Office of Environmental Policy & Sustainability - Community Report

Sustainability Semi-Annual Report Masthead

April 2019

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Upcoming Events

Earth Month Events | April is Earth Month! Visit our Earth Month Calendar for a list of sustainability focused events. New events are updated frequently.

Tacoma Bike Swap | Saturday, April 27, 10am-2pm, University of Puget Sound, N 14th and Union | The Tacoma Bike Swap is the largest bicycle-related event in the South Sound region. Whether you are looking to buy, sell, or simply looking to find other riders, join us for this exciting community event!

Environmental Justice for All | Tuesday, April 23, 6-8pm, The Tacoma Urban League, 2550 S Yakima Ave | Hosted by the Black Women’s Caucus of Washington State, join us as we speak with Black Environmental Professionals about climate resilience and current strides being made in the Environmental Justice movement.

Tacoma Green Drinks | Thursday, May 2, 6-9pm, Wingman Brewers, 509 Puyallup Ave | Join this fun and casual networking event where you can catch a different eco-friendly topic at a different bar in Tacoma every month. The May host is Cascadia Rail.

Ongoing Programs

Sustainable Tacoma Commission | Meets every 4th Thursday, 4:30PM to 6:30PM, at the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St. Room 243 | Free and open to the public.

EnviroChallengers | The EnviroChallengers bring free, engaging, and high-quality environmental science lessons to public and private schools all around Tacoma. Available for second through eighth grade classrooms.

Healthy Homes, Healthy Neighborhoods | Providing resources and opportunities to address big environmental challenges on a small scale, one neighborhood at a time.

Sustainability Speaker Series | Schedule a member of the OEPS team to present on a variety of sustainability topics for your organization or group. Call (253) 591-5172 to book.

Tacoma Green Living Guide | This interactive map features many of Tacoma’s resources and efforts toward more sustainable living. Find information about how to get around, where to find locally grown food, places to enjoy nature in the city, and more.

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The City of Tacoma EnviroHouse is a permanent model home showcasing green building and natural landscape ideas, materials and techniques to create a healthy home and planet.

Upcoming Workshops

Rain Gardens: Plan, Prep, Plant, Maintain
April 27, 10:30 AM

Landscape with Unique Shrubs and Grasses
April 27, 1:30 PM

Backyard Chickens: Getting Started
May 4, 10:30 AM

Yard Waste & Worm Bin Composting
May 11, 10:30 AM

Solar Power: How it Can Work for You
May 11, 1:30 PM


EnviroShorts Learn about the City of Tacoma’s waste management resources.

Urban Green City of Tacoma’s sustainable highlights, from businesses to parks.

Tacoma Report Eco Archive of videos featuring the City of Tacoma’s green livability.

EnviroHouse How-To's Get the step by step on DIY sustainable projects you can do around the house.


OEPS NewsEAP Progress Report

Each year, the City releases a report detailing progress made on the high-priority actions outlined in the Environmental Action Plan (EAP). The EAP details actions that the City of Tacoma, Tacoma Public Utilities, and our community will take between 2016 and 2020 to meet the environmental goals outlined in the Tacoma 2025 Strategic Plan.

The 2018 EAP Progress Report is available now at or can be downloaded here. Progress was made in each of the six categories of sustainability: natural systems, air and local food, buildings and energy, transportation, materials management, and climate resiliency.

Among other success stories, the award-winning 40th Street green stormwater infrastructure project was completed. Nearly 16,000 streetlights were converted to energy-saving LEDs, and electric vehicle registrations in Tacoma increased significantly.

View the full 2018 EAP Progress Report to learn more!


Recycling Survey Results

On April 10th, Tacoma Solid Waste Management (SWM) presented the findings of our recycling survey to the Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability (IPS) Subcommittee of the Tacoma City Council. We received over 7,400 responses to our survey from across the City. Over 75% of respondents chose to continue the curbside recycling program or to enhance it through more outreach and education.

In March, SWM also learned from an efficiency audit conducted by Blue Ridge Services that the City’s glass recycling program is not efficient relative to the amount of carbon we are avoiding. In an effort to respect the feedback received from the community, increase efficiencies in operations, and minimize costs for SWM’s residential customers, SWM recommended that Tacoma stops only the curbside glass program, replace it with glass drop-off locations, and increase education efforts for a $3.40 surcharge/month/customer. The IPS Subcommittee unanimously accepted this recommendation, and now the conversation will move to the full City Council for a study session on May 21st with a Council vote expected in early June.

Please check for updates on upcoming meetings and/or actions!


AmeriCorps Members

In early 2019, OEPS welcomed two new AmeriCorps members to the office. Jessica Oh and Sander Lazar serve as key members of the sustainability team, and bring the total number of AmeriCorps members in OEPS to five.

(Pictured from left to right)

Jessica Oh attended the University of Minnesota where she majored in environmental studies. Her education includes attending schools in South Korea where she resided for 17 years before returning to the U.S. in 2012. Jessica’s interests include classical guitar, calligraphy, and waste management in developing countries. She previously served as an AmeriCorps in Chicago at the HANA Center formerly, Korean American Community Services. At OEPS, Jessica works on educating multifamily unit property managers and tenants about recycling in Tacoma.

Sander Lazar has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 2005, and comes to Tacoma most recently from Southern Oregon, where he completed an AmeriCorps term as Renewable Energy Coordinator with Douglas County Smart Energy. He is working with Healthy Homes, Healthy Neighborhoods, an intensive outreach program serving Tacoma’s historically underserved neighborhoods. Sander and his team of interns will work with Eastside community members to increase sustainability and connect them with local cost-saving resources.


ProgramsFood Saver Challenge

40% of food purchased in America goes uneaten and goes to waste - and Tacoma is no exception. Food is the largest component of our waste stream by percentage.

On April 24th, National Food Waste Prevention Day, the Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability will begin recruiting local restaurants to join For the Love of Food: Tacoma’s Food Saver Challenge!

From June 1-21, the Challenge will raise awareness of food waste prevention, and will and highlight local restaurants that are doing their part to tackle this problem. Participating restaurants will be challenged to implement at least three new waste prevention strategies during the challenge. During the final week, restaurants may feature an innovative menu item made from ingredients that might normally go to waste.

For more information about Tacoma’s Food Saver Challenge, stay tuned to our Facebook page at


Healthy Homes Healthy Neighborhoods Team

The Healthy Homes, Healthy Neighborhoods (HHHN) program has begun outreach in Tacoma’s lower Eastside neighborhood. Two outreach teams will be going door to door through June 2019, and talking with community members about cost-saving programs to be more sustainable.

HHHN will host a free community breakfast and resource fair for Eastside community members on Saturday, May 11, 8:30-11:30am, at the brand new Eastside Community Center. Community members will hear from Councilmember Ushka, and many organizations will be present to talk with community members about their programs. Bring your friends, family, and neighbors on May 11 and learn more about saving energy at home, getting free trees for your street, recycling right, everything the new community center has to offer, and much more!

Visit our website for more information about Healthy Homes, Healthy Neighborhoods, or email Program Coordinator Sander Lazar at


Stewardship At Work

Earlier this year, the OEPS Resource Conservation Management team launched Stewardship at Work – a new pilot program for City of Tacoma employees. Stewardship at Work aims to engage employees to lead by example in establishing conservation best practices at work that foster effective changes.

Stewardship at Work will address the municipal targets and goals within the City’s Environmental Action Plan – in a fiscally responsible, social equitable, and environmentally sound manner. Current initiatives include a paper reduction pilot, as well as an emphasis on commute trip reduction with the recent addition of e-bikes to the City’s vehicle fleet.

For more information about Stewardship at Work, contact Perry Spring, Resource Conservation Manager at