Innovative recycling idea earns City employee environmental honor

The Washington State Recycling Association has awarded ‘Individual Recycler of the Year’ honors to City of Tacoma employee Mark Tveit.

Tveit identified the need to divert Styrofoam packing blocks from the garbage and landfill by recycling them instead. The nine-year City employee researched an in-house recycling machine that chops, heats and presses Styrofoam into 40-pound blocks, which can then be recycled into products such as plastic television and computer casings. His efforts to increase recycling opportunities at Tacoma’s Tacoma Landfill Recovery & Transfer Center — such as the recent addition of Styrofoam, electronic peripherals and high-value metals — has added approximately $8,000 in revenue and diverted nearly 50 tons of material from the landfill, according to City of Tacoma officials.

Washington State Recycling Association Board President Scott Campbell will present the award to Tveit at the July 17 Tacoma City Council meeting.