How to Dispose of Cannabis Packaging in Tacoma, and Trash and Recycling in General

We’re all responsible for disposing of the waste we create. But sometimes we don’t know the proper way to dispose of trash and recycling. More so, it can be tricky to figure out how to dispose of cannabis packaging in Tacoma.

In the first blog of our sustainability series, we explained what happens to disposed trash and recycling in Tacoma. We also talked about i502 restrictions that make proper disposal of cannabis packaging more difficult.

In this blog — the second in the series — we will cover the basics of what every Tacoma resident should know about the proper way to dispose of trash and recycling. Plus, we will go over how to dispose of cannabis packaging. 


How to Dispose of Trash

hand holding plastic bag over trashcan

Garbage collection is the only service Tacoma residents and businesses are required to sign up for. 

Like with any other city service, there is a fee. However, the amount you pay for curbside trash collection depends on how much trash you produce. So if you have less trash to throw away, you pay less for collection!

The goal is to encourage Tacoma residents and businesses to also use other services like recycling and food/yard waste to keep from overfilling the landfill. 

In addition to regular curbside pick-up, residents can use Call-2-Haul up to twice a year at no extra charge for specialty garbage pick-up (like old furniture).

Check out this list to see what’s acceptable and non-acceptable in curbside trash collection. 


Hazardous Waste

It’s important to remember to keep hazardous waste separate from regular trash since it must be self-hauled directly to the Tacoma Recovery and Transfer Center. 

As long as you have proof of Tacoma residency, bringing your hazardous waste to the center is completely free. Putting these items with curbside trash can be dangerous for trash collectors/workers!


What To Do with Food/Yard Waste

small pile of food waste

In Tacoma, about a third of our trash is food waste. That’s a lot of wasted opportunities for sourcing energy!

Instead of adding to and creating greenhouse gasses in the landfill, Tacoma residents and businesses can participate in the curbside food/yard waste program at no extra charge. Plus, you can get up to two bins!

All food/yard waste in Tacoma is composted at a local facility. Some of that is used to make TAGRO (an organic fertilizer). Some is processed through the wastewater system and turned into renewable natural gas, which is used for heating.

As a bonus, participating in the food/yard waste program can actually reduce your overall curbside garbage fees by lessening the amount of trash you produce.


The Proper Way to Recycle

recycling symbol and garbage on wooden table background

Setting up curbside recycling is as easy as calling Solid Waste Management. Once you call, they help you figure out what size and how many bins you need. After that, you can start recycling.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to recycling is that quality is better than quantity. All recycling should be clean, empty, and dry before disposal.

For a full list of acceptable and non-acceptable recycling, check out these guidelines.



Too often, well-meaning people succumb to “wish-cycling.” This happens when you think an item might be or should be recyclable when it isn’t (e.g.: plastic wrap, dirty/unemptied recyclables, etc.) and put it in the recycling.

Wish-cycling contaminates other recycling and causes sorting problems. Plus, since most of our recyclables are sold overseas, it makes our recycling unmarketable. 

Recent stricter policies make it all the more important to make sure we are recycling properly. By properly recycling, we also save the city added costs to keep the recycling program going.

If you’re in doubt if you can/how to properly recycle an item, don’t hesitate to look it up! The solid waste site page has a handy tool called Ask Milo where you can type in any item for inquiry, from hazardous waste to recyclables and everything in between (just scroll down the page slightly to find the search bar).

Make sure to also check out the link to recycling guidelines provided above.


How Can We Dispose of Cannabis Packaging in Tacoma?

packaged cannabis from Dama

While it’s easy to figure out the proper way to dispose of trash and recycling generally, knowing how to dispose of cannabis packaging in Tacoma is trickier. 

The easiest to recycle are glass jars. Make sure to trash the lids, though, because those aren’t recyclable. 

Most, if not all, of the plastic bags used for cannabis packaging are non-recyclable and need to be trashed. Unfortunately, many of us frequently wish-cycle these bags.

Luckily, the Tacoma Recovery and Transfer Center accepts #6 plastic tubes, so feel free to recycle your joint tubes! Make sure to check for the number before you toss it.

As the i502 industry evolves and expands, figuring out how to dispose of cannabis packaging in Tacoma will only become more important. By doing our part and taking initiative, we can further strengthen the recycling efforts of our city and reduce improper disposal of cannabis packaging. 


Stay tuned for the last blog post in our sustainability series next month where we will go over ways to reduce your waste! And for more information about where our waste goes in Tacoma, check out these videos provided by Solid Waste Management.

In the meantime, make sure not to miss out on any shop deals and stop by our 6th Ave Clean Up this Saturday, September 28th, at 2pm (there will be perks!) hosted by Mary Mart and Trash Talk.

If you can’t make it to the clean up, you can always help out at the Downtown Tacoma Clean Up (hosted again by Trash Talk and sponsored by Mary Mart) from ETC to Seven Seas Brewery from 3-5pm on Green Tacoma Day, October 12th.

1 Comment

  • I want to help lessen the carbon footprint for the marijuana industry. Please take a look at my website and let's see if we can set up a time to talk more in depth.

Leave a comment