2016 Supplement to the Solid Waste Management Plan


Measurement Goal
Actions, programs and services are measured and evaluated for effectiveness and efficiency.
This goal builds upon the success of our regular Waste Trends Analysis, directing us to measure more, document better and improve based on what we learn.
Measurement Objectives
M-1 Significant materials management practices are evaluated for sustainability.
M-2 Pierce County and the City of Tacoma have established waste diversion targets based on recycling stream and other relevant data.
M-3 Pierce County and the City of Tacoma have established waste reduction targets based on waste trends analysis and other relevant data.

Waste Trends Analysis
Pierce County is taking a do-it-yourself approach to categorizing what is in our waste stream. Annual waste sorts give us current information about the materials in our waste stream; and sorting the trash ourselves gives us a better understanding of what that actually looks like. The data collected gives us a basis for measurement for our programs and for the objectives in the Solid Waste Plan. 

Are Our Programs Sustainable?
We can measure the quantity of materials with our Waste Trends Analysis, but how do we measure the quality of our programs?
With formal sustainability criteria, we will be able to assess and improve all significant materials management practices. This will lead to developing new practices and enhancing current practices that improve the overall efficiency of our materials management system.
Example: Glass
We removed glass from our curbside recycling program in 2007 when we switched to single-cart collection.
Glass is a contaminant in the recycling cart because it breaks; and there isn't much market demand for for it. A program to collect glass separately at the curb would be very expensive for our ratepayers and the benefit doesn't justify the cost.
We don't believe it is responsible to design and implement programs just because it "feels good" to do something. Our system should reflect the values of our community, not jump on a bandwagon.
Glass collected separately from other recyclables has a much better chance of being recycled. There are currently more than 30 drop-off sites for glass around Pierce County.
What do we mean by sustainable?
We consider all factors that might affect our ability to maintain a service or program, such as economics, efficiency, equity, effectiveness and environment.