City introduces street-side recycling in business districts

Tacoma’s image as a progressive and livable city goes beyond its Wired City moniker, its developing cultural corridor and its soon-to-open light rail line.
The city also has stepped up as an environmental leader by offering a new, convenient way for pedestrians in neighborhood business districts to recycle their plastic bottles and aluminum cans.

Tacoma is the first city in the state to offer street-side recycling containers for citizens and visitors in its neighborhood business districts.

Part of a yearlong pilot program, 12 brightly marked recycling containers encourage pedestrians to recycle their plastic bottles and aluminum cans in five of Tacoma’s 12 business districts – Fern Hill, McKinley, Old Town, Proctor and Stadium.

The new containers are strategically located next to garbage cans and placed close to street corners and bus stops to offer convenience and accessibility.

If the pilot program proves successful after assessing operational costs, contamination in the recycling containers and related issues, the city may seek ways to expand it to other parts of Tacoma, including more business districts and downtown.

“This program provides a way for people to continue recycling habits they’re probably used to at home,” said City Recycling Bill Smith, the city’s recycling supervisor “Extending the accessibility for people to recycle common items will not only reduce the city’s garbage disposal costs, but it also helps keep Tacoma cleaner by reducing air and water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.”

The pilot recycling program, a joint effort between the Tacoma Economic Development Department and the city’s Public Works Department (Solid Waste Management), aims to reduce garbage volume by 20 percent and fulfill the Tacoma Economic Development Department’s goal of enhancing neighborhood livability.

“This is a perfect example of how every step forward counts,” said Juli Wilkerson, Tacoma Economic Development Department director. “Every project like this helps make Tacoma an even better place to live and visit.”