Tacoma garbage collection program earns industry award

City of Tacoma officials announced this week the City's Solid Waste Management residential collection system has earned the 2015 Gold...

City of Tacoma officials announced this week the City’s Solid Waste Management residential collection system has earned the 2015 Gold Excellence Award from the Solid Waste Association of North America for excellence in overall management and implementation of collection operations.

The City was recognized for its emphasis on customer services, environmental protection, operational efficiency, safety, and innovations in its residential collection program.

“As a utility, we are focused on providing our customers with robust, environmentally sustainable and fiscally responsible services that have longevity to last for generations to come,” said City of Tacoma Environmental Services director Mike Slevin. “Being recognized nationally for our residential collection program is a positive sign we are building a strong foundation for our city and our customers as recognized leaders in solid waste management.”

Tacoma’s residential collection program serves more than 54,000 residential customers by providing curbside garbage, recycling, food/yard waste collection and bulk hauling. Additionally, Solid Waste Management provides self-haul options for household hazardous waste, recycling, yard waste and garbage at the Tacoma Recovery and Transfer Center.

“We are proud of our residential collection programs, and it is a great honor to be recognized nationally for the work we do to provide our customers with the highest standards that provides excellent customer service, environmental health and is fiscally responsible,” added City of Tacoma Solid Waste Management assistance division manager Andrew Torres.

Recent innovative system improvements to the residential collection program include Solid Waste Management’s successful implementation of Every-Other-Week residential garbage, recycling and food/yard waste curbside collection, which saved more than $1 million annually and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 44 percent; the launch and adoption of the residential curbside food waste collection program, which 81 per cent of Tacoma customers have started using; and Solid Waste Management’s approach to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by purchasing alternative fuel and emerging technology vehicles to replace retired collection vehicles.

The Solid Waste Association of North America’s Excellence Awards Program recognizes outstanding solid waste programs and facilities that advance the practice of environmentally and economically sound solid waste management through their commitment to utilizing effective technologies and processes in system design and operations, advancing worker and community health and safety, and implementing successful public education and outreach programs. Programs also must demonstrate they are fiscally and environmentally responsible through their compliance with all applicable federal, state and local regulations.

The City’s 2015 winning entry can be found online here.

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