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Commercial Food Waste

The City of Tacoma offers curbside FoodCycling service to commercial customers. We are committed to sustainably managing our waste streams so that we send less waste to the landfill.


FoodCycling Flyer Now Available

The following FoodCycling flyer is available to view, print, or download:

Food Is the Most Common Material Found in Tacoma's Garbage

In 2015, commercial customers generated more than 14,000 tons of food waste, which accounted for 23 percent of the City's overall waste. In fact, food was the most common material found in Tacoma's garbage, making it a priority to reduce. All food that is placed in garbage cans is transferred to a landfill.

Chef dumping excess food into bucket


Your Business Can Make A Difference

Check out these videos of Tacoma businesses that are making a positive difference.

Commercial customers (all businesses including grocers, restaurants, large facilities, schools, organizations, offices, multi-family buildings, etc.) can sign up for an easy, affordable weekly pickup of all solid food (raw or uncooked), including produce, deli, bakery goods, meats, and seafood. For $16 per month (in comparison to $56.90 per month for garbage), your business can save money and help the environment by participating in our food waste recycling program.


Food in the garbage comes in two ways: unavoidable and avoidable. Unavoidable food waste includes inedible scraps such as peels, cores, and shells. The avoidable includes wasted food, i.e, food that was edible but went into the garbage instead of being used. It’s estimated that 40 percent of food produced in the United States goes uneaten, trashing the equivalent of $165 billion each year.


Businesses can help by donating still-edible food to organizations that feed the hungry and recycling the “unavoidable” food waste. In doing so, your business will be helping the 1 in 5 Washingtonians that rely on local food banks and the 1 in 5 children in Washington that lives in a household that struggles to put food on the table. (United States Department of Agriculture, 2015).


How Does it Help?

Food waste collected by the City of Tacoma is turned into compost or TAGRO. It’s a great way to recycle the nutrients back into plants and soil. Commercial food waste is processed through the City’s wastewater system where it becomes Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) and TAGRO. The RNG is used to provide heat.


The City is working towards converting the RNG into vehicle fuel for trucks and cars. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gases in two ways:

  1. To replace petroleum with a carbon neutral fuel and
  2. To avoid landfilling food waste that releases greenhouse gases as it decomposes.    

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, methane has a global warming potential more than 25 times that of carbon dioxide.


How Can You Participate?

It’s easy! Call (253) 502-2100. A solid waste service representative can answer questions, sign you up, and arrange for a site visit. We’ll check your space requirements and help you select a service level that meets your needs.


For a full list of fees, visit our rates page