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2023: Forging a Green Future, Step by Innovative Step

January 22, 2024

2023 wasn't just another year at the Port of Seattle. It was a year of tangible progress, bold innovation, and unwavering commitment to building a more sustainable future for our operations and our region. Our dedicated environment and sustainability teams charted a course to meet ambitious goals, demonstrating that a major port can advance sustainability in the transportation sector. 

At the heart of this progress are the passionate professionals at the Port. They shoulder the immense responsibility of decarbonizing our operations, restoring and protecting vital habitats, ensuring stormwater quality, meeting or exceeding environmental regulations, reducing waste, and managing our airport noise program. As the Port’s environment and sustainability leader, I am consistently amazed by their unwavering dedication, inventive spirit, and tireless perseverance in accomplishing these vital tasks. Charting a green course for our Port demands forging our own path, step by innovative step.  

Here’s a look at some of the progress we’ve made this year.  

Quantifying our impact: 


  • Decarbonization: Purchased an estimated 240,000 therms of renewable natural gas to cover the Port’s Maritime Division and Economic Development Department fossil natural gas use. This purchase reduced approximately 1,300 metric tons of CO2e
  • Habitat restoration:
    • Adopted Land Stewardship Principles to formalize our land management approach
    • Monitored the presence of over 7,300 juvenile salmon, at the Duwamish River People’s Park and Shoreline Habitat, indicating improved estuarine habitat
    • Completed 2095 square feet of shoreline restoration at Centennial Park, safeguarding critical habitat for local species
  • Clean water:  
    • Reached 100% compliance with stormwater quality regulations and implemented innovative solutions like oyster shell treatment media at SEA Airport and Pier 91 to protect Puget Sound
    • Achieved Salmon-Safe recertification at SEA Airport for programs that increase protection of water quality and wildlife habitat 
  • Community Engagement and Workforce Development:  
    • Hosted community tree planting events with nearly 300 trees and shrubs planted at a previously overgrown site
    • Partnered with Seattle University to mentor undergraduate engineering students on airport-related environmental projects

Leading by example: 


  • Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF): Completed a techno-economic study with King County on using municipal solid waste for SAF production, completing a critical step in our exploration of regional SAF production
  • Pacific Northwest to Alaska Green Corridor: Launched a multi-phase feasibility study with Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping  to accelerate the development of low- or zero-emission shipping routes in the region
  • SEA Sound Insulation Program:
    • Completed sound insulation at the Villa Enzian complex in Des Moines, overcoming pandemic challenges to finish the project
    • Approved $25.9 million in funding to expand noise mitigation to places of worship within the SEA noise remedy boundary
  • PFAS-free alternatives: Collaborated with the Fire Department to identify alternatives to PFAS-based firefighting foam, safeguarding environmental and public health
  • Single-use plastics reduction: Developed and submitted new airport rules requiring food service businesses to utilize reusable or compostable serviceware, aiming to achieve a 56% terminal waste diversion rate 
  • AI-powered waste sorting: Successfully installed and operated six AI-assisted waste sorting stations at SEA and maritime locations to boost diversion rates and customer education   
  • Clean-up: 
    • Secured $3.2 million in grants for cleanup and investigation projects at crucial sites
    • Completed Phase 1 of a remedial investigation at T-108, engaging the community through a dedicated website and communications plan


The road ahead: 

Our work in 2023 demonstrated the persistence and partnerships that are required to move the needle on our environmental work. We are committed to building upon this momentum, continuously pushing the boundaries of what's possible. In the coming year, we will continue our focus on decarbonizing seaport and airport operations, restoring critical habitat for endangered species, ensuring compliance with strict environmental regulations, and building our partnerships with communities surrounding Port facilities.  

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