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THE TAGRO® STORY – HOW THE CITY OF TACOMA, WASHINGTON WENT BEYOND PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE TO ACHIEVE THE BIOSOLIDS PROGRAM WORDS WE'D ALL LIKE TO HEAR: “SOLD OUT”

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Abstract:

In recent years, public sensitivity to the beneficial reuse of biosolids has grown substantially and the pressure to produce a stable Class A material with low odor potential has increased correspondingly.

The City of Tacoma has answered this challenge in a manner that has blazed a trail for others to follow – the City combined a robust digestion technology with a sustained product and market development effort, not for “public acceptance” but to create market demand. “Acceptance” is often taken as public tolerance; “Success” as having someone use biosolids at no cost. In contrast, market “demand” means that someone gladly buys your product because they see hard value in it. Tacoma's sustained marketing and product improvement effort has built demand for its biosolidsbased family of gardening products to the point where it now outstrips supply. Call it the ultimate measure of acceptance, more simply described as “sold out”.

The “Tacoma Model” of technology improvement and product and market development should prove useful for other agencies as they make the commitment to a market-driven program and assess their own options for employing technology and adopting a responsible and responsive marketing approach – an approach Tacoma has demonstrated leads to a valued line of virtually odorless, Class A biosolids products and “sold out” success.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/193864707787976326

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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