Funded Projects

Application Deadline: April 16, 2021

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


Since the first grant projects began in summer 2018, together we have:

  • Educated/engaged 6,632 residents and businesses on waste prevention
  • Partnered with 40 additional community partners
  • Prevented the use of 5,276 plastic bottles, 4,645 single-use food service materials, 4,750 pieces of paper, and 1,715 single-use packaging containers 
  • Repaired, upcycled, and reused 1,364 textiles and other items
  • Upcycled 4,600 pounds of textile waste
  • Rescued 7,009 pounds of food and donated 4,643 pounds to local food banks and meal programs
  • Reclaimed and reused 30,290 pounds of lumber
  • Supported employment opportunities for 20 adults and 22 youth
  • Helped people save money through buying less, repair and reuse
  • Increased equitable access to waste prevention opportunities benefits for people of color and immigrant and refugee communities

Grant Cycle 2020- 2021

Blue Daisi Consulting (Awarded $4,500)

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.

Cham Refugees Community (Awarded $10,000)

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 (Awarded $15,000)

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!

Neighborhood Farmers Markets Alliance (Awarded $7,000)

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.

Rainier Valley Food Bank (Awarded $17,000)

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!

Rebuilding Together Seattle (Awarded $10,000)

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.

Refugee Artisan Initiative (Awarded $16,500)

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.

University of Washington Food Pantry (Awarded $15,000)

UW Food Pantry Student Position and Expansion

Hire a temporary student intern to research strategies for increasing capacity to rescue and distribute an additional 4,000 pounds of food annually to low-income UW students and staff. Use the research to implement new strategies for expanding food rescue infrastructure, increasing food donor relationships, and increasing campus awareness of the Food Pantry.

ACTION TIP: Volunteer or begin donating food today!

Zero Waste Washington (Awarded $15,000)

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

Diaper Stork (Awarded $16,500)

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.

Move For Hunger (Awarded $10,000) 

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.

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

Refugee Artisan Initiative (Awarded $19,000) 

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.

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

Seattle Urban Academy (Awarded $10,000)

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.

Sledge Seattle (Awarded $10,000) 

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 about Sledge Seattle’s project.

ACTION TIP: Learn more about salvage and deconstruction.

Sustainability Ambassadors (Awarded $19,500)   

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 Washington (Awarded $15,000)

Refill Your Water Bottle Seattle
Expand free water refill locations throughout Seattle to reduce single-use plastic water bottles. Recruit businesses and agencies to sign up with the Tap app as a water refill location. Promote the app to Seattle residents and visitors.

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

Grant Cycle 2018 - 2019

El Centro de la Raza (Awarded $6,913)

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!

City Fruit (Awarded $6,630)

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.

Green GrubBox (Awarded $15,000) 

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!

Seattle Housing Authority / Muses (Awarded $15,000)

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.

Somali Community Services of Seattle (Awarded $15,000)

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.

Sustainable Capitol Hill (Awarded $6,000)  

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.

ACTION TIP: Find repair opportunities in your community!

University District Food Bank (Awarded $15,000)

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.

Woodland Park Zoo (Awarded $13,876)  

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.

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

Zero Waste Washington (Awarded $10,000)

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.