way, and participants can join the course at any point and choose a distance that suits them best. Everyone is welcome at this Sunday Parkways eventthe only one like it in Tacoma-Pierce County!

Environmental Services logo


   Environmental Services Wins National Award

The City of Tacoma’s Solid Waste Management won the 2015 Gold Excellence Award from the Solid Waste Association of North America for Tacoma’s residential collection system. The program was recognized for its emphasis on customer services, environmental protection, operational efficiency, safety and innovations in its residential collection program. For details about the award and Tacoma’s solid waste innovations, read the press release or visit

   Introducing Commercial Food & Yard Waste

Also in solid waste news, commercial customers can now sign up for yard and/or food waste recycling in Tacoma. To communicate that this new service is available, all commercial customers were sent a direct mail piece announcing the program. A bill insert is being included with statements mailed during July/August, and a fall recruitment campaign will focus on priority sectors of our commercial customer base, including multi-family and food-based businesses. Help spread the word about this program and help us reduce the amount of organic materials heading to the landfill!


New Urban Green Episodes

Urban Green logo

Urban Green is a Tacoma and South Sound lifestyle program that explores sustainable living and environmental efforts. Episode 7 features Patrick Babbitt from our Healthy Homes, Healthy Neighborhoods program and Franclyn Heinecke, President of the Pierce County Beekeepers Association. The program also visits the Tacoma Wastewater Treatment Plant, talks to the winners of the Tacoma Green Infrastructure Challenge, and shares some tips on how to save water.

In Episode 8, Jeff Rice talks about collecting the sounds of nature, we brew the perfect cup of tea and then head to school to learn about the Arts EnviroChallenger program. You’ll also get a look at an organization providing local youth with their very own set of wheels through the Bikes for Kids program. You can view these videos on the Urban Green website and on the City of Tacoma’s YouTube channel.




The EnviroChallenger environmental education program has finished the school season and started the community event season, which continues until mid-September. Look for EnviroChallengers at events like Maritime Fest and Ethnic Fest in July, McKinley Street Fair in August, and Downtown to Defiance in September.

HHHN: Dometop

Healthy Homes, Healthy Neighborhoods: Dometop wrapped up with four successful events: a gardening workshop, a clean-sweep of Blix and Lister Elementary Schools’ safe walking routes, a depave event, and a neighborhood clean-up.

DePave group

The June depave event was a collaboration with members of City of Tacoma Environmental Services, the Pierce County Conservation District, BNBuilders, Rino Construction, and various Eastside community groups. A total of fifty volunteers gathered to remove 7,000 square feet of unneeded pavement along McKinley Avenue, allowing for decreased polluted stormwater runoff and increased green space in the neighborhood. Volunteers will return in October to plant trees and shrubs in the planting strip.

Young volunteers

Since completing door-to-door canvassing in mid-June, HHHN staff is conducting data analysis and visioning for fall 2015, when the program will shift its focus to the Hilltop neighborhood. (Photo credits: Tara Scheidt)


Sustainable Tacoma Commission

STC photo

The Sustainable Tacoma Commission welcomed three new members and one returning member who began three-year terms this summer. Commissioners and City staff gathered for a retreat-style meeting in June to enjoy each other’s company and reach a common understanding of the Commission’s goals, roles, and expectations. The Commission provides citizen oversight of the Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability and makes recommendations to City Council regarding the City's ongoing sustainability efforts.

envirohouse logo

The late summer workshop series at the City of Tacoma EnviroHouse (located at the Transfer and Recovery Center, 3510 S. Mullen St.) will include presentations on natural and efficient home lighting, winter gardens, and ductless heat pumps; a kid-friendly garden fun day; and more!  Workshops are free, but advance registration is required. (Note: If a workshop is full, please register for the waiting list.)  For more information on workshops, resources, and planning your visit, view this brochure or the EnviroHouse website.

                       Workshop Schedule

July 18 Solar Power: How it can Work for You

July 25 Kid Fun: FlowerPower-CreepyCrawlies-Gardens-Games

                    (No workshops in August)

September 12 Yard Waste & Worm Bin Composting

September 19 Natural Daylight with Solatube; DIY demo

September 26 Winter Gardens: Plants, Cover Crops, Mulch

October 3 Weatherization: Insulation & Duct Sealing

October 10 Ductless Heat Pump Advantages & Incentives

October 17 Pruning Landscape Trees & Shrubs

October 18 Rain Barrels: How to Make & Maintain

October 24 Bright Ideas, Smart Lighting: LEDs at Home


Meet Our Staff: Jeanne Walter

Jeanne photo

Jeanne grew up across from a city park in Tulsa, Oklahoma, studied and worked in Seattle, and now makes her home in Sumner. After working on the first Healthy Homes, Healthy Neighborhoods project in Tacoma’s Wapato Lake neighborhood and the City’s application for STAR Communities Sustainability status, Jeanne was hired on as a management analyst in June 2014 to work on projects like the Sustainable Materials Management Plan and the Climate Change Risk Assessment.

In addition to her love of nature and riding horses, Jeanne has a strong interest in energy efficiency and alternative energy sources for buildings and vehicles because of the impact they have on climate change, which she cites as her main environmental concern. “I used to ride a colt,” she says, ”and now I drive a Volt!” Her interest in building efficiency makes working in a LEED®-certified platinum building at the Center for Urban Waters all the more interesting. “I’m thrilled to be working in a building like this,” she says, “and I love being right down on the water.”

When she’s not in the office this summer, you’ll find Jeanne “hanging out on my back deck with my cat on my lap, a refreshing drink in my hand, overlooking the Puyallup River.”