Reducing waste is a top focus of the Snohomish County Council. There are multiple ways we have been working to reduce or eliminate waste in our county. The first is in our annual county budget, where we strive to increase efficiency by stretching your tax dollars to ensure that you are getting the most “bang for your buck” in terms of county services. This is reflected in our past two county budgets, where we have worked to increase efficiency and reduce waste in order to avoid increases in general levy property taxes for local residents.

We also make a priority of reducing physical waste in Snohomish County. We are blessed to live in a place with such beautiful natural scenery, from the Puget Sound to the Cascade Mountains and everything in between. This is one of the biggest draws to Snohomish County and so it is important that we work to conserve it.

An initiative I have been working on over the last several months looks to increase access to our local businesses and encourage a healthy lifestyle while reducing the amount of plastic we discard. This effort is called “Snohomish County Tap”. Snohomish County Tap is a partnership between my office, Zero Waste Washington, the Snohomish Health District, and TapApp. TapApp is an app which identifies businesses and other public locations that will refill a reusable water bottle at no charge. The app can show users the locations closest to them which provide free water bottle refills. 

The partnership between these groups is bringing this effort to Snohomish County with branding and a large stakeholder group to spread the word and encourage more people to ditch plastic water bottles and use reusable water bottles instead. 

On June 4th, a large group of stakeholders from local Chambers of Commerce, business, local government, community groups, and schools met to discuss this effort. At the meeting we had presenters from Zero Waste Washington, the Snohomish Health District, and Economic Alliance of Snohomish County to talk about the benefits of a program like this. 

This initiative to encourage reusable water bottles at local businesses and public places helps conserve our beautiful surroundings, encourages healthy living, and provides greater opportunity to access local businesses. We are working with our partners to provide decals to the businesses and locations who participate and water bottles with the Snohomish County Tap logo to spread the word and encourage reusable water bottle use. 

I am encouraged by the support and enthusiasm we have seen so far. We are working on a kickoff event which will include a community service component to start the program and get the word out about our effort. Information about that event will be available in the coming weeks. 

It is always great to work with partners like those involved with Snohomish County Tap. When we can come together to do good work that can benefit everyone, improve public health and reduce waste, it is a win-win-win. I look forward to seeing this program move forward and the benefits it can bring. 

Nate Nehring is a member of the Snohomish County Council and represents District 1 which includes Arlington, Darrington, Granite Falls, Marysville, Stanwood, and unincorporated north county. He can be reached by email at Nate.Nehring@snoco.org or by phone at (425) 388-3494.

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