2010 Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction
Each spring, businesses in King County are invited to demonstrate their commitment to waste reduction and recycling and apply for recognition as a Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction. Businesses receiving recognition for 2010 are listed below. Check back in spring 2011 to apply as a 2011 Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction.
In 2010, 75 businesses in King County were named Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction. Through expanded recycling programs, creation of green teams and in-house “how-to” recycling videos, these businesses have creatively and dramatically increased recycling and reduced waste. Click on the business names below to read about their successes, and read advice from top recyclers (PDF, 100 K) of 2010 on how to improve the recycling practices of your workplace. You can also view complete details about our 2009 award winners.
Note: all links are external
AMEC Earth & Environmental, a part of AMEC plc, is one of the world's largest environmental consulting firms and employs 23,000 people in more than 30 countries. AMEC plc considers sustainable business as "the balancing of economic, environmental and social responsibilities in a manner that consistently meets the requirements of our current and future stakeholders without impairing the ability of future stakeholders to meet their own needs."
Last year, AMEC plc energized its sustainability program to implement one of the 12 key areas of its business plan. Within the program AMEC plc aims to achieve sustainability in each the workplace, community and environment. Its long-term goal is to achieve a 60 percent reduction in carbon dioxide by 2050 based on 2008 levels.
To achieve the carbon dioxide reduction, AMEC plc appointed a sustainability vice president who enlisted a sustainability coordinator in each of its offices to develop and implement local sustainability plans. In Bothell, the sustainability coordinator engaged an oversight committee to help guide this effort. A presentation was made to all employees at an "all-hands" meeting, and AMEC plc developed its 2010 program goals as a group.
Task leaders were found to champion each of the 20 tasks chosen for this year. Through regular reporting requirements, accountability for follow-through is ensured. So far, 14 of the tasks have been completed this past year, including implementing an office composting program, calculating individual carbon footprints, getting rid of bottled water, reducing paper usage and organizing an on-going employee swap meet system, among others. AMEC plc anticipates completing the others by mid-year, and will create new ones for next year.
Advice to others: “What makes our sustainability program work? Knowing that sustainability is valued as a key component of our long-term success at all levels of management, up to and including our CEO. Resources have been allocated, support is shown, and encouragement is provided. Given that we are an environmental consultancy company, most of us got into this business to try to change the way we humans treat our planet.”
In addition to being one of the best workplaces for recycling and waste reduction, Bastyr University was the first school to receive an award in the King County Envirostars Program. Bastyr has a written sustainability plan, which provides a road map for staff, students and key decision-makers as they work on sustainability efforts. Some of their successes have included recycling beyond the usual recyclables to include cooking oil, wood pallets and scraps, scrap metal, batteries, and plastic film and wrap recycling. Excess food is donated to a food bank; food scraps or other organic materials are collected for composting. Bastyr University offers recycling and food scrap collection at meetings and conferences.
Paper use is minimized as much as possible by ensuring that printers and copiers are set to print and copy double sided pages. Bastyr uses a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer recycled content office products, removing duplicate names and out-of-date entries from mailing lists, and by using more e-mail and voicemail. Every attempt is made to circulate memos, documents, reports and publications rather than copying; announcements are posted on bulletin boards or copies are circulated to reduce the need for additional printouts. If printouts are necessary, all documents are proofed and previewed before printing.
Advice to others: “The key is to develop a planning process and functional documents that add value to the work done. Every improvement creates an additional step for the next goal or project to be successful.”
The City of Bothell has excelled at making waste reduction and recycling a top priority. From creating communication materials using as little paper as possible, to converting conference room light switches to motion sensors that activate only when rooms are in use, the city stays on the cutting edge of conservation. Surplus furniture is used by employees instead of ordering new products and new printers have a double-sided print capability. The City of Bothell also has a green team that provides sustainability education programs for employees including reusable shopping bag promotions, ongoing education about available recycling programs and resources and a sustainability fair.
In Harmony Sustainable Landscapes
Contact name & email: Ladd Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org
All employees at In Harmony are educated about the company’s recycling efforts and are encouraged to participate and enhance efforts. Recycling goals are set by staff recycling coordinators and staff can check the recycling progress to receive up-to-date results. In addition to glass, cans, paper, and plastic, all batteries, electronics, light bulbs, Styrofoam, scrap metal and wood pallets are collected for recycling or proper disposal. In Harmony helps reduce paper waste by reusing paper for internal copies and requiring documents be printed double sided. They also purchase a minimum of 30 percent post consumer recycled content for office products.
Advice to others: “Recycling is one of the easiest and fiscally sound efforts we can do to reduce our impact on the planet. The new consumer wants to work with companies that are committed to striving for the best green practices.”
Pagliacci Pizza has long been committed to reducing workplace waste. For years, recycling and composting have been mandatory at its store locations. Pagliacci’s has made the switch from regular paper cups to certified 100 percent compostable cups and from plastic salad containers to Ingeo biopolymer packaging, grown and made in the U.S. from natural corn materials. Cups and salad containers are approved by Cedar Grove Composting for disposal in yard waste containers. After learning that produce boxes were not recyclable, Pagliacci took the initiative to compost them with kitchen waste on site. This small change in operations has dramatically reduced its amount of waste produced. In addition, Pagliacci uses several cleaning chemicals that are Green Seal certified. Its extensive collection of intercompany forms have been converted to PDF format to reduce copying. Pagliacci was named “2008 Recycler of the Year in Composting and Food Waste” by the Washington State Recycling Association.
Advice to other businesses: “We encourage other businesses to make the commitment. It is worth every penny, to us and our employees, to know that we are doing the right thing.”
Redhook Ale Brewery brews craft beer for distribution and sale in the western United States. There are two functional areas of the brewery – the brewing operation and the Forecaster's Pub. Both teams recycle cardboard and glass. In brewing operations there are approximately 40 employees, with 12 of them working in an office setting. The brewing operations team takes measures to reduce paper use by sending and receiving all faxes electronically, proofing documents on-screen and previewing before printing, using e-mail and voicemail for mailings, and taking steps to reduce unsolicited mail. The Forecaster's Pub has approximately 40 employees and has had a successful recycling food waste program since 2009. The pub has switched several incandescent light bulbs to new LED lights. Redhook Ale Brewery also does not offer single use water bottles and has a kitchen onsite with a dishwasher that allows employees to bring their own lunches and also offers dishware, glassware and flatware rather than disposable kitchenware.
Shoreline Community College is returning as a King County Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction for the third year in a row. Some of their recent changes and improvements include the purchase of 42 blue recycling bins, labeling of all recycling bins with the recycling signage standard, creation of campus-wide recycling bin locator maps, and use of student learning projects to help educate and encourage the campus community to recycle items properly.
Advice to others: “I would suggest what is probably an obvious idea - identifying a few goals each year that can improve your recycling program, creating an action plan to complete them, and holding individuals responsible for various parts of the action plan accountable.”
The Herbfarm offers a seasonally unique menu of gourmet Northwest foods which they make themselves, and returns as a Best Workplace for the third year. Some of their homemade products include breads, pastas, cheeses and butter. Leftover meats, vegetables and other organic materials from meals are used for compost which is used to grow the herbs and vegetables used in the kitchen, or are donated to local food banks. They also use the ash from their wood-burning stove to fertilize potatoes grown on their farm. The Herbfarm reduces their carbon footprint by buying local food and receiving deliveries from their farm by bicycle. The staff is aware, informed and active in support of all aspects of their many recycling services. The Herbfarm also recycles cans, paper, plastics, cooking oil, scrap metal, wood pallets and more. The Herbfarm is constantly finding new ways to recycle and reduce waste each time they are ordering supplies. Most orders are online to reduce paper, and most reservations for the restaurant are taken directly into the computer to reduce waste. The Herbfarm also resells or gives away items to staff that the restaurant no longer uses.
A local Redmond gift basket business, Accents Et cetera has a strong recycling ethic throughout and their continued effort in recycling and waste reduction earned them recognition for the third year in a row. This year they have moved to a new location and have onsite composting of food and floral scraps and the trimmings from biodegradable cellophane. The second change has been using an iPhone as a calendar, notepad and for e-mail. Accents Et cetera staff are amazed by how much paper has been saved just through using a smartphone for all of those functions.
The company kept in place all of the previous reuse and recycle policies from last year, and has been able to purchase more products with recycled content. In response to customer requests, Accents Et cetera has created an "Eco-Friendly Options" category on their Web site that features environmentally sound gift baskets and other items.
Accents Et cetera has also found more vendors that are now providing recycled content and compostable components. For instance, Accents Et cetera now carry raffia ribbon made out of paper and gros grain ribbon that is made with recycled plastic water bottles. Many of their eco-friendly gift options contain locally produced foods, while organic cotton is used in their baby toys and clothing.
Allyis is returning for the third year in a row as a Best Workplace for Recycling because of its dedication to continual changes and improvements to its Greener Allyis program. In particular, Allyis has greatly reduced its use of paper and increased recycling. Last year, paper use was reduced by 53 percent with much of the success likely due to the default duplex printing option set on each printer. In 2009, Allyis office employees increased composting and recycling aluminum and plastic by 15 percent. Allyis also moved to online paystubs, reducing the need to print and deliver approximately 5,000 paystubs each year. Allyis recycled 75 percent of the garbage at its summer company picnic.
Employees were also empowered last year in their environmental efforts. For the first year, employees formed a team to participate in Bike to Work month. On United Way of King County’s 2009 Day of Caring, employees volunteered at Mountains to Sound’s native tree and shrub nursery, where the plants are used to replant salmon-bearing creeks and local parks. In addition, Allyis began providing organic, fair-trade coffee from a local company to employees in the kitchen.
Advice to others: “We’ve tried to use a sense of humor when getting people to think about changing their actions. I think it’s a refreshing and appreciated change from making people feel guilty about their actions or lack thereof.”
In addition to traditional recyclables collection, e-waste recycling and donations and other waste reduction programs, Ascentium has recently taken its recycling program to the next level by providing composting collection in all office kitchens. The company has worked with janitorial staff to achieve better sorting and redesigned signage in order to avoid cross-contamination. Making recycling easy for employees and janitorial staff – as easy as it is to throw things in the trash – has been key to reducing waste. Removing trash bins at desks has helped eliminate a significant waste stream in bin liners alone.
BladeGallery's Epicurean Edge is a knife shop that really cares about recycling. All cardboard, paper products, cans and bottles are recycled at the recycling bins around the office. Even the paper towels from the bathroom are taken to an employee's home and composted. Through Staple's toner recycling program, BladeGallery is able to recycle all of their toner cartridges -- both for ink jet and laser printers. Since much of the business is done online, they are shipping every day, but are using recycled packing peanuts donated from the local communities in the process.
CDM sets goals for reducing waste and increasing recycling which allow the staff to receive results on progress. CDM has a recycling coordinator and a committed team that champion the recycling program. Early planning allowed the office’s move this past year toward environmental friendliness. For example, instead of buying new furniture, CDM was able to re-use a majority of their existing furniture and additional furniture was donated.
The CDM Bellevue office goes beyond recycling the usual materials through its participation in numerous green business recycling programs. CDM recycles wood pallets and scraps, scrap metal, batteries, Styrofoam and other plastic packaging, surplus furniture, used toner cartridges and other electronic equipment. Great measures are taken to reduce paper usage and reuse paper products in the office. CDM has an on-site kitchen with a dishwasher that allows employees to pack their own lunches and use dishware, glassware and flatware.
CH2M HILL is returning as a King County Best Workplace for the fourth year in a row. This year, more staff are teleworking and less office space was needed on a daily basis, so CH2M HILL took advantage of a lease contraction option this year and has reduced its overall environmental footprint. During the course of vacating some of its space, CH2M HILL sold furniture to staff and donated the majority of proceeds ($1,600+) to NW Harvest and some CH2M HILL locations and Goodwill. Each year, CH2M HILL looks for additional ways to reuse and recycle more of its materials and further reduce its environmental impact.
Chameleon Technologies has served the Puget Sound's high-tech business community since 2000. In 2007, Chameleon implemented a series of measures to minimize waste and energy use. Their improvements in waste reduction and recycling practices have earned them recognition for the third year in a row as a Best Workplace.
The company's choice of office space enables every employee to take advantage of natural daylight from windows, saving energy from already efficient fluorescent lighting. Chameleon has also incorporated company-wide recycling, composting and employee transportation initiatives, as well as mandating the re-use of waste paper and notebooks, and the recycling of all used electronics to increase its percentage of recycled office material to 90 percent. Chameleon's future holds further exploration of eco-conscious steps that will help them grow as a business, and as a steward of the earth.
Best Workplaces welcomes first-time applicant CHOICE Insurance, LLC. Their office and the entire building that they occupy is striving to do their part in keeping the building "green" by using motion sensor lighting in restrooms, along with sensor flushing toilets and sensor faucets. Their goal is to ensure that every piece of paper that enters their building be scanned, then shredded when no longer needed. CHOICE Insurance works with insurance carriers to send documents electronically instead of hard copies. When possible, CHOICE Insurance uses natural lighting instead of office lights. Staff turn off their monitors and computers whenever on breaks or at lunch to further contribute to a "green" workplace environment.
The City of Bellevue is returning as a participant for the third year in a row as a Best Workplace for recycling and waste reduction because of their continued efforts. Over the past year, the City of Bellevue has added new materials to their recycling program including, block Styrofoam, compact fluorescent lamps from employees through Ecolights Northwest, and lids through the AVEDA program. In addition, the onsite deli made the switch to Cedar Grove branded biodegradable products after an employee survey resulted in 90 percent support for a surcharge of 15 cents on transactions using the new products.
The City of Bellevue has also expanded the in-house food waste program to satellite buildings. The city is also helping prevent garbage by promoting zero waste at events and meetings. Program success is monitored through periodic waste sorts.
Advice to others: “Keep monitoring the program and keep outreach materials updated. Our overall recycling rate slipped in 2009, but the focus of our efforts in 2010 is to revitalize interest and increase participation.”
The City of Issaquah provides compostable service ware and provides food waste and compost collection containers and recycling at all City employee events and meetings. The City has provided labels that are easy to understand for all recycling and food waste containers, and has provided training at staff meetings on recycling and food waste collection guidelines. Employee kitchenettes have durable mugs, plates and silverware that greatly reduces the need for disposable packaging. The administrative staff take great pride in how much they have reduced unneeded printing, and recycling toner cartridges saving the City money and recycling at the same time.
Advice to others: “Make sure to allow time for training and question and answer sessions to clarify any questions that come up. Employees ask questions, and come up with suggestions that I would never have thought of on my own. Having a knowledgeable champion for recycling in each department is a huge part of a successful program. Also, providing training for custodial staff is key to building support for food waste recycling.”
The City of Redmond is returning as a Best Workplace for recycling and waste reduction for the second year in a row. The city continues to promote waste reduction and recycling through setting printers to default to double-sided, offering battery recycling stations, recycling electronic media and toner ink, and encouraging the use of durable dishware and glassware. New employees receive a recycling yes/no sheet to post at their desk, and are provided with desk-side recycling bins in addition to the several recycling containers in public spaces.
This year the City of Redmond has expanded its organics recycling program beyond City Hall and Senior Center to include the Old Redmond School House, the Teen Center, and the Maintenance and Operation Center. They have also increased their recycling and composting at city events, using Cyclemax containers and including the use of compostable tableware.
Advice to others: “The key to successful waste reduction and recycling is clear and consistent communication about how to reduce waste and what can be recycled, as well as offering the tools to make these activities accessible and easy.”
David Evans and Associates, Inc. (DEA) is an employee-owned engineering and consulting firm in Bellevue that has been listed as a Best Workplace for three years. They have set a goal of reducing their overall corporate carbon footprint by an additional 5 percent this year. Employees are encouraged to participate in a commute trip reduction program and the company-wide 9/80 work program. To help reduce SOV trips, dedicated carpool parking stalls have been reserved in the parking lot.
Recycling bins with detailed instructions are located in each office, work area, conference room, copy/print center, kitchen/break room, and all open areas. DEA also provides facilities for recycling batteries, compact fluorescent bulbs, disks, printer ink/toner cartridges, and electronic waste products, whether from the office or employees’ homes. The waste reduction program reuses office materials such as shipping and mailing supplies, binders, folders, and scrap paper whenever possible for internal use. All office paper supplies are purchased with recycled content to help with the life-cycle loop and duplex copying instructions are provided to reduce total paper usage. Permanent plates, bowls, mugs, glasses, and utensils are used so less waste is created. Separate bins also collect all biodegradable waste, which is composted on site. To encourage and remind staff about recycling and waste reduction at work and at home, the Sustainability Committee sends out “Sustainability E-Tips” and suggestions bi-weekly.
Advice to others: “Although budgets may have been reduced or cut due to the economy, most sustainable recycling practices are fun, simple, convenient, and low cost. Make sure to keep the program visible with frequent reminders, visible cues like recycle bins, and enthusiasm.”
Drugstore.com is a Bellevue-based company which has been working hard to improve their green efforts, making them a King County Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction for the third year in a row. Drugstore.com has completed their first carbon footprint analysis, which showed a 48 cubic ton reduction in their first year's efforts, and they have set targets to challenge that number. Drugstore.com has also added a new sustainability director position, and that person is responsible for championing all employee and operational efforts as well as customer communications. Drugstore.com is in the midst of a massive 10–week-long employee "Green @ Work" campaign, with weekly tips and information to educate and engage employees. Through the campaign, the company has started recycling batteries, bulbs, cells and glasses, and it is continually involved in encouraging employee input and involvement.
Their internal green efforts have stayed strong and active this past year. Additional highlights include:
Advice to others: "You have to stay strong and focused and concentrate on all that you have done as fuel for all that there still is to do.”
ECO Cartridge Store is a fourth-time recipient of the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction award because of their commitment in providing customers with an environmentally friendly alternative to the costly practice of buying new and discarding old printer cartridges. At the ECO Cartridge Store empty printer ink cartridges are refilled, and cartridges that can’t be refilled are recycled. Throughout their office they recycle paper, plastic, glass, cans, Styrofoam and electronics. They also offer a take-back program for the plastic bags that are used in selling ECO Cartridge Store ink cartridges. In order to reduce waste, they reuse mailing boxes, double side printing, and have a reuse station for office materials. The ECO Cartridge Store encourages recycling not only in the workplace but also in schools where bins are provided to collect empty ink cartridges.
One of the things that ECO Cartridge Store does differently is tied to how the store tests the cartridges filled. To make sure the cartridges are ready for sale, ECO Cartridge runs "printer test" pages with paper that has already been printed on one or two sides, then sends the page to the recyclable paper box, which means that ECO Cartridge Store ends up using the same piece of paper up to four times.
Since opening in July 2004, ECO Cartridge Store customers have kept 9,600 pounds of industrial plastic and metals from electronic parts out of the landfill, which has resulted in reduced oil consumption of 155 barrels of oil that would have been used to manufacture new cartridges. In addition to being environmentally responsible by refilling and remanufacturing cartridges, ECO Cartridge Store also creates jobs locally. Every cartridge is recycled and remanufactured in the community that ECO Cartridge Store serves.
Web site: http://www.emeraldheights.com/overview/welcome.htm
Life care community Emerald Heights is a fourth time returning recipient of the Best Workplaces for Recycling award due to their continued efforts in providing recycling for their residents, employees, and visitors. Emerald Heights provides conveniently located recycling bins as well as instructions on what can be recycled. Emerald Heights donates used functioning surplus appliances and furniture to local transitional housing projects. Emerald Heights helps prevent waste by donating excess food to food banks, recycles cooking oil, and uses all dishware, glassware, and flatware in the kitchens, cafeterias and hotel guest rooms. As a result of increasing recycling, Emerald Heights has experienced a reduction in garbage pick-up and container size required for their campus.
Evergreen Healthcare is returning as a best workplace for the second year in a row. They have found that one of the most important factors in having successful recycling/waste reduction is continued staff education about sustainable practices. Evergreen Healthcare has been successful through having a ”green representative” from each floor to help disseminate information and an annual ”brown bag lunch” for staff members. Last year, the brown bag lunch addressed recycling and this year Evergreen Healthcare is planning on organizing an educational event on energy conservation measures. In addition, Evergreen Healthcare includes an environmental message with new hires and write monthly articles in the hospital newsletter including its ”Tip Toe Tips - Ideas for treading lightly on the planet.”
Evergreen Healthcare had their second-annual Earth Day event April 22 when it focused on education about reusing, reducing and recycling. The special guest was the six-foot-tall “coffee monster” that encouraged staff to drink responsibly by using a reusable cup.” All staff who brought a reusable coffee cup were rewarded with a free hot beverage. Staff also received either a reusable shopping bag or a limited amount of free Compact fluorescent light bulbs as entry prizes.
Web site: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bvufi-fairfield-inn-seattle-bellevue/
Fairfield Inn by Marriott Bellevue has made major strides in "greening" their hotel. New employees are oriented into the recycling program that is championed by a recycling coordinator. Fairfield Inn is constantly coming up with new recycling goals and tracks progress so that all of its staff can see the results.
One of the major recent success stories has been with their recycling program for hotel guests, which was done in two phases. The first phase was to implement recycling in the common areas. With help from the City of Bellevue, Fairfield Inn by Marriott Bellevue immediately started to see a reduction in waste and noticed that some guests would bring recyclables down to the lobby to place them in recycling. The next phase was to implement in room recycling. After Phase 2, the hotel saw an even more drastic decrease in garbage. Fairfield Inn by Marriott Bellevue now tracks garbage levels and has challenged their hotel to eliminate two garbage pickups by the end of the year- a 50 percent reduction.
In addition to its commitment to ensuring effective recycling programs for its hotel guests, the hotel and its employees are committed to recycling initiatives throughout the hotel—from reducing its paper use, donating and recycling electronic equipment, and maximizing usage of reusable or recyclable products.
Last year’s participation as a Best Workplace inspired FCS GROUP staff to make the extra effort needed to reduce and recycle even more. This even inspired offices in other states to join the local programs and get acknowledged for firm-wide recycling efforts. New employees are oriented into the recycling program when hired. FCS GROUP now has a drawer in the printer dedicated to second use paper and collects plastic bags to recycle. Some other successes of FCS GROUP have included its commitment to waste reduction by designing mailers that avoid the use of envelopes, placing trays for reusable paper next to printers and copiers, not offering single-use water bottles and to using reduced packaging made of recycled content. Used toner cartridges are recycled or refilled, and used electronic equipment is recycled if it can’t be resold. In addition to reducing waste and recycling, an increased number of employees are taking mass transit to reduce air pollution.
HDR Engineering is national, multi-disciplined consulting engineering firm and a fourth-year Best Workplace. This year the office continued its commercial composting for food waste and batteries, cell phones and CFLs recycling. The HDR Bellevue office has conducted two waste assessments to track recycling/composting contamination and quantify the largest trash categories, then focused its educational programs toward those issues. These assessments helped gauge the effectiveness of education programs and improvements. HDR Bellevue Green Team updated its signs for trash, composting and recycling, focusing on visuals for easy compliance. HDR Bellevue added composting and recycling bins in each conference room. The key to continued success is the office’s Green Team which is a group of employees who volunteer to promote recycling awareness, plan events, keep a working list of initiatives and present green information at monthly at “all staff” meetings, on employee bulletin boards, and on the Green Team’s intranet site. The Green Team ran a short-term “coffee cup challenges” this year in response to the company’s internal waste assessment which found a major source of waste is disposable coffee cups. The company ran a “coffee cup challenges” for nine weeks, with a raffle each week. This program not only raised awareness of a major waste stream, but also elicited ideas from other employees about waste reduction and sustainability. For example, the company switched from plastic coffee stirrers to compostable wooden stirrers as a result of employee input and Green Team follow-up. The office has a goal of Zero Waste, as initiated by its department manager who supports all the office’s sustainability efforts. To meet this goal, office staff have implemented many improvements to waste reduction and recycling practices. The office building management promotes efficiency. HDR’s Bellevue Green Team held numerous educational and fun activities during “Earth Week” and promotes other events such as Earth Hour. In 2009, the company acquired a hybrid Ford Escape for more rugged site visits, in addition to its hybrid Toyota Prius. These actions highlight the company’s commitment to sustainability. The administrative staff are vital to implementation and success.
Advice to others:: “Identify employees who are passionate about sustainability and enable them to promote reduction of waste and recycling by changing office processes and procedures.”
Honda of Kirkland is returning for the second year as a best workplace. Honda of Kirkland distributes a monthly newsletter to all current and potential customers via email, reducing its use of paper-based direct mail pieces. Each newsletter sent contains helpful “green tips” encouraging everyone to do their part to help lessen their impact on the environment. Bi-annual “green parties” are established to bring groups of employees together to work hand-in-hand with local environmental projects. This past April, Honda’s party coincided with Earth Day 2010, where the staff worked to help restore a local park. Plans are currently being reviewed to determine the feasibility of using its massive rainwater retention bin as a collection source for irrigation.
Honeywell International in Redmond has been a best workplace for the past three years. In 2009, Honeywell International began a “Kaizen” process that asked all employees to look for waste reduction opportunities and to take actions to eliminate the identified waste. Engineering resources were then dedicated to the upfront waste elimination with employees being rewarded for their efforts.
The machine shop expanded recycling scrap that cut waste by up to 10, 55-gallon drums of metal scrap per month. Honeywell International uses a triple rinse process for the one gallon acid/caustic bottles, which allows them to recycle 40 one-gallon containers per day. The Redmond site invested in a new parts cleaning station which reduced cleaning effluent waste by 60 percent. In the manufacturing operation, the team implemented a simple design change to remove unused space on a silicon wafer. The improved dye layout increased the number of dye per wafer and decreased the number of wafers required to be built by 30 percent.
The site also modified a cleaning process, reducing volumes of acetone and isopropyl alcohol used from five to six gallons per week to one gallon each per week. This action results in hazardous waste reductions as well as the reduction in product purchased, eliminating disposal of empty containers. The HSE department implemented an all electronic MSDS process, eliminating the need to photocopy all MSDS and send to the vendor for inputting. Once processed the papers were discarded. With a database of more than 5,000 products, this is a significant paper reduction.
Honeywell has a comprehensive commute trip reduction plan and provides employees with ORCA Cards - a 100 percent subsidized transit pass. The pass pays up to $65 per month of any employee’s monthly vanpool fare. This program resulted in trip reduction of 15,681 trips with a total miles saved of 575,149 and reduction in carbon monoxide emissions totaling 13,440 lbs. and 24,685 gallons of fuel saved.
Hyatt Hotels Corporation has a global green effort, Hyatt Earth. Part of the Hyatt Earth initiative for 2010 to 2015 is focusing on recycling and waste reduction nationwide by a corporate directive of 25 percent. Directions and procedures are in place to track Hyatt’s recycling and waste on a daily basis.
Hyatt Regency Bellevue is returning for the second year in a row as a Best Workplace and their goal for 2010 is focused on recycling. Throughout the year, the hotel has targeted tasks such as recycling training for their associates, meeting space improvements and purchasing product improvement to achieve their goal of recycling 30 percent of their waste. Presently, Hyatt Regency Bellevue is on track with their goal and has high hopes of exceeding this percentage. Their environmental initiatives are led by the Green Team at the Hyatt Regency.
The Issaquah School District is a returning Best Workplace recipient because of their continued commitment towards recycling and waste reduction programs at all 27 facilities. Staff and students recycle paper, cans, bottles, cell phones, printer cartridges, batteries, fluorescent tubes and electronic equipment. The food service program replaced disposable polystyrene food trays with compostable trays. Fourteen schools now have Green Teams that coordinate food scrap recycling programs and when combined with the school's recycling reduced solid waste by 50 to 75 percent. A few schools are starting no waste lunch days and use no paper days.
The district plans to expand the program to all schools in the near future. At the end of each school year, the district donates to food banks all unused food products that will reach expiration dates before September. Carefully planned locker cleanup days focus on recycling unwanted products, collecting reusable items that other students can use or they are donated to community organizations. Schools are also initiating reuse programs to collect usable sheet paper products for scratch paper, art work and other uses before it is recycled. Large envelopes are re-used for intra-district mailers. Schools are saving paper by sending parent newsletters and many other intra-school communications electronically. The district participates in the King County Green Schools Program that provides support to initiate and sustain recycling and waste reduction programs.
Advice to others: “Starting recycling projects and programs takes time, energy and cooperation from many people. An additional challenge is to keep the recycling and waste reduction programs energized and functional year after year. The King County Green Schools Program has helped us maintain quality recycling programs in our schools each year.”
The Lake Washington School District (LWSD) operates 48 schools throughout the cities of Kirkland, Redmond, parts of Sammamish and in unincorporated King County. The school district is home to more 23,000 students, and the district has 3.2 million square feet of building space. The district’s Resource Conservation Management office strives to maximize each building's efficiency and minimize usage of energy, water, storm water treatment and waste disposal services.
LWSD continues its major lunch waste reduction program with commensurate Dumpster downsizing and/or reduction of pick-up frequency. In the 2009-10 school year, one high school and six elementary schools largely phased out Styrofoam plates in exchange for reusable baskets or trays. This effort has had a tremendous effect on the amount of garbage produced. Two elementary schools also began lunch recycling for their kitchens and classrooms. Finally, five elementary schools implemented a food composting program in their lunchrooms. All told, nearly 90 percent of schools now have reusable trays instead of Styrofoam, and all schools have lunchroom recycling in addition to recycling in all other areas of the school.
In day-to-day operations, one of the biggest successes at LWSD has been converting their newsletter and teacher's union announcements to electronic forms only, reducing at least four pages of printed material each month per recipient. The school district is also working with staff to ensure printers and copiers have double-sided printing as their default setting. The district continues to reuse envelopes for intra-district mail, as well as recycling metals and disposed refrigerators.
LWSD has been working with the King County Green Schools Program http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/greenschools/lake-WA-school-district.asp to minimize waste disposal costs and the impact of its schools on the environment. Each school has a strong recycling program for classrooms, lunchrooms and gymnasiums. Students are taught of the importance of recycling, and shown what exactly can be recycled. In most schools, disposable Styrofoam lunch trays have been replaced with reusable baskets or plates. Finally, nearly 27 schools are actively composting their food waste. LWSD commends all the dedicated students, teachers, parents and staff who have worked hard to minimize their schools’ impact on the environment and maximize their efficiency.
Advice to others: “Show building occupants how much trash each building/area produces compared to its peers. When we published a graph showing each school’s trash service in our district newsletter as cubic feet per student per month, peer pressure and friendly competition motivated many of the ‘trashier’ sites to improve their performance dramatically.”
For the past four years, MulvannyG2 Architecture has been one of King County’s Best Workplaces. MulvannyG2 continues its recycling efforts beyond the basics of paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, and glass to also include batteries, printer cartridges, light bulbs, eye glasses, cell phones, computers, monitors, keyboards, and other various electronic equipment.
This past January, MulvannyG2 conducted an Eco Office Audit with Eco Office, a community service educational program for students who work with local businesses to promote environmentally responsible practices in the business environment. MulvannyG2 received the highest score of 100 percent in the ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’ category, including bonus points for recycling and reusing 500-600 pounds of electronic equipment through the GreenDisk program and maintaining a bulletin board with graphics and information assisting employees with their recycling efforts.
As an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WasteWise partner, MulvannyG2 has been able to calculate their waste prevention and recycling achievements. Awarded “Partner of the Year” in 2007, MulvannyG2 recycles more than 20 tons of paper, plastics, metals, and other commodities. It also prevents over 10 tons of plastics, paper, and food waste from entering the landfill by providing reusable materials, printing double-sided, and increasing its online processes. According to EPA calculations, this amount results in a reduction of greenhouse gas emission equivalent to removing 10 passenger cars from the road for one year.
Advice to others: “MulvannyG2 encourages businesses to connect with the EPA and form a good relationship with their building property management, janitorial staff, and City to ensure tangible results. Above all, keep it simple, educational, and fun!”
Redmond-based Noetix Corporation has made recycling and waste reduction a company priority and its commitment remains strong in its second year as a King County Best Workplace. Noetix recently started recycling all of its batteries, outdated PDA's and cell phones. All employees are encouraged to bring in their old batteries and hand-held electronics for recycling. Noetix now has a collection bin for plastic bags which makes it convenient for employees to bring in their plastic bag collections from home. Noetix had its first "Zero Waste" company picnic, where all items were recycled or composted. Noetix is in the process of implementing its own "Free-Cycle" website to allow employees to give away old items they no longer need. It also celebrates Earth Day each year to further educate its employees on recycling, reusing and composting. Noetix continues to recycle all of its paper, plastic, metal and glass. It has been successful in switching all of its paper plates to reusable ceramic plates in their kitchen, as well as using silverware in place of plastic utensils.
Its Green Committee continues to meet quarterly to discuss recycling and waste reduction ideas. Since its formation, the committee has added a food composting program in the company lunch room to properly dispose of coffee filters/grounds and food scraps. It also purchases biodegradable products for company events. In addition to displaying signs throughout their office, Noetix Corporation helps to further educate its employees through the Green Committee intranet page to stress the importance of greener lifestyles. The page allows easy communication throughout the office with up-to-date news about recycling and "green" events. In addition, a quarterly "green" e-mail newsletter is also sent out to all employees to remind them of the company's recycling efforts. The Noetix Corporation has also expanded its recycling efforts globally by starting a Green Committee at its office in Hyderabad, India.
Advice to others: If your business is just starting out, form a Green Committee within your company or business and come up with creative ideas on how to recycle and reuse everyday items. Contact your city's recycling coordinator to take advantage of any recycling programs they have to offer. Don't feel overwhelmed. Start small and slowly add to your recycling program. It's never too late to start recycling and reducing your waste.”
Encompassing nearly 18 square miles at the northeast end of Lake Washington in King County, Northshore Utility District is dedicated to providing water and wastewater service in an environmentally conscious manner. Northshore Utility District is a third time recipient of the Best Workplaces award. In particular, Northshore Utility District is dedicated to minimizing the amount of water that is wasted or lost due to misuse and system leakage. They have successfully reduced the amount of lost water to less than one half of one percent over the past year – well below state and national averages.
In addition to saving water, Northshore Utility District reduces waste in all areas of their operation by recycling paper, plastic, glass, cans, wood pallets and scraps, scrap metal, batteries, light bulbs, motor oil, antifreeze and more. With the reduction in waste generated, the Northshore Utility District has been able to get a smaller garbage dumpster, saving money for their ratepayers. Internally, Northshore Utility District does much to reduce office waste and increase recycling programs.
Advice to Others: "Communicate with all employees and value what your co-workers say. The opinions and suggestions of staff are very important in creating a well rounded program."
Outsource Marketing is a fourth-year Best Workplace that is building on past recycling and waste reduction efforts. In 2009, Outsource Marketing rebranded their business to better reflect its responsible approach to business and marketing. Most messaging is done electronically at Outsource. Instead of printing letterhead, notecards and envelopes that might go to waste, the new brand made it possible for it to print small, customized quantities in-house as needed. Old letterhead stationery was turned into notepads. A series of videos were also created to focus on recycling in the workplace.
Outsource Marketing’s printed collateral system consisting of a folder, mini-brochure and multiple insert sheets and cards was replaced by a customizable brochure that is printed and bound in-house using plain string. It has also been formatted so it looks great when delivered digitally. Outsource Marketing has increased its use of collaborative online tools, video conferencing, instant messaging and other technologies to increase waste-free communications. Each staff member has signed a "green pact," promising to reduce, reuse and recycle where possible. In addition, Outsource Marketing continues to implement responsible, green marketing efforts for its clients.
This summer, Outsource Marketing will be moving to a built-green office in the Issaquah Highlands that is outfitted with more collaborative workspace and less fixed desks. Its core team will have office space there with most staff in the office a few times a week, traveling during off-peak hours.
Advice to others: “A project without a leader won’t get done. Appoint a ’green czar’ to lead initiatives and provide support to develop an empowered group. Take a look at marketing materials with an eye toward waste reduction. “
Overlake Hospital Medical Center began their sustainable journey about four years ago. The hospital is a three-time recipient of the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction award because of their continued commitment in recycling programs. Since 2006, they have expanded their recycling efforts across the hospital campus with centralized recycling bins in main departments, and recycle electronic media and scrap metal, in addition to the usual glass, plastic and paper recycling. Some of the recycling tasks have also been incorporated into the routines of some of Overlake’s mentally challenged staff, under the Bellevue School District and Puget Sound Personnel programs.
In the office, used toner cartridges are recycled or refilled and mailing boxes and envelopes are reused. Overlake Hospital is committed to reducing paper waste and has successfully done so by setting printers and copiers to print and copy double sided pages, using e-mail and voice mail communication, eliminating unnecessary reports, reducing unsolicited mail and posting announcements on bulletin boards or circulating copies.
They have also maintained a robust composting program in the dining facility. Overlake has converted 90 percent of their disposables to compostables. In addition to recycling cardboard, cans, plastics and glass, the main kitchen production recycles cooking oil and uses dishware glassware and flatware.
Advice to others: "It is an on-going effort to educate and assist people in seeking out the value a sustainability program provides. They encourage any company to start small and build with sustainable practices, and not give up."
Pacific Software Publishing, Inc. (PSP) is a returning best workplace that is committed to reducing its carbon footprint by establishing greener practices. PSP strives to implement the best technology available that allows the company to effectively help the environment and provide customers with the best services.
PSP participates in the Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power Program to support development and use of renewable energy products in the Pacific Northwest region. PSP currently purchases 33 percent of its monthly electrical services for its Bellevue corporate office from the Puget Sound Energy Green Power Program.
PSP provides recycling bins at each workstation and in common areas to promote the reduction of waste and encourages staff to pitch in whenever possible. Trays of scratch paper are also available by the printers and copy machines to encourage recycling. In addition to providing remote assistance to its customers, thus eliminating carbon emissions altogether, PSP helps to reduce pollution by driving fuel efficient cars such as Smart Cars to customer sites, when needed.
Pacific Software Publishing, Inc. takes appropriate measures to dispose of potentially hazardous materials such as fluorescent light bulbs, paint and used various cleaning agents. As a technology company, PSP has created a computer and hardware recycling program for its clients to dispose of old and used machines in an environmentally friendly manner.
PCC Natural Markets operates three locations within King Country that are outside of the city of Seattle but all nine PCC stores have had extensive energy efficiency, water conservation and waste reduction practices in place for several years. Named a Best Workplace for the past four years, PCC continues to monitor improvement in key areas. For example, in 2009, 65 percent of PCC shoppers at King County stores brought or elected not to use a bag for their baggable purchases, compared to 51percent in 2008.
Philips Oral Healthcare is returning for its fourth year as a Best Workplace because of its continued efforts to create a more sustainable workplace. The company, which manufactures Sonicare products, has an established Environmental Management System to manage recycling throughout its facilities and to implement new practices. Philips holds annual events on Earth Day and a sustainability fair to promote employee environmental awareness and involvement. As part of the Sustainability Fair, employees are encouraged to bring unwanted home electronics to work for collection and recycling. Phillips Oral Healthcare has expanded its recycling program to include employee’s home fluorescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Phillips Oral Healthcare has ended all dependency on bottled water at the company’s Snoqualmie facility. By coordinating the education of employees, contractors and management, Philips was able to stress the environmental challenges of plastic bottles as well as change employees' perception of the quality of tap water. At all meetings, the company serves water in pitchers rather than plastic water bottles. Philips also promotes waste reduction by purchasing a minimum of 30 percent post consumer recycled content office products and setting eco goals at a corporate level to reduce product packaging.
Advice to Others: “Find ways to simplify processes, using existing operations and equipment, and get management support. Make sure goals are set and status reports with cost savings are then provided back to management.”
Pogacha restaurant in Issaquah is returning as a best workplace for the second year in a row. Pogacha was aware of waste reduction when it began recycling cooking oil long before it was the trend. The restaurant started composting its food waste last year, and has had great success. Pogacha has cut its garbage by over half, and even inspired many of its staff members to begin composting at home. As a business, Pogacha has supported local movements to prohibit the use of non recyclable materials in restaurants. As another way to reduce waste and make presentation more attractive, Pogacha even often offers to provide reusable platters for catered events that the customer can return to the restaurant. Pogacha is always looking for environmentally conscious solutions, especially those that are also appealing to its customers.
Advice to others: “We did have initial resistance to the changes, but the transition was really smooth, and we would suggest that any business at least give it a shot. We think other businesses would be surprised by how easy it is to create a new way of doing things.”
Bellevue based Printex Press is an environmentally friendly commercial printing company that uses sustainable printing practices and is returning for the second year in a row as a best workplace. Printex Press is a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified printer who is committed to sustainable manufacturing practices within its facility. Printex specializes in educating its customers on paper choices that promote environmental sustainability and use FSC-certified and recycled stock whenever possible to print projects on. Its certification also provides customers with an additional option to help reduce the environmental impact of their printed materials.
Printex Press’ Thermal Direct printing plates are produced digitally on a computer-to-plate device and processed on press without the use of harmful chemicals, which also reduces water consumption. Printex Press also uses soy and other vegetable-based inks that are less harmful to the environment than their petroleum-based counterparts. Printex Press and its employees participate in the City of Bellevue’s Business Commingled Recycling program. Printex also recycles paper products, metal plates and encourages employees to make environmentally conscientious choices.
Advice to Others: “As a printer, we recommend printing your office stationery items, brochures, promotional materials and any other printed material you use on a paper which is FSC certified and contains as high of a recycled content as possible.”
Roth Hill is a best workplace for the third year in a row because they continually look for new ways to reduce, recycle and reuse. When they recently moved, the company encouraged staff to go through their paper files and folders and recycled unnecessary documents. Roth Hill’s recycling company picked up more frequently the week prior to its move and reported recycling more than a ton of paper.
The new office has water coolers instead of bottled water, which has reduced energy usage and water bottle waste. The coolers provide filtered hot, cold, and room temperature water, and the staff can utilize the coolers as efficient one-stop shops. Roth Hill provides its staff with whole bean coffee for the coffee machines, and employees use only what is needed. As a result, there is less waste of coffee and paper filters. Previously, the ground coffee was portion controlled which meant many individual plastic packages of ground coffee, and now that waste is eliminated. Roth Hill uses Trellis Earth’s FDA-certified, 100 percent biodegradable cutlery exclusively and is looking into other options for serve ware that are more eco-friendly.
Roth Hill has also implemented various measures to decrease paper use. Roth Hill implemented a new procedure regarding paper copies. Roth Hill encourages all staff to send documents to clients and vendors via e-mailed PDFs, and only mailing hardcopy originals to the intended recipients. This method allows Roth Hill to both save postage and the amount of paper being generated to send out all the paper copies. Its marketing department purchased recycled premium product giveaways in notebooks that utilize 80 percent recycled for their covers, and 100 percent recycled lined paper for the notepads.
Advice to others: “Our staff empowers us by embracing the steps we take to encourage recycling in the office. We are heartened by their efforts and are rewarded when we see the recycle bins full to overflowing, whereas the garbage bins continue to remain at levels far below what we would expect in an office our size. That alone proves our efforts to ‘go green’ are not wasted ones.”
Rowley Properties is a returning best workplace for the third year in a row and has been maintaining its comprehensive construction waste recycling program. Rowley Properties collect and recycle copper, steel, brass, gypsum wall board and lumber from every project without exception. In addition to these materials, cardboard, paper, plastic, aluminum and other typically recycled materials are collected and recycled. Whenever possible, existing structures and materials are reused through cooperative efforts between Rowley Properties and tenants during the design phase of the tenant improvement process. Some examples are wall assemblies, doors, relights, hardware, light fixtures, cabinets and plumbing products. Finally, the use of recycled and readily renewable products is emphasized during material selection. Millwork, floor coverings, steel studs, gypsum wall board ceiling tiles and cove base are all examples of opportunities to use these products.
Advice to others: If a workplace recycling program is implemented properly, the activity will expand to all aspects of your employees’ lives. Whether they’re at home, at work or somewhere in between, recycling will be so ingrained that they will always seek out ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Simplicity Décor is a returning Best Workplace because the company tries their best to be environmentally conscious and responsible to both the public and internally. Simplicity Décor offers a wide range of products that are either made locally, made in the United States and/or made with recycled materials. Internally, Simplicity Décor is putting recycling and waste reduction into action – whether it is through recycling wood pallets, scraps, plastics and electronic equipment, using 30 percent post consumer recycled content or compostable products, or having a program in place to reuse surplus furniture or other durable items. Paper usage is reduced through double-sided printing, eliminating unnecessary reports, forms and unsolicited mail, as well as circulating memos, documents, reports and publications and posting announcements on bulletin boards.
"Reduce, reuse and recycle" is part of Sound Intellectual Property PLLC’s business plan, and it proudly promotes as such. By extending internal green practices to its clients and vendors through the extensive use of electronic communications and requests for the same, consumables are significantly reduced with efficiencies while monetary savings are increased.
Sound Intellectual Property PLLC has championed recycled practices – from recycling to food waste reduction to paper waste reduction. Some recycled materials at Sound Intellectual Property beyond the usual plastics, aluminum and paper include scrap metal, used electronic equipment and used toner cartridges. Sound Intellectual Property has a kitchen on site with a dishwasher that allows employees to bring their own lunches. The kitchen’s cafeteria has dishware, glassware and flatware. The company does not offer single use water bottles. Many of the office furnishings at Sound Intellectual Property are used or made with recycled materials. Electronic communication is emphasized, such as having all faxes received and sent electronically, eliminating unnecessary documents and circulating documents rather than printing and copying everything.
The Summit at Snoqualmie continues to build on their recycling/waste reduction program and is a returning best workplace for the third year in a row. Employees gained more awareness about the company’s recycling program through improved educational opportunities and orientation materials. The key success for the program has been hiring a recycling coordinator with access to a company truck to collect recyclables and transport them to the Snoqualmie Pass transfer station. The recycling coordinator is also hauling used fryer oil to their maintenance shop where it is filtered and mixed with diesel to fuel shuttle buses. New this year, The Summit at Snoqualmie purchased its first trash compactor which resulted in less hauling trips by the garbage vendor.
Symetria Financial is a returning Best Workplace because of its commitment to the environment. After relocating to Bellevue in 2005 from Redmond, the company was surprised to find out that many of their previous recycling processes did not exist in their newly leased buildings. Symetra made sure to keep using recycled paper and continued to recycle batteries, toner, computer equipment and office supplies, but elements of their recycling regimen were still missing. Symetra continually worked with its property managers to include basic recycling practices such as can, paper, aluminum, glass and plastic. It added composting in 2009, which has been very successful. In addition, the company implemented stronger internal programs by adding projectors to conference rooms to encourage digital meetings, and posting “turn the light off” signage in all conference rooms. Symetra has continued to provide a generous commute option program in 2010; encouraging employees to use alternative commutes (to driving alone). Symetra is always looking for ways to enrich the company’s green programs and calls employees its best champions to help reach its environmental goals.
Advice to others: “Symetra's employees are our best advocates for recycling. We engage them - keep them informed of progress and programs - and they do the rest! If your employees are engaged in recycling, you can incorporate their ideas and implement them. It is your best method for success.”
LEED certified, green, environmentally friendly thinkspace, LLC strives for sustainability in all that it does, from using low or no-VOC paints, recycling compostable food scraps and serving exclusively fair trade coffee to its clients. Google Docs is used to reduce paper consumption and thinkspace has reduced electrical consumption by replacing old light bulbs with new high efficiency bulbs incorporated with motion sensors so that no office lighting is left on without need. The company has begun using dishware instead of paper and plastic, along with an energy/water efficient dishwasher.
Advice to others: “It is not hard to recycle once the process is explained and in place. Also, having easy to follow signage around the common areas helps guide employees to make a difference. It only takes a small effort everyday to make a positive environmental footprint around the workplace and community.”
Timber Ridge at Talus is the only continuing care retirement community in the country that has a LEED certified built building. The staff educates residents on the importance of recycling and frequently has participatory meetings to discuss more ways to recycle. Their senior residents are very recycle-conscious. As a result, Timber Ridge at Talus has changed some of the ways it does business, such as obtaining Greenware compostable items for take out food from its kitchen. Timber Ridge at Talus has a room on each of its nine floors with separate chutes for trash and recycling, and boxes for used batteries, CFL light bulbs, and newspaper. The community also has a separate small dumpster just for recycling plastic shopping bags.
Timber Ridge is active in the community with its assistance to the At Work Recycling Center in Issaquah. The Timber Ridge community collects all of the newspapers, bundles them and takes them to the At Work Recycling Center where it hires developmentally handicapped young adults. The money that the At Work Recycling Center in Issaquah receives from the newspapers helps to pay for their center. Timber Ridge also takes all of its e-cycle materials to the At Work Recycling Center—electronics may include computers, printers, televisions, and any other electronic devices that would otherwise end up in the trash. Timber Ridge is also in the process of obtaining a cardboard baling machine so it can sell the bales to offset the cost of garbage removal. They also have a contract with a company that picks up all of its food scraps, compostable take out items, grass and yard waste trimmings and grease from the kitchen.
The UPS Store is a packing and shipping company that has been committed to recycling programs since 2002, including the recycling of packaging peanuts and bubble wrap. Customers can bring in their packaging materials and the UPS Store re-uses them. The UPS Store also reuses mailing boxes and envelopes. In addition, the UPS Store works with other companies that recycle used printer cartridges and used cell phones. It has taken great strides to reduce paper mail by maximizing their use of electronic mail and voice mail for mailings and communication and reducing unsolicited mail. In addition, UPS stores ensure that used toner cartridges are recycled or refilled and that indoor recycling bins are plentiful.
The Westin Bellevue Hotel returns as a second year Best Workplace recipient. The Westin Bellevue encourages staff and guests to integrate various methods of greener living into their daily lives. Hotel staff reduces, reuses, and recycles wherever possible. At the Westin all employees are encouraged to bring their own coffee mug or water container to reduce the usage of water bottles, and they are encouraged to turn computers and lights off when not in use. In the food and beverage department, cooking oil is recycled and food waste is composted. The Westin uses battery operated candles in dining areas and the batteries are recycled appropriately. The Westin also has a “Greener Meetings” program that involves 100percent paper recycling, digital copies of meeting materials and offers multiple options for clients to further “green” their meeting. By blending an upscale, luxury hotel experience with low impact living practices, the Westin offers guests the peace of mind of knowing they are doing business with an organization that has the environment in mind. The Westin also supports local vendors, neighbors and merchants and does their best to promote the good work they are doing throughout the community.
Yoga Centers incorporates recycling and waste reduction and other environmentally-friendly practices in its centers. Yoga Centers’ commitment to environmentally-friendly practices is in direct alignment with its purpose in helping create a happy planet. The staff is committed to recycling, and new employees receive recycling program orientation when hired. Recycling bins are prominently placed with how-to labels or posters and bins are also large and plentiful. Yoga Centers also does much to reduce its paper usage, from designing mailers that avoid the use of envelopes, circulating documents rather than copying, and maximizing the use of e-mail and voicemail for communication. Yoga Centers reuses mailing boxes and envelopes and only uses at least 30 percent post consumer recycled content office products. Internal documents are circulated with legible minor hand corrections rather than retyping drafts, while duplicate names and out-of-date entries are removed from mailing lists.
American Classic Homes Real Estate is a fourth-year recipient of the Best Workplaces Award and consistently makes improvements in their day-to-day operations to make their green practices even better.
American Classic Homes has made great strides in reducing the amount of paper used by requesting that all title and escrow companies send title reports electronically. Printed copies are available for customers on request. When closing escrow, American Classic Homes requests that Department of Housing and Urban Development documents be sent electronically so that the documents can be forwarded to the customer by e-mail. Going the extra yard to inspire others to reduce paper waste, American Classic Homes requests that title or mortgage representatives provide only one copy of items for distribution so that it can be posted by agent mailboxes for their attention. Their next mission: persuade the Northwest Multiple Listing Service to use electronic signatures and make all necessary changes to documents electronically so that they only need to be printed once.
Advice to others: “If your business is new to recycling, be patient with staff training. Our best advice is to keep it going. We struggled with finding paper in the garbage and garbage in the recycle bin for over a year. Regular progress updates have kept staff motivated and allowed us to reduce our environmental impact and save money.”
Applus Technologies, Inc. is a global, environmentally-focused provider of customized information technology and management solutions and is returning as a best workplace for the second year in a row. Applus Technologies Inc. provides Washington state with emissions control and helps meet Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington State Department of Ecology standards on emissions control.
Applus Technologies implemented many new programs this past year, including establishing a recycling committee consisting of one or two individuals from every station to create and implement new ways we can become more environmentally focused. Another example is an internal recycling website for all Applus Technologies employees to view and obtain information and also blog about ideas.
As a member-owned, not-for-profit credit union with more than 600,000 members, BECU is guided by the credit union principle of "people helping people" and this principle extends beyond responsible financial services. BECU is committed to shifting the way they do business in order to support a greener environment for many generations to come. The free paperless banking options and employee commuting programs are examples of how BECU has changed their practices to make a positive impact. Commuting programs provide BECU employees with alternatives and incentives to reduce or eliminate drive-alone commutes. BECU also offers a free annual transit pass for all employees, carpooling with preferred parking, vanpooling with preferred parking, free trip planning, guaranteed ride home (set number of annual paid rides home for unexpected work situations for employees who carpool, vanpool, or ride the bus or train to work), telecommuting, and flexible work schedules. They also encourage members to use free paperless banking options by offering a Member Advantage Account that rewards members with a higher rate on their checking and savings just for using paperless services such as eStatements, Online Banking, Bill Payment and Direct Deposit. In addition, BECU has a paperless mortgage process utilizing digital signatures which significantly reduces paper and improves member privacy. In 2009, BECU went to an all electronic monthly member newsletter. BECU recognizes that strong communities depend on a healthy environment and are fully committed to making a difference in all the communities they serve.
The City of Kent has numerous recycling and waste reduction programs in place in its offices. The city has a recycling coordinator and team who “champions” the recycling program and keeps the staff engaged and excited about the program. During its staff meetings and conferences, recycling and food scraps composting is collected. The city also has a program to reuse or surplus furniture and other durable items and an employee classifieds program for employees to reuse, recycle and/or sell items. The city recently started a compact fluorescent light collection program for employees. If the program proceeds safely, the city hopes to make the collection program available to the public. Kent also implemented an Eco-Hero Award program to recognize employees who go the extra mile to meet city council sustainability goals.
Named a "Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction" for the past two years, the City of SeaTac continues to promote waste reduction by maintaining practices started in previous years, promoting positive change with its education and outreach program, and offering Spring and Fall collection events for its residents. New for 2010 is the food scrap recycling program now active in five city facilities, that includes the senior lunch program at the North SeaTac Park Community Center. Additionally, the City has installed 17 Steelcycle recyclers at various sites inside the ball field complexes, and adjacent to the tennis and basketball areas at the Valley Ridge Park sports field, averaging approximately 200 pounds of clean recyclable bottles and cans per week. The Parks Department plans on expanding the program to the Angle Lake Park area to see how the program will work in open park space as well. The City of SeaTac continues to improve their energy efficiency throughout their current facilities and incorporates energy saving concepts in future City facility projects.
Advice to others: “Advocating overall sustainability and encouraging resource efficiency is best led not only by public education, but also by example as to the behaviors and policies that an organization has adopted and practices. Championing sustainability in an environment needs to partner with the responsibility of promoting change by example.”
The City of Tukwila tries to "walk its talk" by having an effective recycling program for its employees. Within the past 12 months, Tukwila has converted their recycling program to a mixed system for paper and cans. Employees have the option of having custodial staff take and empty their recycling containers, or doing it themselves. The city has recently developed an "Earth Day" pledge. By pledging to implement several resource-conserving measures, employees receive a reusable shopping bag. The City of Tukwila is also increasing recycling opportunities for the public at large and visible city-sponsored events, including recycling and food recycling at the Backyard Wildlife Festival, Fourth of July and Tukwila Days. Tukwila is also providing portable recycling containers for the public to use at games and rental events at the Community Center.
The Doubletree Hotel Seattle Airport has a successful recycling program in place that offers its associates and guests the opportunity to participate in waste diversion. The Doubletree Hotel is currently recycling cardboard, mixed recycling, glass and food waste and is working on a guest room recycling program to capture recyclables left in the guest rooms. It is also recycling cooking oil by converting the oil to biodiesel. A successful 'tote' system captures glass bottles from banquet and food and beverage operation. Due to its recycling program, the Doubletree Hotel was able to reduce the compactor hauls to landfill and save money on solid waste costs.
Dynacraft, a PACCAR Company, is highly committed to waste reduction, recycling, conserving natural resources, and protecting the environment. Some of their recent initiatives include implementing a No Idle policy and establishing a Zero Waste to Landfill goal. Since 2008, the Dynacraft Algona facility has reduced waste to landfill from 28 to 3 percent, a reduction of nearly 90 percent. This reduction has been achieved by the cumulative efforts of their workforce to reduce, reuse, and recycle products. Specific areas of waste reduction include recycling programs for metal, wood, paper, cardboard, plastic, toner, light tubes, batteries, and compost.
Dynacraft employees are continuously trained and use a management system to reduce the environmental impacts of its operations, activities, products, and services. Their success can be attributed to using strategically located recycle bins and returnable shipping containers, reducing packaging material.
Advice to others: “Remain diligent in the pursuit to reduce and reuse for the betterment of the environment. We recommend that businesses establish and incorporate policies focused on best practices for recycling and waste reduction. In addition, it is important to reach out to others in the community and share ideas. It takes the combined efforts of all to make the most difference.”
Flaming Geyser State Park participates in recycling and reducing waste in several ways. No recycling collection is available in the area, so park staff make the extra effort of collecting paper, aluminum and plastics and taking it to the local transfer station on a regular basis. Flaming Geyser purchases 100 percent post-consumer recycle content printer paper and scratch pads are created from waste paper. Recycle bins are available in the park’s shop and office and recycling receptacles are located throughout the park for public use. Flaming Geyser Sate Park also participate in an intra-park "Share Your Spare" program with other parks in the region, from Enumclaw to Burlington, to share and reuse items.
Advice to others: “Do what you can. Even if your business is small and recycling efforts seem like they might not make a difference, they do. Every little bit adds up.”
Frito Lay Inc. is a global snack food distribution company. The Federal Way facility was a 2009 Best Workplace as a result of their Zero Landfill recycling efforts which were introduced to all Frito Lay Inc employees nationwide on Earth Day. Since then, the Federal Way facility now recycles nearly 90 percent of its total waste.
Frito Lay's Federal Way location sells over 50,000 cardboard cases of product each week and every case is returned to the manufacturing plant for re-use. The cases are used up to 10 times before being recycled, resulting in 75,000 pounds of cardboard per week removed from the waste stream. The site also recycles all plastic bottles, aluminum cans and office paper, and the facility composts paper towels, coffee filters and all food contaminated paper.
To help conserve energy, Frito Lay installed motion sensors in all offices and replaced less efficient warehouse lights with newer energy efficient lights. In an effort to conserve water, the facility also installed rain sensors on their irrigation systems. Frito Lay's PAC NW Region recently held an Earth Day event with over 1,400 employees in 16 locations. In addition to receiving a personal coffee mug for reuse, the employees were able to go through all of the recycling centers and learn what Frito Lay and the facilities are doing to promote responsible environmental stewardship and what they can do as individuals to reduce their personal carbon footprints.
Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center has expanded its comprehensive recycling program throughout the hotel with notable improvements. Due to the diversion of both comingled and compostable material in its conference center, the Hilton was able to 'flip' its solid waste compactor from trash to recycling and downsize its yard waste dumpster. A guest room recycling program provides each guest room with a brown paper bag for guests to put comingled recyclables. The bags have printed instructions on them as to what to include in the comingled recycling. When rooms are cleaned, the bags are collected and put in a comingled recycling dumpster on the loading dock. All Hilton associates have worked hard to keep recyclables out of the landfill and last year recycled 20 tons of cardboard, 51 tons of comingled recycling and 33 tons of food waste.
Advice to others: “ Continually seek ways to improve your recycling program and do your best to include recycling as part of your company or business culture.”
Kennedy/Jenks Consultants is a civil engineering and environmental sciences consulting firm and is a Best Workplace for the fourth year in a row. The Federal Way office recycles as part of their corporate GreenSteps Program. Recycling has been a part of the office procedures and each year they find more ways to increase their recycling efforts. Recycling bins are in all offices for paper, plastic, cans and cardboard. Kennedy/Jenks Consultants have a reuse area for mailing boxes, envelopes and other office materials as part of the office waste reduction system. Employee education is offered along with labels and posters to keep staff up to date on changes or any additions to the program. They also collect and return used toner cartridges.
Kenworth Truck Company is a returning recipient for the second year in a row as a Best Workplace because of its commitment in providing fuel-saving technology solutions that help increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. The company’s dedication to the green fleet includes aerodynamic trucks, medium duty diesel-electric hybrids, liquefied natural gas trucks, and the Kenworth Clean Power®no-idle system. In addition, last year, Kenworth Truck Company became the first truck manufacturer to receive the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Excellence award in recognition of Kenworth’s hybrid vehicles and other Kenworth environmental efforts.
Kenworth has remained diligent in its commitment to waste reduction, conserving natural resources, and protecting the environment. Employees remain dedicated to sustaining programs such as Zero Waste to Landfill, compliance with ISO 14001, and the use of returnable containers. Their Zero Waste to Landfill goal is to reuse and recycle in order to reduce their landfill contribution. Their recycling efforts have resulted in nearly 80 percent of all material being diverted away from landfills. Their success can be attributed to the strategic positioning of recycle bins throughout the plant, use of returnable shipping containers, reduction in packaging material, and the segregation of waste streams. In addition, last year they also implemented food waste composting in their cafeteria and sending waste to Cedar Grove for recycling into usable compost.
Kenworth’s efforts to seek new opportunities to reduce reuse, and recycle has expanded with a focus on energy usage. The Kenworth Renton plant has pledged to reduce energy intensity by 25 percent over the next 10 years, and is currently working towards becoming one of the first companies in the world to achieve an ISO 50001 energy management certification.
Advice to others: “We recommend that businesses diligently look both inside and outside their walls for opportunities to improve. By keeping current on related topics and networking, many good ideas and resources can be found to assist in their goals.”
Auburn business LMI Aerospace, Inc. is returning for the second year in a row as a best workplace for recycling and waste reduction. Their focus in 2010 has been addressing waste prevention. LMI Aerospace has been successful this past year through its initiatives in teaching employees different ways to reduce, reuse and then recycle. By incorporating fun into their recycling program, LMI Aerospace has been able to keep employees involved and motivated to find new ways to achieve their goals.
The company also fabricates components and sheet metal products primarily for large commercial, corporate and military aircraft. In order to combat their large quantities of trash LMI Aerospace has a green team to focus on improving recycling methods, increasing employee awareness and encouraging participation. They also have an employee classifieds to help promote the reuse of surplus furniture and other durable items. The green team continues to champion the recycling program throughout the year by setting recycling goals, which are tracked and then reported back to employees. Recycling guidelines are also included in orientation materials.
When McMonigle Veterinary Hospital remodeled its office, it made many environmentally friendly improvements to the building. McMonigle Veterinary Hospital invested in many eco-friendly products, such as bamboo flooring, a tank-less water heater, water saving toilets, and a high efficiency washing machine. It also added skylights for natural lighting and lots of insulation, and converted to eco-friendly soaps. To help improve the wetlands on their property, the hospital added 200 plants of native species around Mill Creek. It recently converted to a “paperlight” practice. Instead of writing chart notes in paper files, the hospital now puts everything into the computer which allows them to use significantly less paper.
McMonigle Veterinary Hospital encourages employees to be creative in reusing hospital supplies and opt for eco-friendly products when available. For example, the hospital reuses IV fluid bags as paw bandage covers and they use cat litter made from recycled newspaper in the hospital. The hospital also receives refrigerated drugs on a weekly basis and gives them away to clients and people in the community which allows them to be reused and prevents them from sitting in landfills. McMonigle Veterinary Hospital also provides flexible hours to employees to accommodate their commuting options.
The Port of Seattle at Seattle Tacoma International Airport has implemented new programs that increase recycling opportunities for its tenants, business partners and the traveling public. The Port has developed an environmental strategy plan that defines specific five-year goals for waste reduction and recycling. The plan includes the development of a comprehensive solid waste management plan that will identify the opportunities and programs that will help Sea-Tac Airport achieve established waste reduction goals. The port has published and circulated an educational brochure for airport employees that communicates the airport’s recycling procedures. Sea-Tac Airport Concessions received an Airport Council International, North America, recognition award for its accomplishments in recycling and waste reduction. In addition, under new standards, Airport Conference Center catering service providers are required to use compostable service ware and packaging for all catered events.
In keeping with its corporate goal to be a zero-waste-to-landfill company by the year 2020, REI’s headquarters in Kent promotes employee engagement in their recycling programs. The campus provides the resources for employees to recycle batteries, CFL lamps, bike tubes, and cell phones for business and personal items. It also has programs in place for recycling paper, plastics aluminum, and compostables. REI also publishes its recycling opportunities to campus employees via its Corporate Services intranet page. The resource describes all of its campus recycling programs, as well as provides links to County Wastemobile schedules and hazmat pickups to assist employees with their personal household recyclables.
Safeway Inc – Auburn Distribution Center embraces environmentally friendly initiatives throughout its operation. The Auburn Distribution Center collects many items from stores and their warehouse facilities to recycle, including: Antifreeze, cardboard, compost, grease, meat and bone scraps, metal, motor oil, pallets, plastics, strapping, tires and wood. In 2009, a green team was formed with each warehouse operation providing one team member. The green team aggressively explored new recycling opportunities at their warehouse. Thanks to improved recycling, the Auburn Distribution Center has been able to move their trash pickup to an on-demand system as opposed to a weekly pickup system. Each team member was able to bring unique items into the recycling stream. All in all, the distribution center has been able to reduce their trash by 65 percent in six.
The Seattle Airport Marriott Hotel is a King County Best Workplace for the third year in a row because of their continued dedication to recycling and diverting materials from the landfill. The hotel has a recycling program in place that includes baling cardboard, comingled recycling and food scraps\organic recycling. Last year, the Seattle Airport Marriott Hotel implemented the collection of food waste from the employee cafeteria for recycling and the program has been very successful. In addition to the pre- and post-consumer food waste that is collected from the kitchen, the hotel is recycling the food scraps from employee lunches. The food waste recycling program allows all associates an opportunity to be involved and engaged.
The Seattle Airport Marriott Hotel has been collecting comingled recycling from the guest rooms and the housekeeping department has a process in which mixed recycling from the guest rooms are collected in clear liners and black bags are used for trash. The hotel has also implemented public area recycling with brand new recycling containers in several public areas of the hotel. The Marriott Hotel has found that their guests have been very receptive to these containers and appreciate their efforts to divert recyclables from the landfill. The kitchen and banquet staff continue to enliven the organic food waste recycling program and recycled approximately 24 tons of food waste last year. The hotel has also been able to change the compactor from scheduled pickups to on call service. The Seattle Airport Marriott Hotel continues to work to identify opportunities to increase their waste diversion and recycling efforts.
Starfire Sports, a non-profit soccer complex, has made countless efforts to truly become a green company. Over 1 million customers visit the complex throughout the year, attending events, tournaments and major soccer games. With such large events, about 16 yards of trash and 32 yards of recyclable materials are generated per week. Due to the large volume of waste and recyclable materials generated, Starfire Sports offers recycling bins in every possible location throughout the complex. Since increasing the number of available bins to 50, Starfire Sports has seen a 75 percent reduction in waste materials.
Starfire Sports encourages their visitors and sports enthusiasts to recycle their single use water and sports beverage bottles. In a continued effort to make sure every item is recycled, facility staff removes any recyclable items from trash bins before the trash is dumped. Starfire Sports has recently installed hand dryers to help eliminate the use of paper towels throughout the complex and are looking into non-bottled beverages in the concession stand to continue to reduce plastic bottle recycling. They have found a major reduction in paper waste due to the addition of the hand dryers.
The soccer complex encourages staff to remain green by printing and copying only those documents that are needed and the Human Resources department handles many of the hiring and employee documents through email or the company’s internal intranet. To continue efforts to reduce waste, Starfire Sports are looking into purchasing a compactor to reduce waste. Starfire Sports continues to pursue other options to continue their efforts to be ”green”.
Advice to others: “Start small, pick one thing that you can do and stick to it. Invite your employees to offer suggestions, and work with them to make an impact and a difference by doing the things that they suggest. Keep every effort going forward, don't give up and add changes slowly. Recycle when you can, and do your best to reduce your waste. Every change will help the earth and keep it green!”
For the third year in a row as a best workplace, TOPICS Entertainment continues to encourage and progressively enhance companywide environmental responsibility. TOPICS educates employees about proper recycling practices through guidelines in orientation materials and with "how-to recycle" posters and labels. TOPICS Entertainment’s efforts to promote and improve waste prevention practices are visible throughout the workplace - recycling bins are placed at each workstation, printer, copier, fax machine and garbage bin. As a result of its strong recycling practices, TOPICS has downsized its waste containers from two10-yard Dumpsters with twice-a-week collection service to a single five-yard Dumpster with once-a-week service. Currently, its volume of waste rarely reaches a capacity of 60 percent.
Company efforts to increase recycling and reduce its environmental impact reach beyond in-house operations. The company collaborates with retailers and suppliers to consider sustainable techniques using post-consumer recycled materials, reduce packaging size and the amount of materials required for production. In addition, distribution methods that require the least amount of transport are also practiced. Staff understanding of recycling and waste reduction encompasses all aspects of environmental awareness. TOPICS Entertainment also promotes an eco-car incentive program to encourage employee awareness by the reduction of individual emission impact on the environment.
Torklift International is a Best Workplace because they are committed to manufacturing their products with sustainability in mind. Torklift International recently partnered with another company’s "Green RV" campaign to pioneer environmentalism in the RV industry. In addition to the recycling practices already in place at Torklift International, their latest display serves as its own shipping package and is made of at least 10 percent recycled cardboard. which reduces all the costs associated with shipping steel products while reducing their carbon footprint. Torklift International takes pride in reusing all scrap metal, and any parts that come back due to damage or defects are melted down or retrofitted to be useful parts again. Torklift products use green technology such as solar powered tape for the "glow" on their glow step products and projects still in the research and development phase.
Updated: Sep. 4, 2012