Funded Projects

Application Deadline: Closed for 2020

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 5,738 residents and businesses on waste prevention
  • Partnered with 37 additional community partners
  • Prevented the use of 5,276 plastic bottles, 4,645 single-use and utensils, and 4,750 pieces of paper 
  • Repaired, upcycled, and reused 1,364 textiles and other items
  • Rescued 7,009 pounds of food to donate to local food banks and meal programs
  • Reclaimed 31,890 pounds of lumber
  • Supported employment opportunities for 12 adults and 19 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 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. 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.