Little brown kitchen buckets will land on the doorsteps of Tacoma’s singlefamily homes this month. Make sure you’re ready to take care of your new arrival by feeding it food waste and keeping it clean. For more information, view April's CityScape segment on Food Waste Recycling
Before you begin recycling food waste, make sure you have a City-supplied yard waste container (different from the “little brown” bucket). This is the only way Solid Waste Management will collect your food waste. You’re allowed up to two yard waste containers at no additional charge. To order a yard waste container, call (253) 591-5543 (M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.) or email email@example.com
If you already have a yard waste container, you're good to go. You do not need a second container for food waste. Both yard and food waste go in the same container.
How to recycle food waste
3. Set out
|Collect food waste in your “little brown” bucket.
||Empty contents of your bucket into your “big brown” yard waste container.
||Set out your “big brown” container at the curb/alley on your regular yard waste collection day. (Do not set out your little bucket.) |
Accepted / not accepted items for food waste recycling
Breads, grains, pasta, cereal Fruit and vegetables
• Plastic, glass, metal
• Liquids, grease, oil
• Cardboard, pizza boxes
• Plastic or compostable bags
• Paper (OK to use newspaper or paper bags to line bucket)
Meat, poultry, seafood Dairy and eggs
(including bones) (including shells)
(including coffee grounds/filters)
How to minimize pests and odors
Little brown bucket
• Line bucket with newspaper or paper bag.
• Empty frequently.
• Rinse after each use.
• Rinse with dish soap or a vinegar and dish soap solution.
• Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom.
• Dishwasher safe.
Big brown container
• Cover food scraps with yard waste.
• Wrap food in newspaper when there’s no yard waste in the container.
• Keep the lid completely closed.
• Regularly rinse out container on your lawn.
Food waste recycling Q & A
Q. Why is the City starting a food waste recycling program?
A. Food waste makes up one-third of the garbage generated from Tacoma’s single-family households. Solid Waste Management continuously looks for ways to recycle material that would otherwise go into the landfill. This program demonstrates how the City is working to achieve its goal of becoming economically and environmentally sustainable.
Q. When can I begin recycling my food waste?
A. You can begin in April as soon as you receive your little brown bucket.
Q. Is food waste recycling mandatory?
A. No, participating in the food waste recycling program is voluntary. Solid Waste Management encourages you participate at a level that makes sense to you. For example, you might prefer to start with fruit and vegetable scraps. Later, after seeing how easy food waste recycling is, you may be ready to add other types of food such as grains, dairy and meat. It’s also up to you if you recycle food only when you have yard waste.
Q. Why should I recycle my food waste?
• It’s easy: 1) Collect food scraps, 2) Empty scraps into yard waste container, 3) Set out container for collection.
• Reduces garbage: By recycling everything that can be recycled in your blue container and adding food waste in your brown container, you MAY be able to switch to a smaller garbage can size and save money on your garbage bill.
• No additional charge: Yard/food waste is included with your residential garbage service.
• Creates compost, a nutrient-rich soil amendment that improves soil health and function.
Q. What is accepted/not accepted for food waste recycling?
A. A list of accepted/not accepted items.
Q. Can I request a second little brown bucket?
A. Yes. Requests will be considered on a limited basis for homes with large families or more than one kitchen. First come, first served.
Q. Do I need a separate yard waste container for my food waste?
A. No. Both food and yard waste go in your big brown container.
Q. Can I order an additional yard waste container?
A. Yes. You’re allowed up to two City-supplied yard waste containers at no additional charge. Additional containers are available for $3 each per month.
Most households will not need an extra yard waste container to accommodate food waste. The typical household may put out one or two gallons of food waste per pickup.
Q. Is my yard waste collection day changing?
A. No. Continue setting out your yard waste container on your regular yard waste collection day. View a personalized collection schedule specific to your home at www.cityoftacoma.org/collectioncalendar.
Q. Do I set out the little bucket on collection day?
A. No. Empty the contents of your little bucket into your big yard waste container. Buckets left at the curb will not be collected. Our automated trucks are designed to handle the big brown container.
Q. What happens to the yard/food waste after it’s collected?
A. It’s hauled to the Compost Factory in Puyallup, where it’s recycled into compost, a nutrient-rich soil amendment for use in yards and gardens.
Q. Will there be odors or pests?
A. During the warmer weather, there may be potential for odors and pests. You may choose the types of food waste you recycle and at what time of the year.
Q. How can I minimize odors and pests?
A. Follow these tips to minimize odors and pests.
Kitchen bucket sticker (PDF)
Kitchen bucket insert (PDF)
April CityScape segmentHow to get startedHow to keep your bucket pest- and odor-free