NEW! Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability Quarterly Report

Sustainability Semi-Annual Report Masthead

April 2017

Stay in Touch!

Follow Tacoma Sustainability on Facebook.

Follow Tacoma Mobility on Facebook and Twitter.

Subscribe to the EnviroNews Listserv to send and receive emails on environmental topics:

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

Upcoming Events

 Bike Swap    April 29th, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM   Join us for the kickoff of Tacoma-Pierce County Bike Month with the 9th annual Tacoma Bike Swap at the University of Puget Sound, Thompson Hall Parking Lot (N. 14th & Union).

Food: Too Good to Waste Presentation   April 29th, 12:10 - 12:40 PM   At the STAR Center, Fitness & Wellness Conference (3873 S. 66th St.)

Earth Month Calendar  April is Earth Month! Check out the local Earth Month activities happening in Tacoma. There are too many to list here – so check out the site and get involved!

Green Drinks with Menstrual Cycle May 4th, 6-9 PM Menstrual Cycle 253 is a bicycle club for womxn of all ages and for anyone wanting empower womxn and spread information about menstruation. Join Green Drinks at the Broken Spoke Barber Shop (1014 MLK Blvd).

UW Tacoma Environmental Series - May 1st, 12:30 - 1:15 PM Mr.Jacob Pederson (Pierce County) will speak on science, policy and collaborative partnerships in Puyallup River floodplains. This event is open to the public. Meet in Roonm SC1309 (kitty corner to the Swiss Pub).

Food: Too Good to Waste Presentation   June 10th, 10:30 AM  at the EnviroHouse (3510 S. Mullen St.)

Grit City Think and Drink June 13, 2017, 6:30 PM  Dr. Tom Koontz, UW Tacoma will speak on "Is it Getting Hot in Here or Is It Just You?"  Climate Change, Scientific Evidence and Disbelief. Meet at The Swiss (1904 Jefferson Ave.)


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.

EAP banner

Environmental Action Plan Progress Report 2016:

In 2015, citizens of Tacoma, partner organizations and city staff came together to develop a plan for meeting the environmental goals outlined in the Tacoma 2025 Strategic Plan. The resulting Environmental Action Plan is a list of meaningful, high-priority actions the City of Tacoma and community will take over five years to co-create a healthier environment. This week the City of Tacoma released its first annual Environmental Action Plan Progress Report. The report summarizes successes and offers updates that keep all of the stakeholders accountable to their five year responsibilities. The report shows how much progress has been made towards each target, and provides a progress rating and status update for each action.

View the 2016 Progress Report and the full Environmental Action Plan at

Presentation Series

We want to help you, the citizens of Tacoma, learn more about Sustainability.  Our power point presentations are designed be watched on line or to have staff scheduled to come to your event or group meetings.

1. Overview of the Office of Environmental Policy & Sustainability.

2. Food: Too Good to Waste

3. Sustainability Challenge 2.0

Call or email to schedule your presentation today!

EnviroHouse Logo

EnviroHouse is in year eleven of providing the Tacoma-Pierce County community with opportunities and resources to learn more about achieving an environmentally friendly lifestyle. In the first quarter of 2017, the EnviroHouse welcomed close to 600 visitors to the house and grounds, including 223 attendees in 13 home and garden workshops and 49 group tour visitors. 

If you are planning an upgrade or need inspiration and ideas for a home project, stop by the EnviroHouse and see our sustainable exhibits to help you create a new look and a healthier environment inside and outside your home. There are hundreds of sustainable products, green-building materials, energy and water saving applications, landscape and garden displays plus numerous resources to help.

Workshops are free and are open to Tacoma and Pierce County residents. You’ll find a variety of topics including water-smart natural yard care, native plants, gardening with herbs, composting (yard waste and with worms), non-toxic solutions for weeds and pests, simple household repairs & tools, making your own rain barrels, and, especially for when it finally heats up, ductless heat pumps for heating and cooling!  

Advance Registration is required: or call the EnviroHouse at (253) 573-2426.

Looking for an activity for your garden club, sustainability group or students? Group tours may be arranged by appointment. Email

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

Plastic bag banner

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 checkout bags given to customers at stores in Tacoma. The main elements of the law are:

  • Thin plastic checkout 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 other retailer provided checkout bags. People with EBT/WIC/TANF 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 checkout 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. Check for more details.

10 year EXPO logo

Highlights from the 2017 South Sound Sustainability Expo:

  • 98 vendor booths and displays
  • 2,315 attendees with 68% attending for the first time
  • Nearly 100% of event survey respondents reported an increase in knowledge about local organizations and sustainability issues
  • Standing room only for the workshops on mason bees, electric vehicles, and tiny houses

Highlights from Tollefson Plaza:

  • 1,300 attendees at Tollefson Plaza; 56% of total attendees
  • 300 sustainability pledges made
  • 50 trees given to Tacoma residents to plant

Attendees enjoyed a walkthrough of a tiny house, live music from local musicians, local food trucks, and tours of electric cars.

Pearl Street tree plantings

Pearl Street Planting Project

This project occurred in planting strip on the east side of N Pearl St. between N 11th and N 21st, and was designed to eliminate the need for extensive maintenance associated with overhead power lines. Several trees were removed and along North Pearl Street. These trees were replaced with more appropriate tree species, whose mature height will not conflict with the overhead utilities in the future.  This one-time tree replacement saves the City annual maintenance costs, beautifies this prominent street, and provides a sustainable canopy cover for the future.

This tree removal and planting project was a partnership between Tacoma Power, the City of Tacoma’s Public Works and Environmental Services Departments, and 14 private property owners. 


  • 26 nuisance trees removed from under overhead powerlines
  • 48 new overhead utility appropriate trees planted

Healthy Homes

Our program team has learned to embrace these New Year rains with a smile and worked with local high school interns to knock on 328 doors in the Lincoln neighborhood, chatting with residents about the Lincoln District Revitalization Project and various eco-friendly resources that benefit our health, communities, and wallets, too. These conversations and engagement with community groups produce dozens of referrals to partner programs each month, to the benefit of these homes. Meanwhile, we co-organized a well-attended Open House for the Revitalization Project and continue oversight for a community garden and street mural to be unveiled this summer.

And, we’re planning for the 2017-2018 program! Suggest Tacoma neighborhoods in need of eco-friendly, cost-saving resources to

Coastal image

Washington’s Regional Coastal Resilience Project

The Coastal Resilience Project is a three-year effort to rapidly increase the state’s capacity to prepare for natural events that threaten the coast, such as coastal flooding, wave damage and shoreline erosion which will increase as climate change continues. The City of Tacoma is acting as a case study to help understand resilience issues at a local scale by lending its tideflats, steep slopes, restoration projects and Owen Beach to study. Grant partners include Washington Sea Grant and WA Department of Ecology as leads, and UW’s Climate Impacts Group, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of Energy and others.