NEW! Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability Quarterly Report

Sustainability Semi-Annual Report Masthead

August 2016

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Upcoming Events

Tacoma Green Drinks
Sept. 1st, 6:00 PM Harmon Brewery and Restaurant featuring ForeverGreen.

Downtown to Defiance
Sept. 11th, 9 AM - 1 PM Experience 6.5 miles of waterfront like never before.

Discounted Tree Sale 
Oct. 8th, 9 AM - 12 PM Lincoln High School    

EnviroHouse 10 Year Anniversary                Oct. 22nd, 12 - 4 PM Join EnviroHouse friends and staff to celebrate 10 years.

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! 

BPTAG (Bicycle Pedestrian Technical Advisory Group) - 4th Monday of each month, 5:30 PM at Tacoma Municipal Building.

Tacoma Green Drinks - Every 1st Thursday, 6:00 PM, at different locations around town.

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

Full Episode Archive

Tacoma Report Eco Videos

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

Downtown to Defiance

Downtown to Defiance Logo

On Sunday, September 11th be part of the 4th annual Sunday Parkways event, Downtown to Defiance! At this free, open streets event hosted by the City, you can experience 6.5 miles of the beautiful Tacoma waterfront like never before. Walk, run, bike, roll or choose your favorite mode of human-powered transportation to travel along Ruston Way, Schuster Parkway, Dock Street and the Esplanade car-free. Bring the family and stop at the Metro Parks facilities along the way for activities and good food. Learn more at See you there!


On July 12, 2016, the Tacoma City Council passed the Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) ordinance regulating carryout bags. This law will take effect following a one year implementation period where City staff will distribute free reusable bags, conduct focused engagement in low-income communities, and provide educational resources to businesses. The law follows the same carryout bag restriction model that twelve other communities in Washington State have implemented. The main elements of the law are:

  • Thin plastic carryout bags will no longer be distributed at Tacoma retail establishments.
  • Retail establishments will collect a minimum pass-through charge of 5 cents for each recycled paper or reusable carryout bag requested by customers.
  • Those with benefits cards will not have to pay the pass-through charge.

To determine effectiveness, staff will conduct an impact study after implementation and retailers will be asked to report the number of recycled paper carryout bags distributed. For educational resources and updates on the ordinance, check the BYOB webpage.

Discounted Tree Sale

Tree Sale

Pierce Conservation District’s Community Tree Program helps residents across Pierce County plant trees around their homes and along their streets. Come out to Lincoln High School on October 8th from 9 AM - noon for their Discounted Tree Sale where you'll find a great variety of appropriate trees for planting under power lines, along the street, and in the yard. You can pre-order your trees now for easy pick up in October.

Participants will receive up to three $20 trees per household, mulch and compost, and training on tree planting and care. Not sure how you'll get your trees home? Don't let that stop you - delivery is available upon approval.

Planting trees helps clean our air and water, makes our streets more walkable, and makes our neighborhoods healthier. To learn more, check out Pierce Conservation District's Urban Tree Planting website or email Melissa for more information on the Tree Sale.

HHHN logo

In June, the Healthy Homes, Healthy Neighborhoods programs for Hilltop and Lincoln concluded their outreach season. The HHHN program coordinators met with community members door-to-door and through community-organized meetings to discuss City and partner resources that offer cost-savings and benefits for households and environmental health. Between the two neighborhoods, 2,338 households were visited this season, resulting in hours of great conversations and helpful resources being received by community members. The events hosted in this outreach season included successful neighborhood walking tours and bike rides. Including earlier community breakfasts, more than 540 participants showed up to support their neighborhoods and be part of these great events.

The Lincoln neighborhood program is preparing for a second round of door-to-door conversations over the coming months and will continue its outreach and collaboration. HHHN said goodbye last month to its AmeriCorps program coordinator for the Hilltop neighborhood, Phillip Brenfleck, after a great term of service.

Preventing Wasted Food

There is unavoidable food waste, like eggshells and banana peels, and then there is wasted food. Wasted food is edible food that has expired, spoiled, or is thrown out instead of being eaten. Wasted food is expensive for the consumer and wastes our shared natural resources. Most importantly, however, wasted food is preventable.

The Food: Too Good to Waste Challenge was developed in partnership with the EPA to help Tacoma families and individuals learn ways to waste less food. So far, after participating in this easy, in-home activity, the average participant cut their wasted food by over 50 percent! To learn more about the challenge, sign up, or find more resources, go to:

Food: Too Good To Waste
EnviroHouse Logo


Summer workshops are in the books, but the EnviroHouse is gearing up for a busy fall. Sign up for one of our fall workshops, join us for the 10 Year Anniversary Open House, or stop by during public hours. 

The EnviroHouse is located at the Transfer and Recovery Center (3510 S. Mullen St.) and is open Wed.-Fri. 10 AM - 3:00 PM and Sat.-Sun. 11 AM - 5:00 PM. Workshops are free and open to all, but advance registration is required. (If a workshop is full, please register for the waiting list, other sessions may be added based on demand.) For more information on workshops, resources, and planning your visit, head to the EnviroHouse website or send them an email. Here is the upcoming fall schedule:


9/10, 10:30 am      Yard Waste & Worm Bin Composting
9/17, 10:30 am      Gardens: Winter Plants, Cover 
                              Crops, Mulch, and More
9/24, 10:30 am      Natural Daylighting; Solatube DIY demo


10/01, 10:30 am     What's New in Windows; When to                     
                               Consider Replacement    
10/08, 10:30 am     Care and Pruning of Landscape Trees
10/15, 10:30 am     Ductless Heating/Cooling: Does it Make        
                               Sense for You?
10/22, 12:00 pm     10 Year Anniversary Open House
10/23,  1:30 pm      Rain Barrels: How to Make & Maintain
10/29, 10:30 am     Rain Gardens & Trees to add Beauty 
                               to Your Landscape                      


11/05, 10:30 am     Plan for Feb.: Fruit Trees & Mason Bees

National Bike Month Celebrated in Tacoma

Bike to Market Day

This May was the 9th annual Tacoma-Pierce County Bike Month. The City of Tacoma partnered with Pierce County, Pierce Transit, and Downtown On the Go, and this year's Bike Month was one of the best. Participation was great and there was a high level of community support and engagement.

The Bike Everywhere Challenge had increased participation with more than 350 participants, and the in-street bike counters counted a total of 3,420 bicyclists riding during Bike Month. Many events and activities throughout the month supported both new and experienced bicyclists while celebrating the bicycle as a fun and healthy form of transportation. The City hosted events including the Tacoma Bike Swap, the 1950s Ride, and Bike to Market Day. Community organizations hosted events including the Steel Wheel Alley Cat Poker Run, Bike to Work Day, and the Anderson Island Ride. Bike Month may be over, but biking season is in full swing. Happy riding!

New Members Welcomed to STC, BPTAG

Sustainable Tacoma Commission photo

We are excited to welcome several new members to the Sustainable Tacoma Commission and the Bicycle Pedestrian Technical Advisory Group. These groups are made up of Tacomans who want to see our city become a more sustainable, accessible and thriving place. On the STC we are excited to work with Josh Jorgenson, Alexandra Brewer, Lowell Wyse, Alison Baur and Theda Braddock. On the BPTAG we are happy to welcome Leon Ettelson, Jolene Rogers, and Cassie Head.

Everyone is welcome at these public meetings – come be part of the discussion! Check out the sidebar for meeting times and locations.

Meet Pat: Healthy Homes Extraordinaire

Pat Babbitt

Pat Babbitt has worked with the City for nearly 2 years in a mix of roles. Hailing from the Boston area, he made his way to Tacoma as an AmeriCorps member. During his service term, he managed the Healthy Homes, Healthy Neighborhoods (HHHN) program in the Dometop neighborhood, a “hidden gem” atop Eastside’s McKinley Hill, home to the storied Top of Tacoma and expansive McKinley Park.

Pat takes great pride and enjoys being part of the HHHN program. Through this program, he explains, the City addresses inequity and environmental priorities by connecting historically underserved neighborhoods to cost-saving, eco-friendly resources. After the Dometop program, where Pat spent 9,000+ minutes speaking with residents and enjoyed one too few 50+ hour workweeks, he happily stayed with the City to carryover the HHHN program.

Today, he leads the HHHN program in the Lincoln District as part of Tacoma’s Lincoln Revitalization Project. According to Pat, the program thrives on personal relationships with various community members who share what impacts them and, ultimately, are willing to collaborate to make changes. For this South End neighborhood, Pat recommends El Zocalo Mexican bakery, Pho Dragon, and Dragon’s Crawfish, a Cajun seafood spot. Aside from good eats, Pat admits to eventful PokemonGo hunting in Lincoln Park.

We thank Pat for passing on this neighborhood know-how, and hope the unsung heroes of Tacoma’s neighborhoods continue to keep Pat here in the 253.