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Solid Waste Management Seeks Community Feedback About Proposed Residential Curbside Recycling Changes

Solid Waste Management Seeks Community Feedback About Proposed Residential Curbside Recycling Changes


February 6, 2019



Tanisha Jumper, Media and Communications, tjumper@ci.tacoma.wa.us, (253) 591-5152
Megan Snow, Media and Communications, msnow@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5051


Solid Waste Management Seeks Community Feedback About Proposed Residential Curbside Recycling Changes


The City of Tacoma’s Solid Waste Management is proposing four options that would address operational challenges to the residential curbside recycling program that were caused by the disruption of the international recycling market.


“Last year, China, which was the world’s largest importer of recycled material, greatly reduced its import disrupting the world’s recycling market,” said Lewis Griffith, Solid Waste Management division manager. “We’ve been actively studying, analyzing and evaluating the impacts China’s actions would have on our local recycling programs. We had hoped that the markets would rebound faster, yet the impacts are resulting in a loss of recycling revenue and an increase in cost to the utility to get recyclables to market.”


Solid Waste Management is currently gathering community feedback on a range of options that would address the issues currently facing the program. The options, which Solid Waste Management proposed, include limited recycling, partial curbside recycling, maintaining the full curbside recycling, and maintaining the full curbside recycling with additional resources.


The limited recycling option, which includes stopping the curbside recycling program, would be a permanent monthly rate increase of 3%, or approximately $1.33 per customer. This option would cover the cost to landfill those same items that would regularly be recycled. The three other options include additional surcharges to customers, which are intended to be temporary and will be reexamined as the recycling market stabilizes.


The new revenue generated by the proposed monthly recycling surcharges, which range from $2.40 to $4, will cover the actual cost the utility is incurring to market and ship recyclables to importers. The fourth option, would generate an additional $600,000 for expanded education about recycling and provide satellite recycling stations or glass boxes.


“We are currently holding community meetings, conducting focus groups, and asking all customers to participate in a survey,” Griffith said. “The City Council and the utility want to hear from customers before we make any decisions.”


Solid Waste Management is anticipating presenting community feedback and recommendations to the City Council’s Infrastructure, Planning and Sustainability Committee in March. Final recommended changes would be brought to the full Tacoma City Council for a vote.


Additional information about the proposed options, community outreach schedule and survey are available at TacomaRecycles.org/Changes.


More information about the City’s Environmental Services is available at cityoftacoma.org/ES. More information about the City’s progress toward its Tacoma2025 goals is available on the Results253 page at data.cityoftacoma.org.