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Food/Yard Waste

The City of Tacoma’s Solid Waste Management is experiencing COVID-19 impacts, which may result in collection schedule changes for both residential and commercial customers. For the latest service updates visit cityoftacoma.org/solidwaste.

 

Food Yard Waste BinFood and Yard Waste 

The City of Tacoma offers curbside food and yard waste collection service to single family, multifamily, and commercial customers. Collected materials are repurposed into organic material which can be returned to enrich the soil to grow more plants for food and natural beauty. Tacoma is committed to sustainably managing our waste streams by encouraging waste prevention and providing services that recover and recycle valuable materials so that less waste is sent to the landfill.

 

To get started or learn more about food and yard waste collection, contact a Solid Waste Representative at (253) 502-2100 or solidwaste@cityoftacoma.org

  

Food and Yard Waste Guides

Not all cities accept the same items as food and yard waste. Learn what Tacoma accepts with the following food and yard waste flyers available to view, print, or download: 

  

Food Yard Waste Flyer PreviewEnglish (8.5"x11")  -  English (11"x17")

Spanish (8.5"x11")  -  Spanish (11"x17")

Korean (8.5"x11")  -  Korean (11"x17")

Vietnamese (8.5"x11")  -  Vietnamese (11"x17")

Khmer (8.5"x11")  -  Khmer (11"x17")

Russian (8.5"x11")  -  Russian (11"x17")

 

 

 

Bags, cups, utensils, and other service ware labeled as "compostable" are not accepted in food and yard waste bins. These items require a special industrial composting process, and should not be mixed with organic food and yard waste. Other non-organic items like glass, metal, plastic, and Styrofoam should also be kept out of food and yard waste bins. Learn more about why compostable bags are not accepted.

 


I live in a single-family home or duplex

Not all cities accept the same items as food and yard waste. Learn what Tacoma accepts with the following food and yard waste flyers available to view, print, or download: 

  

Food Yard Waste Flyer PreviewEnglish (8.5"x11")  -  English (11"x17")

Spanish (8.5"x11")  -  Spanish (11"x17")

Korean (8.5"x11")  -  Korean (11"x17")

Vietnamese (8.5"x11")  -  Vietnamese (11"x17")

Khmer (8.5"x11")  -  Khmer (11"x17")

Russian (8.5"x11")  -  Russian (11"x17")

 

New Service Setup
Contact a Solid Waste representative at (253) 502-2100 or solidwaste@cityoftacoma.org to set up your curbside residential food and yard waste service.

Food and Yard Waste Rates
Tacoma provides food and yard waste service at no extra cost as part of your monthly garbage bill. Customers can request up to two 90-gallon brown food and yard waste bins at no extra cost. A third food and yard waste bin can be requested for an additional $3 a month. To learn more visit cityoftacoma.org/swmrates.

Collection Schedule
Residential food and yard waste bins are collected every other week, on the opposite weeks as garbage and recycling. Visit cityoftacoma.org/collectionschedule to find your curbside collection schedule.

Setout Guidelines
  • Set out your bin by 7 AM on your scheduled collection day
  • Place your bin wheels toward the curb
  • Set your bin 4 feet away from any obstructions, such as other bins, vehicles, telephone poles, fences and buildings
  • Remove your bin from the curb once the contents are collected.

DO NOT:

  • Overfill your bin or exceed 250 pounds
  • Place items on the ground outside of your bin or on top of your bin

Missed Collection 

Call a Solid Waste Representative at (253) 502-2100 if your food and yard waste bin is not collected.

Worried about odors and pests? Here are some tips.

I live in a multifamily home (triplex or larger)

Not all cities accept the same items as food and yard waste. View, print or download a food/yard waste flyer to discover what Tacoma composts. 


Food Yard Waste Flyer Preview

English (8.5"x11")  -  English (11"x17")

 

Spanish (8.5"x11")  -  Spanish (11"x17")

Korean (8.5"x11")  -  Korean (11"x17")

Vietnamese (8.5"x11")  -  Vietnamese (11"x17")

Khmer (8.5"x11")  -  Khmer (11"x17")

Russian (8.5"x11")  -  Russian (11"x17")

 

My Multifamily Residence Does Not Have Food and Yard Waste Service 

Talk to you property manage or HOA board on why food and yard waste service would be helpful or important to you and your fellow residents. Your property manager or HOA board can then set up a food waste collection program by contacting a Solid Waste Representative at (253) 502-2100 or solidwaste@cityoftacoma.org.


My Multifamily Residence Needs Help With Our Food and Yard Waste Service
We’re here to help! Your property manager or HOA board can contact our Commercial Food and Yard Waste Specialist at (253) 502-2100 for technical support including:

  • Evaluation of current service
  • Free food and yard waste guides for staff and residents
  • Informational presentations to staff and residents

 

I manage a multifamily home (triplex or larger)

The City of Tacoma offers multifamily properties both Commercial Food Waste (weekly collection) and Commercial Yard Waste (every-other-week collection ) at various rates. Visit cityoftacoma.org/swmrates for options and more information.

 

New customers can set up a food and yard waste collection program by contacting a Solid Waste representative at (253) 502-2100 or solidwaste@cityoftacoma.org

 

Not all cities accept the same items as food and yard waste. View, print or download a food/yard waste flyer to discover what Tacoma composts. 


Food Yard Waste Flyer Preview

English (8.5"x11")  -  English (11"x17")

 

Spanish (8.5"x11")  -  Spanish (11"x17")

Korean (8.5"x11")  -  Korean (11"x17")

Vietnamese (8.5"x11")  -  Vietnamese (11"x17")

Khmer (8.5"x11")  -  Khmer (11"x17")

Russian (8.5"x11")  -  Russian (11"x17")

  

Collection Schedule

Multifamily collection schedules vary by location and service. Contact a Solid Waste Representative at (253) 502-2100 to learn about your collection day.  


Setout Guidelines

  • Set out your bin by 7 AM on your scheduled collection day
  • Place your bin wheels toward the curb
  • Set your bin 4 feet away from any obstructions, such as other bins, vehicles, telephone poles, fences and buildings
  • Remove your bin from the curb once the contents are collected.

DO NOT:

  • Overfill your bin or exceed 250 pounds
  • Place items on the ground outside of your bin or on top of your bin

Missed Collection 

Call a Solid Waste Representative at (253) 502-2100 if your food and yard waste bin is not collected.

Worried about odors and pests? Here are some tips.


 

I manage a commercial property (business)

The City of Tacoma offers commercial properties both Commercial Food Waste (weekly collection) and Commercial Yard Waste (every-other-week collection) at rates less than comparable garbage service. Tacoma grocers, restaurants, and coffee shops are a few types of business utilizing this service.

 

New customers can set up a food and yard waste collection program by contacting a Solid Waste representative at (253) 502-2100 or solidwaste@cityoftacoma.orgVisit cityoftacoma.org/swmrates for rates and more information.

 

Not all cities accept the same items as food and yard waste. View, print or download a food/yard waste flyer to discover what Tacoma composts. 


Food Yard Waste Flyer Preview

English (8.5"x11")  -  English (11"x17")

 

Spanish (8.5"x11")  -  Spanish (11"x17")

Korean (8.5"x11")  -  Korean (11"x17")

Vietnamese (8.5"x11")  -  Vietnamese (11"x17")

Khmer (8.5"x11")  -  Khmer (11"x17")

Russian (8.5"x11")  -  Russian (11"x17")

  

Collection Schedule

Commercial collection schedules vary by location and service. Contact a Solid Waste Representative at (253) 502-2100 to learn about your collection day.  

 

 

Setout Guidelines

 

  • Set out your bin by 7 AM on your scheduled collection day
  • Place your bin wheels toward the curb
  • Set your bin 4 feet away from any obstructions, such as other bins, vehicles, telephone poles, fences and buildings
  • Remove your bin from the curb once the contents are collected.

DO NOT:

  • Overfill your bin or exceed 250 pounds
  • Place items on the ground outside of your bin or on top of your bin

Missed Collection 

Call a Solid Waste Representative at (253) 502-2100 if your food and yard waste bin is not collected.

Worried about odors and pests? Here are some tips.

 

 

Why use the food and yard waste bin?

 

Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Food and yard waste make up about one third of Tacoma’s garbage. Organic material (like food and yard waste) that gets buried in a landfill generates methane, a greenhouse gas up to 36 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States. Keeping food and yard waste out of the garbage, and ultimately out of landfills, reduces green gas emissions.

Fight Climate Change by Sequestering Carbon: Composting is an alternative to sending food and yard waste to the landfill. Materials placed in the food and yard waste bin are collected and turned into organic material (compost). Compost returns nutrients back to the soil helping plants grow, and growing plants can help pull carbon out of the atmosphere and captures carbon back into the ground. Using the food and yard waste bin is an easy way to help sequester carbon. Learn more about compost.

Save Money on your Monthly Bill: Reducing the amount of food and yard waste you throw away may mean that you can downsize your garbage container and save you money. Whether you are a Tacoma resident or business, you can help reduce the amount of trash going to the landfill by using the City’s food and yard waste service. 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I put into my yard and food waste container?
Fill your container with organic materials from your yard, garden and kitchen. The list includes: grass clippings, leaves, branches and trimmings, food waste from your kitchen such as fruit and vegetable peels, leftovers, stale bakery goods, meat scraps, seafood and dairy. Coffee grounds and filters are also accepted. Click here for a full guide on what's accepted.

What items are not allowed in my yard and food waste container?
Plastic bags, bags and other service ware labeled "compostable", used pizza boxes, paper coffee cups, and other non-organic materials are not accepted. These items go in the garbage. Click here for a full guide on what's accepted.

 

Can newspaper or paper bags go in the food and yard waste container as a liner? 
A paper bag or a small amount of newspaper used to line the kitchen container or wrap food waste is acceptable. Both newspaper and brown paper sacks break down quickly at the compost facility. 

 

Why aren’t "compostable bags" or other service ware labeled as "compostable" allowed?
Bags and other items labeled as "compostable" require a unique, industrial composting process to break down. The facility where Tacoma sends our food and yard waste cannot break down these items, and they are considered contamination in the food and yard waste loads.

Why aren’t paper coffee cups accepted?
Disposable paper coffee cups usually have a thin plastic lining to keep the cup from leaking. This plastic cannot be composted or recycled. A small number of cities in the United States have the ability to compost or recycle paper coffee cups, but in Tacoma, paper coffee cups belong in the garbage. 

Should pet waste go into the yard and food waste container?

No. Because of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms, pet waste should never be mixed into food and yard waste. Pet waste should be always be bagged and placed in the garbage.

What happens to yard and food waste that we set out for collection?
Tacoma's food and yard waste materials are processed at a facility called the Compost Factory in Puyallup, WA where they are processed into compost.

What if I need another food and yard waste container?
There is no extra charge to receive bi-weekly collection of up to two 90-gallon brown food and yard waste containers. A third food and yard waste container is available for $3/month. Call City of Tacoma Solid Waste Management (253) 502-2100 for more information.