City Briefs


Residential curbside recycling changes underway

Changes to the City of Tacoma’s residential curbside recycling program, known as Recycle Reset, took effect on Wednesday, Jan. 1. These changes include maintaining residential curbside commingled recycling service, with minor adjustments to the accepted curbside recycling list. Changes also include a new recycling surcharge of $2.82 per month for all residential solid waste customers.

“In 2018, China greatly reduced its recycling imports,” said Lewis Griffith, Solid Waste Management division manager. “The Recycle Reset will help to improve the quality of the materials we collect for recycling as well as cover the increased costs of recycling due to this shift in the global recycling industry.” 

These changes will be identified on customers’ bills as “Recycle Reset Surcharge.” Customers who participate in the Tacoma Public Utilities and Environmental Services bill payment assistance programs will be waived from this surcharge.

In addition, Solid Waste Management is planning to replace curbside glass collection with five glass drop-off stations throughout the city. Curbside glass collection will continue until these locations are finalized in early 2020.  

For more information on these changes, visit or contact Solid Waste Management at (253) 502-2100.

What’s next for micromobility in Tacoma?

The City is currently working on a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a more permanent micromobility program that will be released in spring 2020. The RFP process will allow the City to use lessons learned from the pilot to structure the program moving forward and provide an open opportunity for new vendors to submit proposals. The vendor or vendors selected through the RFP progress will be expected to launch their program(s) on June 1.

In fall 2018, the City granted right-of-way use permits to two companies, Bird and Lime. These permits were granted with the goal of evaluating use and impacts of a new transportation option for people traveling around Tacoma.  

Lime began by deploying 250 scooters and 100 bikes in Tacoma on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018 for a 60-day initial permit. Lime was granted an extension through Jan. 20, 2019 and allowed to operate up to 500 scooters and 250 bikes in Tacoma. Lime elected to remove electric bikes from their Tacoma fleet in early February 2019. Lime was granted two additional permit extensions for 500 scooters, first through Sept. 30, 2019 and the current permit through May 31, 2020. 

Bird began by deploying 250 scooters in Tacoma on Oct. 12, 2018 for an initial 60-day permit. Bird was granted an extension through Feb. 11, 2019 and allowed to operate up to 500 scooters in Tacoma. Bird did not pursue a permit extension. Currently, Lime is the only scooter share vendor operating in Tacoma.

General comments for the City of Tacoma about micromobility can be directed to or 311.

City expands electric vehicle readiness requirements

On Dec. 10, Tacoma City Council voted to pass Ordinance 28640 expanding and aligning the City’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure and readiness with the State of Washington’s adopted changes to state building codes.

The ordinance consolidated and incorporated new provisions into the City’s building code. Prior to this change requirements had been in both the land use and building code chapters causing unnecessary confusion for builders, construction delays and lack of adoption of the technology. 

“This change helps streamline the City’s requirements, while aligning them with the State’s updates that are expected to go into effect in 2022,” said Council Member Ryan Mello. “It is important that as a City we are planning for the changing transportation landscape and recognizing the environmental and equity benefits of electric vehicles – saving users money, improving our air quality and reducing our impact on climate pollution from combustion engine cars.” 

The adopted code will require new multifamily buildings with 10 or more parking spaces or those that add 10 or more parking spaces to install the infrastructure for electric vehicle charging in a minimum of 20 percent of the parking stalls. 

“Electric vehicles are cleaner and fueling them costs less than 25 percent of the cost compared to fueling combustion vehicles,” said Kristin Lynett, Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability. “We want to make sure that our multifamily residences are ready for tenants who want to invest in an electric vehicle, because the data shows that they are predicted to be 14 percent of the U.S. market by 2025 and the vast majority of drivers prefer to charge their vehicles at home and work.” 

The City projects that post-construction installation of electrical infrastructure can cost up to five times more than during construction. 

“This is about making access to charging infrastructure convenient for everyone in Tacoma,” Mello added. 

More information about the City’s permitting process is available at

Sustainable Tacoma Commission applications due Jan. 12

Tacoma City Council is currently seeking applications to fill three positions on the Sustainable Tacoma Commission, one being a youth position. 
The purpose of the Commission is to bring resident participation and accountability to the implementation of Tacoma’s Environmental Action Plan, and to communicate and encourage public involvement in sustainability issues. 

The Tacoma City Council is looking for Commission members who provide a balanced representation of various stakeholders, including the environmental, business, labor, housing, industrial, port, transportation, education, building, and residential communities. The time commitment required for active participation as a Commissioner is generally between four to eight hours per month. 

The Commission currently holds its public meetings on the fourth Thursday of every month at 4:30 p.m. in the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St., 2nd floor, Room 243. 

More information on the Sustainable Tacoma Commission is available at or through Commission Staff Liaison Patrick Babbitt at or (253) 591-5173.   

Applications must be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office by Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. Application information is available at or through Michelle Emery in the City Clerk’s Office at or (253) 591-5178.

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