Tacoma's food waste program begins this month

The City of Tacoma’s solid waste management crews will begin delivering “little brown” kitchen buckets to doorsteps of 54,000 single-family homes in Tacoma this month as part of a program to recycle food waste.

According to Solid Waste Management’s 2009 waste audit, food waste makes up one-third (approximately 14,000 tons) of the garbage generated from Tacoma’s single-family households annually.

According to the City’s Web site, residents need to make sure they have a City-supplied yard waste container (different from the “little brown” bucket) before they begin recycling food waste. This is the only way Solid Waste Management will collect your food waste. Residents are allowed up to two yard waste containers at no additional charge.

“Our new food waste recycling service offers customers the ability to reduce their garbage and allows us to recycle material that would otherwise go into the landfill,” said Jetta Antonakos, food waste recycling program manager.

To order a yard waste container, call (253) 591-5543 or email solidwaste@cityoftacoma.org . 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. To recycle food waste, collect food waste in your “little brown” bucket; empty contents of your bucket into your “big brown” yard waste container; and set out your “big brown” container at the curb or alley on your regular yard waste collection day.

Acceptable food waste includes fruit and vegetables; leftovers/kitchen scraps; breads, grains, pasta, cereal; meat, poultry, seafood (including bones); dairy and eggs (including shells).

For more information, visit the program’s Web site at http://www.tacomarecylces.org .