NEW! Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability Quarterly Report

Sustainability Semi-Annual Report Masthead

January 2017

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Upcoming Events

Electric Vehicle Workshop    January 28th, 1:30 PM   Electric Vehicles: Is one right for me?  Every year more and more car manufacturers introduce new electric vehicle models with lower prices and greater range, options, and budgets to better meet driver’s needs.    

Green Drinks with Friends of Wapato Lake February 2nd, 6-9 PM Our next event will be hosted by the Friends of Wapato Lake.  We are moving to a new location that we have never tried before, so come out for an evening of "firsts" with Tacoma Green Drinks at Edison Alehouse  5602 S Lawrence St, Tacoma.

 2017 Super Bowl Bike Ride with VeloFemmes  February 5th, 10 AM  Get out and exercise before watching the big game. We will meet at the East Puyallup Trail Head, across from the old Van Lierop Bulb Farm. If you want to ride the whole trail, that will be 30 miles. Second meetup in Orting at the Bell Tower at noon. Let me know where you plan to meet the group.

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

EnviroHouse How-To's

This series of short how-to videos will continue through 2017. Check out our first four here.


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.

Large Expo logo

Save the date for the 10th annual South Sound Sustainability Expo on Saturday, March 4 from 10am-3pm. Learn from local organizations and businesses about sustainable products, renewable energy, local agriculture, habitat restoration and more. Make a free screen print, take part in the book-movie-music swap or attend a workshop to learn about a sustainability topic like raising bees. This free, family-friendly event is taking place at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center.

Plus, for the 10th anniversary celebration we’re taking the fun outside to Tollefson Plaza! Tour a tiny house, eat healthy and sustainable food, walk through an urban forest, and more.  Visit for more information.

The event organizers are looking for some people-power to make this event amazing! Visit for details.

EnviroHouse Logo

     2017 Winter Workshop Schedule

Free Workshops - Advance registration required or call (253) 573-2426


1/28 –   1:30 pm    Electric Vehicles: Is One Right for Me?


2/04 – 10:30 am    Natural Daylighting: Solatube Info and DIY Install

2/11 – 10:30 am    Organic Fruit Tree Selection and Care

2/11 –   1:30 pm    Mason Bees: So Easy, So Productive

2/18 – 10:30 am    Early Gardens: Berries, Root Stock, Raised Beds

2/25 – 10:30 am    Pruning and Care of Landscape Trees


3/11 – 10:30 am    Worm Bins and Backyard Composting

3/18 – 10:30 am    Backyard Chickens: Getting Started

3/19 –   1:30 pm    Rain Barrels: How to Make & Maintain

3/25 – 10:30 am    Ductless Heat Pump & A/C: Advantages & Incentives 

Workshop Location: City of Tacoma EnviroHouse
Tacoma Recovery & Transfer Center (former Landfill)
3510 S. Mullen St., 98409 (directions on EnviroHouse website)

EnviroHouse Public Hours: Wed.-Fri. 10-3; Sat.-Sun. 11-5

Plastic Bag Law

In 2016, the Tacoma City Council passed the Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) ordinance. The law goes into effect on July 12, 2017 and regulates the use of carryout bags given to customers at stores in Tacoma. The main elements of the law are:

  • Thin plastic carryout bags will no longer be distributed at any Tacoma retail establishments (grocery stores, convenience stores, farmers markets and others).
  • Recycled paper or reusable carryout bags can still be distributed by retail establishments, but the retailer must collect a minimum pass-through charge of five cents for each bag requested by customers.
  • Customers must pay the pass-through charge for paper or reusable carryout bags. People with Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) benefits cards will not have to pay the pass-through charge.
  • Customers should bring their own bags when they shop to avoid the pass-through fee.
  • Bags other than carryout bags, such as produce bags, dry cleaning bags and newspaper bags, will continue to be available for free.

Before the law goes into effect, City staff will distribute free reusable bags, conduct focused engagement in low-income communities, and provide educational resources to businesses. Staff will also conduct a study of the impacts of the law after implementation. Annually, retailers will be asked to report to the City on the number of recycled paper carryout bags distributed to help determine effectiveness of the law.

Tree coupons

The 2016-2017 Tree Coupon program season will run through April 1, 2017. You can request a 2016-17 season tree coupon online. Requests may also be made to Please provide your address and contact information. If you’re eligible, you’ll receive a coupon and information on tree planting and growing when the 2016-17 season begins. Allow one week for processing and delivery once the season opens.

Real Tacomans

 This fall the City launched the Real Tacomans campaign to encourage walking, biking and taking transit instead of driving. Real Tacomans can save money and time while being a part of their community when they choose to travel without their car. The Real Tacomans campaign uses CTR (Commute Trip Reduction) grant funding for short trip reduction education by emphasizing alternative ways to travel to locations around Tacoma’s downtown core, such as UWT, SAMI and the farmers market. Staff worked with Downtown On the Go to produce posters, bus ads and a website that will remain active throughout 2017.

Healthy Homes

As 2016 wrapped-up, Healthy Homes, Healthy Neighborhoods program staff members worked with two local high school interns to revisit 400 homes in the Lincoln neighborhood for knock-and-talk conversations about eco-friendly resources that offer households cost-savings and health benefits. Beside door-to-door engagement, the program engages with community members through neighborhood-organized meetings and local events. Through the spring and early summer, the program will continue to facilitate the formation of a new community garden in coordination with Harvest Pierce County and other City partners, including Tacoma Water and TAGRO. 


Washington’s Regional Coastal Resilience Project

Tacoma is one of two communities selected to receive a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grant to participate in Washington’s Regional Coastal Resilience Project (WCRP). The WCRP is a three-year effort to address coastal hazards by coordinating our state investment in coastal management. A diverse team of partners, collectively over three years, will improve the communication of risk associated with sea level rise and associated coastal impacts in Washington State. The project will motivate communities to plan and prepare.

The project is currently in the scientific data collection phase, which includes determining the ocean floor topography for the entire Washington coast. Areas of subsidence alter sea level rise projections so this is critical for establishing a comprehensive baseline. Sea level rise projection numbers specific to Tacoma will be one outcome of this work. The data will also focus on Tacoma’s critical areas and steep slopes, the Tideflats and restorations sites.

Meet Emma & Adrienne: New AmeriCorps Members

Emma and Adrienne

Emma Keese (left) originally hails from Seattle but has spent the last four years in Wisconsin getting her degree in Environmental Studies from Beloit College. She is very happy to be back living in the Pacific Northwest and is looking forward to getting to know Tacoma better. In her free time she enjoys hiking, kayaking, biking, writing and white water rafting. She’s also a big baseball and ice hockey fan. Go Mariners! She is currently planning the 2017 Sustainability Expo and is looking forward to tackling any and all projects that come her way.

Adrienne Chaney (right) moved with her family to Tacoma 3 ½ years ago from California to live on a catamaran on the Thea Foss Waterway.  She loves hiking, kayaking, reading and learning how to sail! She spent the last 25 years working in the Parks and Recreation profession and is excited to be involved in the sustainability division of the City of Tacoma.  Her plans are to cruise to Alaska and Mexico with her husband once her two children have graduated from college in 2018.