Funded Projects

The 2023 grant application period has closed. The next application period will tentatively begin January 2025.

SPU's Waste-Free Communities Matching Grant supports waste prevention projects that focus on a wide variety of topics and communities. View more about projects below, and check for action tips that show what you can do to make a difference in your community.

Grant Cycle 2023 - 2025

Reducing Waste from Disposable Food Service Products

Transition Denny International Middle School from single-use to reusable dishes by piloting an offsite washing process. The pilot will help Seattle Public Schools develop solutions for washing reusable dishes for schools that do not have onsite dishwashers and staff capacity.

ACTION TIP: Join the growing number of businesses in Seattle that are switching to reusable foodservice products.

Creating Equitable Circular Opportunities Through Uniform Garment Waste

Research and hold workshops to surface business model opportunities for textiles circularity with a focus on repurpose or repair of uniform textile waste. Build an online community to connect women- and BIPOC-owned textile businesses with businesses that have feedstocks of textile waste.

Resource Gathering and Distributed Networks for Communities of Practice

The new Community Gearbox application provides an easy way to share resources among friends, family, and groups of people who are part of the same network. The grant project will pilot the application with nonprofits, clubs, volunteer groups, and communities of practice in Seattle that are trying to share and gather resources. This will include piloting resource gathering campaigns to collect used items to share in the pilot communities.

ACTION TIP: Learn how to use the Community Gearbox application to share resources with your friends and family.

Furniture Rescue-Repair-Donation Project

Pilot new strategies for collecting damaged furniture for repair and refurbishing. Donate the repaired and refurbished furniture to recent immigrant and low-income families. Build long-term financial sustainability by developing a process for selling or renting furniture that is not needed for donations.

ACTION TIP: Donate furniture or volunteer at the Furniture Repair Bank.

R3made Organic Waste

As part of a larger community food waste prevention and biodigestion project in South Park, pilot training curriculum on food waste prevention with 30 residences and 5 businesses. Monitor reductions in food waste to evaluate the effectiveness of training before rolling out to the community.

ACTION TIP: Find resources to help you reduce food waste at home.

The Red Sea Green Society Project

Launch a multi-generational project to inform and engage the Eritrean community around the topic of waste prevention. Host workshops for youth and community center staff, table at cultural events, host community picnics to collect used items for donation to local charities, and transition from single-use to reusable grocery bags for the Eritrean Senior Food Pantry.

Waste-Free Food Access Program

Transition from single-use to reusable grocery bags for the Food Access Program at the Seattle World School. The Food Access Program helps students participate in after-school programs by reducing the need for them to work to provide food for their families.

Peer-to-Peer Outdoor Gear Rental Marketplace

GeerGarage is a web-based marketplace that facilitates peer-to-peer rental of outdoor gear by quickly identifying and matching renters with nearby lenders. The grant project will grow the marketplace in Seattle through marketing and website improvements. It will also provide free outdoor gear to low-income community members in Seattle to earn passive income by lending the gear through the marketplace.

ACTION TIP: Sign up to begin lending or renting your outdoor gear.

University District Reusable Cup Pilot

Expand reusable cup options available at coffee and bubble team cafes in the University District. OKAPI Reusables will promote the opportunity to cafes and their customers, provide participating cafes with reusable cups and lids, and provide customers with a mobile application so they can pick up their beverages in reusable cups and return them for reuse.

ACTION TIP: Join the growing number of businesses in Seattle that are switching to reusable foodservice products.

Grant Cycle 2021 - 2023

The Giving Room

Establish a free community store and host monthly Share and Repair Fairs. The Giving Room will be a dignified space for people to share reusable quality clothing and household items in a way that reduces consumerism, saves money, and strengthens their immediate connection to their community.

Food Recovery for Community Meals

Increase food donations and FareStart's capacity to accept and distribute rescued food. Implement process and infrastructure improvements, recruit new donors, and collaborate with others in the food supply and distribution space to develop innovative regional systems improvements.

For All COVID Recovery Support

With funding to support COVID recovery, continue operations to rescue food from local retailers to incorporate into healthy meals for the community. Distribute meals through the Free Burrito Project, Meals for Kids, Really Free Markets, and Community Box Delivery and Mobile Food Bank Program.

Innovation in Textile Waste Prevention

Expand RAI’s programming to employ and train more immigrant and refugee women to upcycle unwanted textile waste into quality products. Develop new upcycled product offerings. Establish more partnerships and distribution channels. Host mending labs and upcycling workshops for the community.

ACTION TIP: Find upcycled products made by Refugee Artisan Initiative artisans, including home goods, pet products, face masks, and more!

Circular Business Modeling Advisory Services

Conduct research to improve the user experience for the Washington Materials Marketplace platform, which connects businesses to reuse opportunities. Promote the Marketplace tool. Host workshops and provide tailored support for businesses interested in circular economy design tools and tactics.

ACTION TIP: Sign up for the Washington Materials Marketplace to help your business save money through reuse opportunities. It’s free and open to any company or organization in Washington to join.

Seattle ReCreative COVID Recovery Support

With funding to support COVID recovery, continue operating their creative reuse and art center. Rebuild and train their volunteer database. Process donated materials to sell at a low cost in their reusable arts and craft store, use in their creative reuse arts programming, and share with their community partners.

ACTION TIP: Have fun creating your arts and crafts from reused materials!

NE Seattle Tool Library COVID Recovery Support

With funding to support COVID recovery, continue operating the tool library. The NE Seattle Tool Library seeks to create a space where tools and knowledge are accessible to Seattle residents regardless of income, while reducing our consumption of tools though sharing, repair, and reuse.

ACTION TIP: Find tool libraries and repair opportunities in your community!

The Bikery COVID Recovery Support

With funding to support COVID recovery, continue operating their store and programming. The Bikery accepts donations of used bikes and bike parts and accessories, refurbishes bikes to sell at a low cost in their store or donate, and provides tools and knowledge to help community members fix their bikes.

ACTION TIP: Repair or buy a refurbished bike instead of buying a new bike.

Wasat’s Prophetic Waste Prevention Project

Incorporate rescued food into Wasat’s Neighborly Needs program that distributes free and culturally nourishing meals to communities across South Seattle. Partner with BIPOC caterers to cook the meals. Hold teach-ins to educate the South Seattle Muslim community about food justice and waste prevention within the Muslim culture and traditions.

Local Repair Economy Map

Create an online map to help community members find convenient local repair options. The map is part of a statewide effort to highlight the importance of and increase access to repair by supporting the entire ecosystem of repair from repair businesses to free community repair events.

ACTION TIP: Find repair opportunities in your community!

Grant Cycle 2020 - 2021

Zero Waste Small Business Program

Provide free consultation to 15-30 small businesses in Southeast Seattle to help them identify ways to save money and help the environment through implementing waste prevention practices. Through a series of workshops and consultation sessions, work with the businesses to develop zero-waste action plans that are customized and authentic to each individual business.

ACTION TIP: Sign up for a zero waste virtual workshop.

Hidden G.E.M.S. (Green Effectiveness & Mindful Shopping)

Help 20 Muslim immigrant and refugee teens gain work experience by teaching them to collect and repair used and damaged clothing and household goods to re-sell at a new youth-led store. Create intergenerational relationships by engaging seniors to train youth. Use culturally relevant messaging to educate immigrant and refugee community members on the importance of waste prevention.

Eco Collective Bulk Bar

Expand Eco Collective’s Bulk Bar, which allows customers to bring their own reusable containers to fill with natural, non-toxic personal care and cleaning products. Increase partnerships with small local businesses to provide products for the bulk bar. Upgrade the point-of-sale system to offer a rewards program for using the bulk bar and track waste prevention outcomes from bulk bar purchases.

ACTION TIP: Start shopping package-free today!

Replacing Single-Use Produce Bags at Farmers Markets

Transition 7 farmers markets in Seattle to using reusable produce bags, eliminating approximately 420,000 single-use bags a year. Encourage vendors to sell reusable produce bags instead of offering free disposable bags. Distribute free and low-cost reusable produce bags to customers. Reward customers with Farm Bucks when they use reusable produce bags.

ACTION TIP: Bring your own reusable produce bags on your next farmer’s market trip.

Grocery Rescue and Gleaning

Hire a new staff person to increase capacity to rescue and distribute an additional 60,000 pounds of food annually. Improve equitable food distribution processes. Increase and strengthen volunteer and food donor relationships. Create a new volunteer education curriculum that emphasizes food waste prevention strategies. 

ACTION TIP: Volunteer or begin donating food today!

Less Waste, Fewer Displaced

Implement a home repair/rehab demonstration project using primarily reclaimed and reused building materials. Use the lessons learned to incorporate salvage and reuse best practices into future home repair projects. The national Rebuilding Together network repairs 10,000 homes and buildings annually for low-income homeowners and nonprofit facilities to reduce displacement by addressing substandard, unsafe, and unhealthy housing conditions.

ACTION TIP: Volunteer to help with upcoming home repair projects.

Comprehensive Textile Waste Prevention Program

Continue expanding efforts to provide immigrant and refugee women with sustainable home-based employment. Collect 3,000 pounds of unwanted fabric waste to upcycle into new products. In response to COVID-19 needs, employ 8 artisans to make high-quality reusable masks out of the fabric waste. Sell the reusable masks online and through other distribution channels.

ACTION TIP: Purchase reusable masks and mask-making kits made from fabric waste.

Building the Network: Water Refill Stations

Expand free water refill locations throughout Seattle to reduce single-use plastic water bottles. Recruit a minimum of 15 organizations, businesses, and agencies to install new or retrofitted water refill units that can be made accessible to the public. Provide mini-grants to assist with the cost of purchasing water refill units. Promote the new water refill locations on the Tap app. 

ACTION TIP: Download the Tap app today to help fight plastic pollution!

Grant Cycle 2019 - 2020

Ditch the Diapers Zero Waste Initiative
Help families reduce diaper waste and save money by learning Elimination Communication and early potty-training techniques. Test engagement strategies such as classes, social media, and working with daycares, pediatricians, or other caregivers. Watch a video about Diaper Stork’s project.

Expanding Apartment Rescue Programs in Seattle
Recruit new multifamily properties to collect nonperishable food from tenants when they move out. Coordinate with moving and transportation companies to deliver the food to local food banks and meal programs. Watch a video about Move For Hunger's project.

ACTION TIP: Ask your property manager to sign up to collect food from tenants!

Waste Prevention Project, Textile Upcycling 
Expand efforts to provide immigrant and refugee women with sustainable home-based employment. Provide free training and equipment to help participants upcycle fabric and garment waste into quality jewelry, home goods, and accessories. Recruit local retailers to sell the products. Watch a video about Refugee Artisan Initiative's project.

ACTION TIP: Find a store near you that sells products made by Refugee Artisan Initiative artists. 

Waste Reducing Program
Implement a variety of waste prevention actions at the new Seattle Urban Academy location to reduce waste at the school and model environmental stewardship for students. Further educate students about the importance of prevention through classroom and peer-to-peer education.

1 for 1 
Deconstruct a single-family home by hand and use the reclaimed lumber to build a new home. Develop a case study on the project that demonstrates this approach as a sustainable business practice for developers and contractors. Read the case study and watch a video produced on behalf of Sledge Seattle and a video produced for SPU's grant program.

ACTION TIP: Learn more about salvage and deconstruction.

Mapping Waste Free Communities – Rainier Beach 
Hire and train students to engage the Rainier Beach community in creating a digital map-based story of collective food waste prevention and food justice actions in the neighborhood. Develop and implement a waste prevention campaign that addresses neighborhood-specific priorities identified through the mapping project.

ACTION TIP: Start taking action today to waste less food!

Zero Waste Small Business Program

Provide free consultation to 15-30 small businesses in Southeast Seattle to help them identify ways to save money and help the environment through implementing waste prevention practices. Through a series of workshops and consultation sessions, work with the businesses to develop zero-waste action plans that are customized and authentic to each individual business.

ACTION TIP: Sign up for a zero waste virtual workshop.

Grant Cycle 2018 - 2019

Plaza Roberto Maestas Waste Reduction Initiative
Start a new “Buy Nothing” Facebook group for residents of Plaza Roberto Maestas to gift items to each other instead of sending them to the landfill. Offer quarterly workshops for residents on waste prevention topics.

ACTION TIP: Start sharing with your neighbors by joining a Buy Nothing group today!

Community Harvest Programs
Increase fruit collected from Seattle’s fruit trees to donate to local food banks and meal programs. Test a new fruit collection program (U-Pick Harvest Box) to help fruit tree owners pick and donate their own fruit. Expand a neighborhood-based fruit tree harvest project.

ACTION TIP: Get involved with City Fruit today! Become a volunteer or sign up for the U-Pick Harvest Box program.

Commercial Reusable Food Container Program
As a start-up business, expand the Green GrubBox service to the Columbia Center. Partner with food court restaurants to offer customers reusable take-out container options. Set up collection boxes for the containers in the food court. Pick up used containers, wash them, and return them to restaurants for continued use. Increase customers signed up to use the service.

ACTION TIP: Become a Green GrubBox customer to start using reusable take-out containers. Download the app today!

Community Upcycle Team
Hold free weekly workshops to teach a diverse group of Yesler Terrace residents how to save money by repairing, altering, and upcycling textiles. Host free pop-up community sewing events around the city to teach people how to repair and upcycle textiles.

Operation Waste Not, Want Not 
Help Somali teens gain work experience by teaching them to reuse and upcycle old and damaged items to sell in the community. Connect Somali families with waste prevention opportunities to increase access to free and low-cost resources.

Capitol Hill Tool Library Repair Cafes w/ Senior Outreach 
Host quarterly repair cafes to teach Capitol Hill residents how to save money by fixing items instead of tossing them. Encourage participants to become Tool Library members so they can use the shared tools and workshop to fix items anytime. Recruit seniors to participate and teach people how to fix items. Watch a video about Sustainable Capitol Hill's project.

ACTION TIP: Find repair opportunities in your community!

Set up an onsite anaerobic digester to turn food waste into digestate and Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). Use the digestate to grow more food for the food bank and the RNG for electricity. With the money saved in disposal and electricity costs, hire a youth transitioning out of homelessness to maintain the digester. Offer free classes and tours to help the community learn about anaerobic digestion.

Going Plastic Bottle-Free at Woodland Park Zoo
Install water bottle filling stations and signage at the zoo as part of its effort to protect wildlife from plastic pollution. Educate employees, volunteers, visitors, and partners about the importance of reducing single-use plastic. Watch a video about Woodland Park Zoo's project.

ACTION TIP: Choose to reuse to help fight plastic pollution!

Waste Monsters Youth Education
Create waste monster costumes and skits to educate kids about waste prevention in a fun and creative way. Work with Seattle schools to perform the skits during school assemblies.

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Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.