Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction
Each spring, businesses in King County outside of the City of Seattle are invited to demonstrate their commitment to waste reduction and recycling and apply for recognition as a Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction. This year, King County’s Solid Waste Division has named 89 local businesses to its fifth annual “Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction” list, and introduced a new Honor Roll for businesses that have made the list for five years in a row. Honor roll Best Workplace businesses are identified by their logo and an honor roll graphic image along with their profiles below.
Each business listed has put exceptional recycling programs into place and shown commitment to reducing the amount of waste their company sends to the landfill. Their actions help reduce the impacts of climate change and feed recycled materials back into the economy.
The 2011 list spans a wide array of businesses in King County from arts and entertainment to retail. Innovative recycling and waste reduction strategies also run the gamut, from Salish Lodge and Spa’s daily employee e-mails with “green topics of the day,” to Pacific Software Publishing’s occasional free computer repair that allows customers to continue using their computers and avoid disposal, to Sound IP’s commitment to using fewer than six reams of copy paper in one year.
Many businesses have included advice to others in their profiles. Be inspired, learn something new and glean ideas for your own business by viewing the 2011 Best Workplace profiles below. Congratulations to each 2011 Best Workplace!
This year’s Best Workplace profiles are organized by business categories. Click the following to jump to a category.
Note: all links are external
King County congratulates Yoga Centers on their fifth consecutive appearance on the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list, earning them a spot on the honor roll. Yoga Centers is a small business that takes their responsibility to the environment seriously. Standard operating procedures include recycling paper, reusing packing materials and using dishes and silverware in place of disposable food service items. Yoga Centers purchases and uses minimum 30 percent post-consumer recycled content for their office supplies and they design mailers without the use of envelopes. Single-use water bottles are not offered within their studios in order to encourage the use of refillable water containers.
The Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art is already in the business of recycling, since they sell antique dolls and toys! But apart from that, they have taken a number of steps to reduce waste. All packing materials are reused including boxes, bubble wrap and packing peanuts. Shipping materials are purchased infrequently, but when needed, the Rosalie Whyel Museum purchases only recyclable or reusable materials.
To further reduce paper waste, the Museum unsubscribes to all catalogs and unsolicited mailings and faxes and has significantly reduced the number of paper mailings by offering electronic receipt of their newsletters and other notifications. The Museum’s office also has a dedicated station for recycling printer toners and ink cartridges and batteries, and employees are encouraged to bring these items from home.
Advice to others: “Monitor your incoming faxes and mail. Unsubscribe to catalogs and unsolicited mailings. By doing this we have significantly reduced our paper waste.”
Starfire Sports is a soccer campus that hosts 12 outdoor and two indoor soccer fields, with approximately 20 youth and 16 adult soccer teams attending practices or games every day. With this many daily soccer participants, Starfire ends up with a lot of recyclable water bottles and food packaging waste, prompting them to place additional recycling bins in locations throughout their 14 fields.
Over the last year Starfire Sports has increased their overall recycling by 14.5 percent. Apart from the obvious environmental benefits, they saved more than $3,250 dollars in waste disposal fees. Other additional changes in business practices include going paperless in all lines of business—this includes instituting online registration programs, field rentals and staff schedules, as well as electronic pay stubs for each employee. The pay stub process alone has decreased the use of envelopes, printer paper and toner by 2 percent, with an expected annual savings of $208.
Advice to others: “The best practice we have found is to place a recycle bin next to your trash bin. People are becoming more concerned about the environment and are looking for ways to take care of it. If garbage and recycling bins are located next to each other, we have found that people will make the effort to recycle. This has been one of the best lessons we have learned to help our planet.”
At The Summit at Snoqualmie recycling efforts and awareness continue to thrive, with a designated champion: The “Recycling Coordinator” position. Managers are now putting more pressure on vendors to reduce the amount of packaging materials. The Summit’s used fryer oil program has proven successful by providing about 1,000 gallons per season of fuel to their diesel shuttle buses, and they plan to build a separate shed with heat for the mixing and storage of this biofuel. To further reduce fuel usage, the Summit partnered with King County last season to create two Vanpools for the use of full-time staff.
The Summit at Snoqualmie was proud to incorporate their “reuse” thinking into bigger capital improvements. Last season they were able to install two chairlifts by reusing three old chairlifts. This endeavor also proved that economic efficiency and recycling are often synonymous.
TOPICS Entertainment believes corporate responsibility is as important as profits and growth, and they continue to encourage environmental responsibility among their employees. Their focus on recycling and waste reduction can be seen at all levels of the company, from recycling rubber bands to product packaging. The company finds that it is not one single action that makes a difference, but the combination of small practices that have an impact and give them pride in their recycling efforts. This past year TOPICS focused their efforts on growing the usage of reusable coffee mugs, donating sample products to employees, and recycling discontinued or damaged electronic media. As a result, their volume of waste continues to decrease.
King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction welcomes Bellevue School District to the list. To encourage green practices, Bellevue School District employs an aggressive recycling and waste reduction program in which all schools within the District are required to participate. As part of the program, all schools are required to take part in the King County Green Schools program. Currently, every school in the District has completed level one: waste reduction recycling requirements; half of the District has completed level two, and the rest have completed level three of the three-part program. Faculty and staff also take steps to reuse or surplus furniture or other durable items, and used electronic equipment is donated, sold or recycled.
Advice to others: “For other school districts, we recommend that you require recycling at all sites and require all schools to form a team that will participate in the program. Follow up with recycling promotion by downsizing garbage dumpsters to immediately start cutting costs, and encourage reuse of materials and waste reduction in addition to recycling. Make sure to include top level support, including superintendents.”
Since earning a place on the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list last year, Bastyr University has continued to increase awareness and participation in their ongoing recycling initiatives. Garbage bins have been removed from campus dining commons and replaced with compost and recycling bins. The University has increased their Styrofoam packing and peanut recycling program and now offers CFL-bulb collection stations to both students and the community. The campus recently gained 11 new LEED-platinum certified buildings, with 96 percent of the construction materials from the project having been recycled or re-purposed. The success of their efforts is evident: Bastyr recently reported that their composting program shows an annual diversion of 51 tons of compostable and recyclable materials from the landfill, and the university won a 2011 King County Green Globe Award for “Leader in Sustainable Building Program.”
Advice to others: “We have found that at Bastyr University, collection stations help increase awareness and materials collected. By making these areas accessible and easy for employees, they are more likely to use them. When it comes to workplace recycling and waste reduction, a lifestyle change needs to occur. Similar to someone trying to lose weight—where one needs to exercise more, eat healthier and think differently, the same is true regarding attitudes toward sustainability—it requires a conscious and total effort to change.”
Issaquah School District is a returning Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction and they attribute this to their continued commitment towards recycling and waste reduction programs. Included in the District’s recycling programs are paper, cans, bottles, cell phones, printer cartridges, batteries, fluorescent tubes and electronic equipment. Since implementing their composting program, the District has increased recycling by 3,872 cubic yards per year, increased food scrap recycling by 2,019 cubic yards per year, and reduced garbage volumes by 4,301 cubic yards per year. Schools throughout the District donate used food products to food banks and the summer daycare program, and reusable paper products are used for scratch paper, art work and other uses before it is recycled. Issaquah School District also participates in the King County Green Schools Program, which 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 the district maintain a high quality recycling program in our schools year after year. Recycling and waste reduction programs create financial savings and wonderful educational opportunities. District garbage costs have slightly declined since 2007, even though costs for garbage service have increased. Students become committed to taking care of our planet and positively impacting recycling at home and in their communities.”
Lake Washington School District has put in place several ambitious initiatives to reduce and recycle as much waste as possible. This year, the District is focusing especially on lunch waste by switching to reusable containers instead of Styrofoam as much as possible. The District requires all schools in the district to recycle in classrooms, hallways, gyms and lunchrooms. Food scrap recycling programs have been set up in nearly all of the District's schools in the cities of Redmond and Kirkland, plus several schools outside of those cities. (As an incentive to recycle, Redmond and Kirkland negotiated contracts with their haulers whereby if customers pay for garbage collection, then recycling and composting collection is free.)
All district surplus equipment, from computers to industrial shop equipment, is sold at the annual surplus sale, and anything not sold is recycled at no cost by a local vendor. Waste reduction is a continuous educational effort, and Lake Washington School District ensures that both staff and students are provided clear instructions and easy access to recycling. Through this collective effort, the district reduced trash volume by 21 percent during the 2009-10 school year, while the compost volume increased by almost 50 percent in that same time period.
Shoreline Community College returns to King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list in 2011. As an educational institution, Shoreline is committed to educating its students on proper recycling practices and is proud to report that efforts increase recycling volumes have been successful. The community college recently constructed a Recycling Booth in their Student Union Building lobby to assist in educating staff and students. The booth was a collaborative effort with Shoreline’s recycling vendor, CleanScapes.
Aside from education on good practices, Shoreline Community College engages in its own recycling efforts. Electronic equipment is donated, resold or recycled after its use, and office furnishings are purchased used or made with recycled materials.
2011 brings CH2M Hill their fifth consecutive award and a spot on King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction Honor Roll list. This year CH2M Hill signed up with a recycling program called The Writing Instrument Brigade. This national program allows corporations to be credited for recycling pens, mechanical and wood pencils, and markers, rather than sending them to the landfill. The program, sponsored by Paper Mate and Sharpie, will donate two cents to their designated charity, Engineers Without Borders. CH2M Hill finds this to be a win-win situation—less landfill material, and a donation to a worthwhile charity.
Outside of this program, CH2M Hill offers recycling programs for batteries and electronic media. Employees also have access to an internal classifieds program that allows the movement of durable goods from one to another, reducing the amount of goods going to the landfill.
Advice to others: “Keep your eyes and minds open - every day we can find something to reduce waste.”
King County is proud to welcome HDR Engineering, Inc. to the Best Workplaces Honor Roll. For the fifth year in a row, HDR Engineering has been recognized for stepping up its recycling efforts. Dedicated to achieving its Zero Waste goal, the company made additional improvements this past year. During an office remodel, they kept waste reduction in mind. Instead of buying new, they cleaned up old furniture and sent replaced items to other offices or offered it to staff. The company rented reusable moving crates to avoid cardboard waste, and instead of installing all new carpeting, they cleaned and replaced select carpet squares. They now recycle rinsed cups and all recyclables in desk-side cans, updated signage and presented these changes to all staff. The King County branch convinced company headquarters to send its national, monthly magazine electronically rather than a copy to each employee (more than 3,000 copies per year in Bellevue alone).
Advice to others: “Find staff who are passionate about sustainability and enable them to promote waste reduction, recycling and composting. This is most effective if a “Green Team” works cooperatively on sustainable initiatives and to educate others in the office. It’s also helpful to have clearly defined goals and follow through with each one. Any solution you can come up with to track your progress will help keep employees motivated and serve as a record for your accomplishments.”
King County is happy to welcome Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, Inc to the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list for the fifth year in a row, earning them placement on the honor roll. The Federal Way-based civil engineering and environmental sciences consulting firm is always looking for ways to build on the recycling successes from the year before. Kennedy/Jenks implements an employee classified section to allow employees in the office to exchange and reuse durable items, rather than sending them to the landfill.
The office contains a kitchen with durable dishware, glassware, flatware and a dishwasher to encourage employees to bring their own lunches. Kennedy/Jenks utilizes a recycling team made up of office staff, to coordinate and continue to grow the company’s recycling efforts.
This is CHS Engineers’ first year on King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list. Many of their practices have been ongoing, particularly with the use of recycling bins at every desk, copier and in every work room. CHS does not print memo or sketch pads but encourages use of recycled paper for note, sketches, etc. In conjunction with a recent upgrade to the office copiers, incoming faxes are automatically converted to emails and the fax machine has been retired.
CHS has made a companywide effort to circulate information via electronic files, both internally and with their clients and vendors. Other waste reduction successes include updating their mailing lists and reusing mailing boxes and envelopes. CHS recycles used toner cartridges and used electronic equipment.
Advice to others: “Start small. Here at CHS we have found that small changes in our handling of paper can be readily implemented. As more people become comfortable with the changes, ‘going green’ becomes second nature.”
David Evans and Associates, Inc. (DEA) is an employee-owned engineering and consulting firm based in Bellevue, and they’ve been deeply rooted in the Northwest since 1976. The firm’s core purpose is to improve quality of life while remaining environmentally conscious, compelling them to recycle, reduce waste and reuse materials. Recycling bins with instructions are located in each office work area, conference room, copy center, kitchen/break room and all open areas. DEA also provides facilities for recycling batteries, CFL bulbs, disks, ink cartridges and e-waste products, whether from the office or from employees’ homes. The company regularly reuses shipping/mailing materials and other paper products and purchases 100 percent recycled products when in need of more office supplies. Within their kitchen DEA uses re-usable plates, bowls, mugs, glasses and utensils, all of which are washed on site.
Advice to others: “To create a thriving sustainability program, make it a key component of the company’s short- and long-term success, at all levels—top to bottom. When support is provided at all levels, every employee is encouraged to do their part to help the whole company become more sustainable.”
Dynacraft, a PACCAR Company, is making its second appearance on the Best Workplaces list. Before 2009, the Dynacraft Algona facility reduced the waste they send to landfill from 28 percent to 3 percent, a reduction of nearly 90 percent. This was achieved by the cumulative efforts of its workforce to reduce, reuse and recycle products, and by establishing recycling programs for metal, wood, paper, cardboard, plastic, toner, light tubes, batteries and food waste. During 2010, the Dynacraft Algona facility maintained its 3 percent waste-to-landfill achievement, even with an increase in staffing. The company believes this was due largely to a strong environmental culture created through training and employee awareness.
Advice to others: “Remain diligent in your pursuit to reduce and reuse for the betterment of the environment. Businesses should establish and implement 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 difference.”
At Kenworth Truck Company, their business is making the world’s best trucks, but they also strive to minimize their impact on the environment. Current ongoing programs include their Zero Waste to Landfill initiative and the development of an energy management system, among others. Kenworth practices waste reduction through the use of returnable and reusable containers, reuse of packaging and mailing supplies, and an employee classifieds program. Recycle bins are staged throughout the offices and factory floor, where Kenworth recycles metal, plastic, wood, cardboard, batteries, light bulbs, E-waste and paper. They also pay to send their factory waste to a third party for secondary segregation of recyclables.
Advice to others: “Our advice to other businesses is to thoroughly assess their waste and impacts on the environment, network with similar businesses to share ideas, talk with various recycling and waste service providers, set goals and then act. There are many firms out there willing to help you meet your environmental goals. Our waste reduction partners include Waste Management, International Paper, Total Reclaim, Ecolights Northwest, Seattle Iron & Metals, Budget Batteries and Cedar Grove.”
Bellevue-based Roth Hill, LLC is celebrating 40+ years as an engineering and consulting firm and its fourth year as a Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction. The company makes every effort to purchase recycled/recyclable office supplies whenever they can, and has made changes in their employee kitchen to reduce waste. Cloth hand towels are now available to reduce paper towel use and staff uses durable service ware. The company no longer provides bottled water and the office’s coffee vendor now provides compostable bags for coffee grounds, which employees take home for their gardens. Roth Hill has also made big strides in paper reduction. In 2009, they used 356,496 copies less than in 2008; in 2010, they used 122,247 copies less than in 2009. That amounts to a reduction in paper use of nearly 958 reams. The company’s paper reduction strategies include providing documents in PDF format rather than hard copy and sending electronic invitations to company events.
PACCAR Parts is committed to reducing their impact on the environment, and does so through a variety of methods. Their Zero Waste to Landfill program has been implemented at all PACCAR locations, resulting in a 90 percent diversion of waste materials from the landfill. Most significantly, an aggressive composting program has been implemented at the PACCAR Parts Division Office. By working closely with Cedar Grove Composting and their food service provider, all food waste and packaging from the Renton office’s onsite cafeteria is composted or recycled. The company is committed to continual improvement of their recycling and waste reduction procedures, and they are actively working to further reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill through both ISO 14001 compliance and their own initiatives. All locations are also implementing energy reduction methods at all PACCAR locations across the globe.
BECU has been calculating their carbon footprint annually since 2007 to increase employee awareness on how their operational practices impact the environment. The credit union is currently replacing the signage near waste and recycle bins to increase proper recycling within their offices, and they are in the process of adding additional bins for conference rooms and high traffic areas. When furniture or office equipment within their buildings becomes outdated, BECU takes the extra step to donate them rather than simply sending the furniture or equipment to the landfill. The company continues to set their printers to automatically duplex, and they encourage their members to receive electronic bank and VISA statements—such steps have lead to an overall paper usage reduction of 39 percent between 2007 and 2010.
Advice to others: “Just keep plugging away. Although some actions seem like baby steps, over time they all add up to a larger benefit.”
FCS Group joins the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list for the third consecutive year. As a public sector consultant, FCS Group takes care to reduce their own impact through aggressive paper-reusing strategies. Mass produced documents are automatically double-sided unless otherwise noted in client instructions, and each printer in their Redmond office has a tray dedicated to reusable paper from which employees are able to print. When unable to reuse paper, FCS Group purchases and uses post-consumer recycled content office supplies. Outside of paper waste reduction activities, FCS Group refills or recycles their used toner cartridges, offers a recycling program for batteries, and designates a recycling coordinator team that works within the office to champion all recycling and waste reduction activities.
Advice to others: “Communicate internally the measures that are being taken to reduce waste, and inform employees what options are available for recycling (for instance batteries and plastic bags). Make sure employees are aware of the company’s efforts and encourage participation.”
Symetra Financial has made the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list for the third year in a row. One of this Bellevue-based company’s guiding principles is workplace health, which includes contributing to a healthy environment around them. In partnership with the owners and property managers of their headquarters, Symetra launched multiple programs to help protect the environment and cut down on company waste. These initiatives included using composting bins and compostable silverware, automatic double sided printing on all printers, electronics and office supply recycling receptacles, and instituting a PC and cell phone reclamation program for employees.
Advice to others: “These initiatives are supported from the top—our CEO even drives a Prius! What makes our program special is the active engagement of our employees in finding solutions and championing our efforts. It is their environmental program and that involvement shows in our results.”
King County congratulates Honor Roll award winner PCC Natural Markets for their fifth year with King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction program. PCC has several recycling and waste reduction programs in place for both edible and non-edible items in their nine stores and business office. Through 2011 they reinforced the importance of waste stream monitoring among their staff at all locations. The food market encourages customers to bring and use their own shopping bags, and they have taken steps to reduce packaging waste by using recyclable or compostable packaging for their shipping practices. PCC makes sure that new employees throughout their nine locations are oriented into the company’s recycling and waste reduction practices.
Advice to others: “Waste reduction and recycling pays off on all levels of running a successful business. Effective programs result in lower operating costs - from product and supply procurement to waste removal - and also add significantly to your organization's stature as an employer of choice and, in our case, a retailer of choice.
2011 brings Dave’s Diner & Brew to the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list for the second year. The SeaTac diner sets goals for their recycling program, tracks progress, and the staff reports results. This year the staff has successfully reduced nearly 75 percent of their waste through their recycling efforts, such as switching to food packaging made of recyclable or compostable content. To better dispose of food waste derived from cooking, their kitchens no longer use a garbage disposal, but instead compost all food scraps. Dave’s Diner & Brew recycles their cooking oil, and have started collecting oil from customers for recycling.
Advice to others: “Make it easy for your employees to recycle with an abundance of well-marked containers.”
The Doubletree Hotel Seattle Airport continues to strive to divert recyclables from the landfill and expand on its comprehensive recycling program. The hotel recycles cardboard, commingled recyclables, glass, food waste and used cooking oil, which is turned into biodiesel. The in-room guest recycling program is going strong and the hotel actually had to increase the frequency of its recycling pick-ups to accommodate the additional volume. In 2010, the estimated total tons of material recycled were over 107 tons. One of the hotel’s newest recycling programs is its participation in the Global Soap Project, which recovers discarded soap from guest rooms and reprocesses it into new bars that are distributed to vulnerable populations throughout the world.
Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction Frito Lay, Inc. of Federal Way recycled 80 percent of their waste in 2010, recycling 303,000-pounds of material. This year, their Federal Way distribution center has set out to beat that total with a target of 85 percent or better—that means just 15 percent or less of all their waste will be landfilled. Frito Lay, Inc. of Federal Way recycles wood pallets and plastic wrap derived from shipping activities and reuses mailing boxes and envelopes. All employees are educated about best practices for waste reduction, and they orient new employees into the program when hired. They continually strive to improve upon each prior year’s results and plan to continue their success.
Advice to others: “Benchmarking our facility against other like facilities has created some friendly competition between sites and allows us to keep results in front of our team members. We’ve learned that we need to make recycling easy and convenient. We have continued to place additional recycling bins in so many locations that it would be difficult not to participate. With this type of coverage, we have found that team members enjoy participating and that it’s contagious!”
Green Apple Events & Catering instills recycling and waste reduction measures into their daily operations. During their initial consultation, the Kirkland-based company discusses sustainable catering practices with their clients. They also encourage the use of china and silverware to cut down on waste, and when not an option, Green Apple Events & Catering uses sugarcane bagasse products, an environmentally friendly service ware made from renewable sugarcane pulp.
Green Apple Events & Catering is a proud member of Cedar Grove Composting’s Green Scene program and trains their staff to compost at events both on-premise and off-site. When creating their dishes the catering company uses locally grown products, fruits and vegetables to reduce transporting emissions, and they recycle used vegetable oil by giving it to a biodiesel home-brewer.
Advice to others: “Set your goal to implement three waste reduction policies within your business per year or per quarter—whatever makes the most sense for you. Then follow through with your goal. Every little bit helps!”
The Hilton Seattle Airport and Conference Center has continued their commitment to recycling and waste diversion, making the Best Workplaces list for the fourth year in a row. The hotel’s food waste collection program diverted an estimated 34 tons from the landfill last year and their in-room guest recycling has had continued success. The hotel’s most recent success was realized in April when they "flipped" their 25-cubic-yard compactor from a trash compactor to a commingled recycling compactor and they now have a much smaller dumpster for trash, resulting in cost savings. One of the hotel’s newest recycling programs is its participation in the Global Soap Project, which recovers discarded soap from guest rooms and reprocesses it into new bars that are distributed to vulnerable populations throughout the world.
Three-time Best Workplace Hyatt Regency Bellevue made additional recycling program improvements this past year, including implementation of a new solid waste removal technology in partnership with Allied Waste. The technology, called One Plus, is an automated, “on-demand” solid waste removal system that reduces the frequency of pick-ups and prevents trash compactor overflows. One Plus monitors the hotel’s waste through a hydraulic system that measures pounds per square inch and alerts the hotel and Allied Waste through an email when the trash compactor is full. Since implementing the program, the hotel has seen a significant reduction in their waste cost and fees. The hotel also is recycling all its cardboard using a new cardboard compactor, located next to its trash compactor to make it convenient for employees.
King County is happy to welcome Marlene’s Market & Deli to the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list for the first time. This Federal Way-based deli prepares all their own food on-site and composts all of their kitchen scraps. They also offer their customers the choice of re-usable plates, bowls and cutlery, compostable take-out containers, or plastic made with recycled materials. The deli’s dining room provides well-marked recycling receptacles for glass, cans and paper, and their employee break room provides a large water dispenser with encouragement among their 100-plus employees to bring in their own re-usable cups. Their market offers a bulk department that is not only an affordable way for customers to shop but also eliminates a great deal of packaging. Among these achievements, Marlene’s Market & Deli continues to look for ways to improve and help educate the public about their choices when it comes to recycling and waste reduction.
Pagliacci Pizza is returning for their second year on King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Reduction recognition list. This year Pagliacci has continued to reduce internal mail by converting all possible employee forms to PDF format to reduce paper usage. Composting and recycling are part of training for all new employees at the pizza company’s 24 locations, and uniforms are donated rather than thrown away when too worn. Most of the company’s locations have installed water fountains to reduce the consumption of bottled beverage products. All dining rooms have composting and recycling available to their customers, and recently the company changed their packaging so that very little waste is generated.
Advice to others: “Working with local seasonal foods every day inspires us to look after our environment. We actively seek fresh ways to use less and use wisely whether it’s composting boxes and food waste, saving water and energy, or doing our part to bring ‘green’ power to the Pacific Northwest from local utilities.”
Pogacha of Issaquah has tried to set a restaurant industry standard in recycling and environmentally friendly operations. They have been recycling their cooking oil for 12 years, starting the year after they first opened their doors. Pogacha also recycles all their food scraps, advises several other restaurants on doing the same, and encourages them to start similar programs.
The restaurant’s staff prides themselves on being resource protectors, always looking for the most environmentally friendly way to do things. Since being named a Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction for the past two years, Pogacha has supported Issaquah's ban of Styrofoam take-out containers and has since moved to use only compostable bags, cutlery and containers.
Advice to others: “It is so much easier to reduce and recycle than you might think. Often you will actually save money and the environment at the same time. Be open to new ideas and be willing to try. Contact similar businesses and see how something worked for them if you are hesitant. Use your human recourses and get your staff's input—often they will have a great idea on how to reduce, reuse or repurpose.”
Safeway Beverage Plant is making its debut on King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list. In 2010, this Safeway facility was able to reduce their garbage bill by 44 percent and increase their recycling by nearly 26 tons compared to 2009. The Bellevue plant held a recycling training session for their staff last year, and with employee awareness increased, they were able to add items to their recycling list that were previously being thrown out. In 2011 the beverage plant began recycling wood scraps from their operations, and they started a compost program in the facility’s lunchroom. Safeway Beverage Plant is continuously looking for ways to recycle more of what they throw out, and they have set a goal to reach a 90 percent recycling rate by the end of 2011.
Advice to others: “Employee involvement is one way to help reduce waste and increase your recycling. By implementing many of our production employees' suggestions, we were able to increase the materials that we recycle. It all starts by looking at what you're throwing away and evaluating how to incorporate those items into your recycling program.”
The Safeway Inc. – Auburn Distribution Center returns for its second year as a Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction. In 2010, the distribution chain moved to increase recycling partnerships with their retail stores. For example, in order to increase both participation and tonnage of food scraps being recycled, the Safeway Inc. distribution chain began sharing recycling results with individual districts and stores. Their intent was to better monitor how well each retail store was using the food scrap recycling resources that were available to them.
In addition, the Safeway distribution chain created training programs that were implemented throughout the year. These trainings focused on recycling and compost awareness within specific departments and waste reduction opportunities that may have been overlooked in the past. In 2010 these efforts increased the amount of food scraps that were recycled by Safeway Distribution by 30 percent.
Advice to others: “Look to create a recycling culture in your business. Start small and continue to look for opportunities. Monitor what is in your trash and be willing to revisit processes and procedures that are in place at your company.”
Recycling and waste reduction was a big focus for list newcomer Salish Lodge and Spa last year. They formed a “green committee” among their staff, outfitted all areas of their hotel with recycling bins, posted recycling awareness posters, began purchasing differently and retrofitted their entire public space with LED lighting. Salish Lodge and Spa also added a compost program in their kitchens and a linen re-use program in their guest rooms. Recycling goals are set by the company, progress is tracked and the staff receives results of their efforts. When hired, new employees are oriented into the company’s recycling program. In March, Salish Lodge and Spa was invited to a Washington Lodging Association meeting where they presented their green transformation and received feedback and advice on making their program even more effective.
Advice to others: “Provide the resources for your team to be able to successfully sustain the recycling program and make awareness the number one priority. We send out a daily email with the ‘green topic of the day;’ this is meant to educate and keep recycling at the forefront of our team members minds. It works.”
The Herbfarm is proud to say that recycling and sustainability is who they are and what they do. The Woodinville restaurant specializes in pairing a worldly country charm with a seasonally unique menu of gourmet Northwest foods, and a large portion of the food they serve is grown in their own gardens. Leftovers and food scraps are recycled to create compost, which is then used to grow food for future meals. The restaurant also takes time to educate their guests about their food recycling process, encouraging them to engage in similar activities within their own homes.
The Herbfarm works recycling and waste reduction processes into their other activities, as they reuse mailing boxes and envelopes, purchase and use recycled-content office supplies, and offer recycling programs for batteries, electronics and other office materials.
Advice to others: “Think before you throw.”
The Seattle Airport Marriott Hotel, a four-time Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction, continues its efforts with an estimated 84 tons of material recycled last year. The hotel’s recycling program includes cardboard, mixed recyclables, food scraps and food-soiled paper and used cooking oil, which is recycled into biodiesel. The hotel offers recycling bins to guests in public areas and continues to have success with their employee cafeteria food waste recycling program, which collects all compostable materials and sends them to Cedar Grove Composting. They continue to identify opportunities to recycle and conserve resources for the future.
This year marks The Westin Bellevue Hotel’s third appearance on King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list. Hotel associates are doing more of their work digitally in an effort to reduce their paper usage. The hotel also recycles a large variety of their operation’s waste, including paper, cardboard and aluminum, plus cell phones, batteries and toner cartridges. Styrofoam and paper cups have been completely removed from the employee cafeteria, and only reusable products are used in their food service operations. The associates themselves take responsibility for their own waste reduction by turning off computers and lights when not in use, and many of them participate in Washington’s Commuter Trip Reduction Program by choosing to walk, bike, bus or carpool rather than drive themselves to work.
Twelve Baskets Catering is new to the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list, but the Seattle-based catering company has been recycling since 1978. With recycling bins at every work station and building dock, the company has become an advocate of recycling anything they possibly can. This includes cooking oil and food packaging, as well as wood pallets, scrap metal and used toner cartridges.
Twelve Baskets carries this passion outside the office as well. When catering events, the company asks that the client provide containers for their use so that they can continue to reduce garbage waste whenever possible. At the end of events, excess food is then donated to food banks.
Advice to others: “Recycle; It is the right thing to do—for everyone. It will save you money on your garbage bill, and you will be conserving our natural resources.”
Willows Lodge is joining King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list for the first time this year. The Lodge takes great pride in their environmental initiatives, both inside their facilities and in the surrounding gardens of their property in Woodinville wine country. Among some of their most unique and successful recycling efforts is Willows Lodge’s use of sustainable nutrient cycling by turning bio-mass from gardens into mulch and compost that is then returned to garden beds. The kitchen sells their used kitchen oils to local biodiesel producers for fuel, and used towels and sheets are given to animal shelters and veterinarians. Willows Lodge uses large refillable bottles for shampoos, conditioners and soaps, taking the place of small plastic bottles that have to be replaced every day.
The Port of Seattle at Seattle Tacoma International Airport is a King County Best Workplace for the fifth year running, landing them on the Honor Roll. In 2010, Port staff developed and distributed a Recycling Guidelines brochure to all airport employees with details on how to participate in the recycling program and describing the program’s benefits. They also developed a comprehensive solid waste management plan to assess the viability of meeting a 50 percent recycling goal by 2014 and to develop a roadmap to meet or exceed this goal. As part of the plan development, the Port conducted the Airport’s most comprehensive waste characterization study to date. Port staff implemented a post-consumer food scrap collection program so that passengers dining in the food court area now have the option to recycle their food scraps and other compostable material. As of December 2010, 98 percent of paper purchased by Port staff contained recycled content.
Advice to others: “A successful recycling program requires upper management support and champions that will work with staff to develop and implement programs. The program champions must have the ability to engage staff and perform necessary ongoing program support as well as continue to learn new ideas for continual program growth.”
Northshore Utility District serves more than 21,000 water customers and 20,200 sewer customers across more than 11,000 acres. In addition to playing an important role in the natural recycling of the earth’s water, Northshore Utility District continues to refine their reuse and recycling program every year. As a recycling-conscious utility provider, Northshore Utility District recycles plastic film and wrap, scrap metal, wood pallets and Styrofoam.
New technology has recently provided the Utility District with a new opportunity for waste reduction. New water meters are being installed throughout the District that can be read remotely through radio communication. This will reduce the amount of miles driven by meter readers, resulting in less fuel consumption, and will help their customers identify leaks more quickly, reducing wasted water.
The City of Bellevue is proud to mark their fourth appearance on King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list, due to their efforts in making recycling easy for employees and visitors to City Hall and all satellite buildings. In addition to adding new items last year, including block Styrofoam, compact fluorescent light bulbs and rigid plastic lids, the City expanded what is accepted in their commingled recycling program this year to include all plastic containers and cold and hot cups. The new onsite Deli at City Hall began using compostable service ware and instructional shadowboxes were set up in the cafeteria to show employees how to sort their recyclables. In late 2010, Bellevue conducted a waste sort to monitor progress toward their recycling goals and discovered that they had reduced the overall amount of waste generated. The City continues to promote zero waste events, and they are proud to say that all nine fire stations continue to recycle food waste after their pilot program’s completion.
Advice to others: “Monitoring the recycling program is key and relaying the information from the monitoring back to employees is important. Offer trainings for custodial staff and communicate with Facilities regarding your expectations for the recycling program. Empower employees to contact a central recycling email or hotline number if they have questions. It needs to become a cultural norm in the workplace. Keeping outreach materials updated and prevalent are also necessary for a successful program; it is easy for recycling rates to slip if the program is not kept visible and relevant. It's also a challenge to find the correct balance in outreach efforts to keep interest and participation up. Having someone to champion the outreach internally is extremely important. Don’t be afraid to stand up for recycling if you see collection being done incorrectly.”
With the help of their Green Team and BothellCo2OL program, the City of Bothell is continuing to look at programs and ways to go green every day. Employees are continuously working to improve their actions. Some printing equipment within their offices can’t be changed to print duplex, so employees go the next step to either send items electronically or print to a copier in the main copy room where duplex printing is available. This year the employee newsletter went paperless; employees received the newsletter electronically with a link and a statement encouraging them not to print it. The staff within Bothell’s city offices work together to find solutions, encourage one another and ask questions.
Advice to others: “By adding a dishwasher to a break room with durable dishware, we are finding that employees are taking more care with the kitchen and are reducing the use of paper products. Simply having silverware and dishes with cups, bowls and plates to serve food on has drastically reduced the amount of solid waste and compostable material purchases.”
King County is happy to welcome The City of Burien to the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list for the first time in 2011. The city utilizes a number of tools to aid both employees within its offices and the greater community in recycling and waste reduction practices. Signs with photos of what is and is not recyclable are posted on or near recycling bins, and recycling tips are published in newsletters. The city’s offices provide an employee classifieds program that allows employees to reuse goods, rather than sending them to the landfill. Kitchens and cafeterias contain washable dishware, glassware and flatware to allow employees to bring their own lunches and to cut down on kitchen waste.
Advice to others: “The City of Burien advises other businesses to have both recycling and garbage containers beside each other. Recycling containers should be labeled with photos of items that are recyclable so that all languages can understand signs.”
The City of Issaquah’s vision is a commitment to “quality living through preservation and enhancement of the community’s unique human and natural resources.” The City’s own offices walk the talk through their strong recycling and waste reduction activities. The City offers supply closets for used folders, notepads, pens, and envelopes for people to reuse. They also use durable utensils and plates at department meetings and events. The City has set up food waste collection in all City facilities and offers it at City events and all public events at City facilities. City staff are always working to increase waste reduction efforts and this year efforts included training administrative staff in green purchasing practices.
Advice to others: “Much of the success of our program is owed to individual champions within each department. When rolling out programs, find those in your organizations that are passionate about waste reduction and recycling, and make them responsible for some part of the program. Their passion will be contagious and a great deal more effective than employees being told what to do by someone just following a rulebook.”
The City of Kent is returning for a third time to the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list, but recycling has always been a top priority within their offices. Employees are aware that citizens look to them to model correct behavior in activities that impact the environment, and as city leaders, they want to lead by example. A year and a half ago the city’s offices added food waste recycling; now, more and more employees are participating in keeping food waste material out of the landfill. When hired, new employees are oriented into the office’s recycling program. To further encourage employees to reduce waste, they have initiated an in-house Eco-Hero Award—to date five employees have received the award for their exceptional efforts.
In its third year on the Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction list, The City of Redmond continues to make strides to reduce the amount of waste they send to the landfill. This year the City has expanded their organics recycling effort to include all city facilities including fire stations. They have also added Styrofoam block recycling and medication take back to their list of accepted items during the City’s Special Recycling Collection events. Within their offices, the City reduces paper usage by proofing and previewing documents on-screen or by circulating with legible minor hand corrections, rather than printing multiple drafts. Memos, documents, reports and publications are also circulated rather than copied to further reduce paper usage. Redmond is constantly looking for new and innovative ideas to improve and promote their recycling efforts.
Advice to others: “Don't be afraid to ask questions about recycling and waste reduction! Sometimes items that were not recyclable in the past can now be recycled. Also, be sure to ask the vendor you use for office supplies about recycled content paper and other supplies.”
The City of SeaTac continues to improve its own recycling program as well as increase recycling opportunities for the public at city-sponsored events. At the City’s 2010 Celebration, they handed out reusable bags to all guests with the remaining bags offered to the public at the 2010 International Festival. The City has also expanded the parks recycling program to include softball tournaments and leagues. Within the City offices, motion sensors are used for office lighting to conserve energy, and facility kitchens have dishwashers allowing employees to bring their own lunches. Employees donate dishes, cups and flatware to the office kitchens rather than using disposable plastic ware. Employees are encouraged to reuse office supplies by offering what is no longer needed in one department, to other department staff by email announcement. In addition, the City’s in-house food scrap recycling program was extended this year to a sixth facility.
The City of Tukwila endeavors to have an effective recycling program for its employees. Within the past 12 months, Tukwila has instituted a pilot project for food waste recycling among its Department of Community Development offices. The City of Tukwila continues its commingled recycling system for paper, bottles and cans, and provides public recycling opportunities at large at city-sponsored events, including the Backyard Wildlife Festival and Fourth of July. Portable recycling containers are also provided to the public during games and rental events at the Community Center. Tukwila offers the public a "fun" way to reduce waste and reuse materials by sponsoring a citywide community garage sale at homes throughout the city, along with their annual "Junk in the Trunk" sale at the Tukwila Community Center.
Advice to others: “People really want to do the right thing. It is important to provide thorough education about any change in procedures, and to anticipate impacts, especially if a recycling or waste-related change will increase the workload for certain individuals, such as maintenance or custodial staff.”
Bothell Pet Hospital is joining our Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list for the first time in 2011. This veterinary hospital goes through many syringes and fluid therapy supplies, and has recently developed a strategy to recycle syringe casings, fluid bags and coverings. As a result, the hospital has filled their recycling bins and greatly reduced their garbage output.
Evergreen Healthcare finds themselves on the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list for the third time. Last April they held their third-annual Earth Day event, where the main theme was to educate staff about energy conservation. To reduce waste, Evergreen Healthcare recycles a variety of items from their operations, including scrap metal, cooking oil, wood pallets and batteries. The hospital is currently working with their recycling vendor to add blue wrap from operating rooms to their list of items to be recycled.
Advice to others: “The best way to engage staff in sustainable initiatives is through continual reminders/education using memos in the hospital newsletter, emails to the network of 'green representatives' in each department, and through encouraging staff to use the 'green team' web page on the hospital intranet.”
Federal Way Naturopathy believes that they have a responsibility to bring healing not only to minds and bodies, but also to environment and community. As such, they make great efforts to be an exemplary business that works toward the triple bottom line of financial stability, social consciousness and environmental sustainability. The team of doctors and staff only purchase and use paper products made from recycled material and place recycling bins at every desk. Federal Way Naturopathy provides recycling for old cell phones, which are then forwarded to a nonprofit women domestic safety group, and they offer a take-back program for customers’ and employees’ compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Jeffrey Schur DDS MSD Orthodontics is new to King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list this year. But this isn’t their first environmental recognition, as they have been a King County Envirostars 4-star business for two years. The practice has made a strong effort this year to reduce their waste and recycle all recyclable materials. Among their highlights, Dr. Schur and his staff send emails and voicemails in place of mailings, proof documents on screen rather than printing them out, and orient new employees in the office’s recycling program. In a waste reduction move that they are particularly proud of, the practice has replaced toxic lead pellets with barley in a machine that manufactures orthodontic retainers.
Advice to others: “We recommend that you publicize your efforts because new customers looking for environmentally responsible businesses will be attracted to yours, and the positive feedback from current and new customers is a good morale boost for the staff.”
Overlake Hospital Medical Center is making their fourth appearance on King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list. This year Overlake has incorporated recycling containers next to trash containers in all public corridors and lobby areas, and office recycling is available for employees as well. Garbage disposals have been removed from their kitchens, allowing the medical center to incorporate composting as the primary means of food scrap disposal. Dishware, glassware, flatware and a dishwasher are available in kitchens and cafeterias to allow employees to bring in their own lunches and wash their dishes, reducing the use of disposable food items. The medical center takes steps to reduce their paper use by removing duplicate names from mailing lists and eliminating unnecessary forms and reports in their practices.
Since being named a Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction last year, McMonigle Veterinary Hospital has continued to reduce their paper use. As they continue to go paper-light, the veterinary hospital has been able to send records and documents by email, rather than faxing or mailing copies of paper charts. They also began utilizing small postcards or emails, rather than large mailings, when contacting clients to remind them of their pets’ healthcare needs.
McMonigle Veterinary Hospital has also recently become a pet food donation location, which encourages their clients to recycle food that they would otherwise throw out. Food that is returned to them by clients is then reused through donations to either The Seattle Humane Society or King County Animal Care and Control.
Advice to others: “We have listened to our employees, taken their suggestions and slowly implemented as many as possible. We inform our clients that we're going green and they are happy to receive our update emails. This also helped as we moved from paper medical charts to paper-light computer records.”
King County welcomes first-time Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction Lutheran Community Services Northwest to the recognition list. The SeaTac-based human services organization places recycling bins in every office, conference room and kitchen to give their employees plenty of opportunity to recycle. In a recent office move, office furniture and supplies that were being replaced or were no longer needed in the new location were recycled or arranged for reuse by other program sites. In an effort to save paper, bi-monthly circuits created to update staff are no longer printed and distributed through offices but are now sent via email to all employees. The nonprofit agency also replaced mailings with emails and voicemails to cut down on paper when communicating with their network.
Food Lifeline, Washington’s largest hunger relief organization, is an inherently green organization simply through the work they do to salvage healthy food for hungry people. By gathering food directly from local growers, manufacturers and grocery stores, Food Lifeline provided more than 686,000 people in western Washington with more than 24 million meals last year—much of it perishable food would have otherwise ended up in the waste stream.
To advance their environmental position, Food Lifeline has created an employee “Green Team” that made notable changes in their operations. Composting has been added to the employee kitchen, motion detection lights have been installed to cut down on electricity waste, and the offices began using paint that is free of volatile organic compounds. The organization provides recycling and composting information to their employees and the nearly 300 food banks, meal programs and shelters that they serve. This coming year Food Lifeline plans to find more ways to improve their green business practices and support both their community and the environment.
Advice to others: “You don’t have to go big to go green. Look around your organization and see where you can implement small changes to make a big difference! Some of the most effective changes we’ve made were the simplest. Things like reusing paper for printing, installing motion-detection light switches, or going for quick walks with colleagues to pick up garbage on the street are little steps that can go a long way!”
King County welcomes Emerald Heights to the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction Honor Roll—and to their fifth consecutive year on the recognition list. Each year, the Redmond life care community has made gains in their recycling and waste reduction efforts while building on the successes of the years before.
In 2011 Emerald Heights focused on reducing print publications through the use of electronic media. Email and voicemail replaced paper mailings, and documents were proofed and previewed on screens before printing, among other initiatives. Emerald Heights has also begun finding new partnerships for reuse of furniture and other durable items that are no longer needed within their facilities. The community also offers recycling programs for Styrofoam, cooking oil, batteries and fluorescent light bulbs and tubes.
Allied Group, Inc. is a low-income housing community of 326 apartments in the City of SeaTac and a newcomer to the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction program. The property management company provides all their residents with the opportunity to recycle and reduce their own waste by offering both on-site recycling and education on the system upon move-in. Through monthly updates regarding recycling and waste reduction, Allied continues to keep their residents informed on how they can continue to reduce their landfill output. Allied collects fluorescent tubes and batteries from residents for recycling and they have a program in place to reuse or surplus furniture and other durable goods.
Advice to others: “We have found that many vendors and service providers have recycling and green product programs in place that we can utilize to our benefit.”
Timber Ridge at Talus takes several steps to promote recycling and waste reduction. Residents of the Issaquah retirement community recycle regularly, and their program includes batteries, scrap metal, fluorescent bulbs and Styrofoam, among other items. All discarded electronic equipment is taken to AtWork! Recycling, an Issaquah-based organization that connects people with disabilities to employers in the community. Residents of Timber Ridge are encouraged to reuse shopping bags, and the community offers a plastic bag take back program. Timber Ridge also recycles all food scraps from their kitchen, which is picked up twice a week by Cedar Grove Recycling. For their residents’ meals, Timber Ridge uses Eco-Ware, a compostable food container that can be used up to 50 times before being disposed.
Advice to others: “Timber Ridge has budgeted for a cardboard baler in 2011. This will significantly reduce the amount of cardboard taken by Waste Management for recycling. By selling the bales we hope to offset or eliminate the cost of collecting our trash. This is especially useful for our community due to the fact that all departments receive supplies in boxes and for all the residents that are moving in. So, if we had to make one recommendation it would be to acquire a cardboard baler for your business.”
The staff at two-time Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction award winner Torklift Central strives to recycle and re-purpose when they can in an effort to preserve the environment around them. During their operations, the automotive part manufacturer recycles all scrap metal, and they make an effort to include products made from recycled materials in their offerings to customers. In an effort to reduce their paper waste, the company’s offices have eliminated unnecessary forms, their accounting department offers paperless billing, and printers and copiers are defaulted to double-sided printing. When making revisions to a document, staff circulates one copy with minor hand corrections rather than retyping and reprinting drafts. Toner cartridges are recycled or refilled when empty, rather than sent to the landfill.
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.
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.”
Outsource Marketing is happy to achieve honor roll status for the fifth consecutive year on King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list. Outsource Marketing’s tagline is “responsible results”, and they continue to preach, teach and manage clients on more sustainable ways to market and run their businesses. They’ve helped clients move some of their marketing communications into digital format, and when sending postcards the company encourages an “opt-out” option every time. To further reduce paper waste Outsource Marketing has moved their billing and bill-pay online. When moving to a new office, the company used recycled fiber carpets, energy-efficient lighting, low impact paints and a high efficiency toilet.
Advice to others: “Measure the effectiveness of your direct marketing versus email marketing. If you have to use direct mail, make it easy for people to ‘opt-out’ from receiving your mailings. They'll appreciate it, it will build goodwill and you won't be mailing to people that don't want to receive your ‘junk mail’.”
Allyis is returning for their fourth appearance on King County’s Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction recognition list. Last year the Kirkland-based company started programs to recycle plastic bags and old shoes, and many of the office supplies ordered last year were earth-friendly, including many recycled and recyclable items. In fact, the average post-consumer recycled content of Allyis’ office supplies was over 86 percent.
At their company summer picnic, Allyis’ staff recycled and composted 75 percent of the waste created by the event. At their PC Recycle office the company recycled 22 computers, 7 monitors, 13 televisions, 15 printers and scanners, 3 microwaves, 11 VCRs and stereos, and 125 pounds of other miscellaneous electronics.
AMEC Earth & Environmental, Inc. takes sustainability seriously; so seriously that sustainability is one of the 12 key areas of their Operational Excellence program, which guides all of the company's actions. AMEC Earth & Environmental’s parent company, AMEC plc, first implemented a sustainability program in 2003. Since then, each office has appointed a sustainability coordinator and annually adopts a locally developed action plan.
In 2010 AMEC’s Bothell office successfully implemented a composting and recycling program and an annual carbon footprint benchmarking program, reduced energy and paper usage, and organized an employee swap meet. This year AMEC Earth & Environmental, Inc. intends to take on 16 new waste reduction tasks while continuing those established in 2010.
Advice to others: “For a business to be successful in implementing any effort, it takes leadership and a commitment from upper management. Goals must be set and clearly communicated, management structures created, and resources allocated. Doing so shows employees that the leaders take it seriously, and that attitude then influences individual actions. Once supported, employees can accomplish anything!”
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 services 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 to become more environmentally focused. In addition, an internal recycling website was developed for all Applus Technologies employees to view and obtain information and also blog about ideas.
This year marks CDM’s fourth time on the Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction list, and they continue to ensure that sustainability is a primary focus of their business. While the Bellevue-based consulting, engineering, construction and operations firm already has a comprehensive recycling and waste reduction program, CDM is always looking for ways to improve. For example, all printers in their two office locations were recently adjusted to default to double sided copying and printing, thus saving printer paper. CDM was also pivotal in encouraging their building management to provide food waste composting at all five buildings within their complex.
King County welcomes Chameleon Technologies, Inc. to the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list for a fourth consecutive year. This year the technical staffing and professional services firm has implemented electronic invoice payments whenever possible and has ordered Eco Green Laser checks for any additional payments. Chameleon Technologies also continues to purchase office products made of recycled content, minimizes the use of lighting fixtures by maximizing their use of natural light, and stocks their kitchens with washable glassware in place of paper goods. The company is currently in the process of changing printers throughout their office to models that use less toner. They also make sure to recycle or refill cartridges when empty.
Advice to others: “We support the truth that every single thing we do every day has an impact on the planet – good or bad. The good news is that as a business and as individuals, we have the power to control most of our choices and, therefore, the impact we create – from where we live, to what we buy, eat, use to light, heat, cool and how we travel. Embracing a greener lifestyle isn't just about helping to preserve equatorial rainforests; it can also mean improving our health, padding our bank account, and ultimately, improving our overall quality of life.”
CHOICE Insurance, LLC is returning for its second year as a Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction. Along with continuing last year’s successes, CHOICE has been striving this year to be a paperless office. All mail and documents that enter their office are scanned and filed electronically, though most documents are now received via email. Apart from the environmental benefits, the insurance company found this practice to be well received by clients, as their insurance documents were then able to be forwarded electronically, and clients are pleased with the faster service. To further reduce paper waste, CHOICE makes sure that printers and copiers in their Kirkland office are set to print double-sided, with trays of reusable paper available nearby.
Advice to others: “Talk to all of your employees and get them on board with recycling and re-using. If they do it at their place of work, then this practice will be carried over to their home life.”
Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction welcomes first-time list member D’Amico Photography, LLC to its ranks. Sharon D’Amico, owner of the Kirkland-based photography studio, makes sure everything within her operation is recycled or used to its fullest. Any electrical equipment no longer in use is donated, resold or recycled, and used batteries are disposed of through a recycling program. The studio has eliminated unnecessary forms and papers, and they have removed duplicate names and out-of-date entries from mailing lists to reduce paper usage. Because this is a residence-based business, these extra recycling and waste-reduction measures have been incorporated into the home as well.
Advice to others: “Invite folks to come up with creative ideas regarding waste reduction and recycling and energy saving measures. State a fact and ask a question once a week to start people thinking. One example: Fact - Energy is used to boil water. How can we save energy by boiling only the water that we need? Measure the amount of water before boiling and add a bit more to compensate for evaporation through steam instead of boiling an entire tea kettle full of water if only a cup is needed, for example.”
Harmony Massage is making their first appearance on King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list. In order to cut down on their paper usage, the massage studio has begun phasing over to email for mailings and smaller postcards for advertisements. Reusable cups have replaced plastic or paper cups when providing tea or water to clientele, and furniture is donated for reuse when no longer needed. The massage therapists at Harmony Massage have switched from to-go containers to reusable plates when ordering food from a favorite restaurant next door, and they recycle their food scraps. Harmony Massage was a participant in King County’s Waste Free Holidays Program and continues to promote waste-free giving each year.
Advice to others: “People can be made more aware of ways that they can recycle. Our planet is precious and beautiful, and each of us can do our part to preserve it.”
In Harmony Sustainable Landscapes is making its fourth consecutive appearance on King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction recognition list. The Bothell-based landscape design company was the first business of its kind in the Puget Sound area to specialize in sustainable and eco-friendly practices for lawn and garden. In 2011, In Harmony focused on their use of worm bins for composting food scraps, shredded paper and other compostable materials. Staff is then able to take home the finished product resulting from these bins for use in their own gardens. The company also encourages employees to take a collection of worms home so that they can create their own personal worm bins.
Neil Levinson Enterprises provides specialty products for the furniture and cabinet industry, and they make our Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list for the first time in 2011. To bring waste reduction to their industry, the Kirkland-based construction wholesaler sells products made from recycled materials while ensuring Styrofoam and plastic packaging in their shipping activities are reused or recycled. Office staff place a large emphasis on composting: for five years they’ve been using compostable bags to compost their shredded documents along with their coffee grounds and other food scraps. All excess food within their kitchens is donated to a food bank. As a result of their efforts, Neil Levinson Enterprises has proudly reduced the amount of waste it sends to the landfill.
Redmond-based Noetix Corporation has made recycling and waste reduction a company priority, and their commitment remains strong in their second year as a King County Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction. The company is currently in the process of implementing their own “Free-Cycle” website to allow employees to give away old items from the home or office that they no longer need. Through the use of the TerraCycle Recycling Brigade program, Noetix began recycling their coffee bags, leading to zero waste coffee in the office. Employees’ batteries, outdated personal digital assistants, cell phones, and compact fluorescent light bulbs are also recycled. To continue their commitment Noetix has created a green committee that meets quarterly to discuss recycling and waste reduction ideas.
Advice to others: “If your business is just starting out, form a green committee within your company and come up with creative ideas on how to recycle and reuse everyday items. Contact you’re the King County Solid Waste Division or 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.”
As a software and website developer, three-time award recipient Pacific Software Publishing, Inc (PSP) is often directly involved with their customers’ hardware, thus their customer’s hardware disposal practices. The company offers refurbished computers for sale along with new models, and they provide a recycling program for broken computers and electronic equipment. PSP also offers their customers free computer repair on certain days, allowing for a zero-cost way for customers to continue using their computers and avoid disposal. Within the company’s offices there are recycling bins at every desk and in every room, and PSP’s staff sorts trash and recycling after events, meetings and employee lunches to make sure everything is disposed of properly. Trays are placed next to printers and copiers for reusable paper, and the PSP staff proof documents on screen before printing to cut down on paper usage.
Advice to others: “Fixing, recycling and refurbishing old computers and computer equipment provides computers to people who could not otherwise afford them.”
Printex Press fully embraces workplace recycling and waste reduction. The Bellevue-based commercial printer was the first among their Eastside peers to receive Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, and they specialize in educating their customers on paper choices that promote environmental sustainability through the use of papers that are FSC-certified and contain recycled materials. Advances in digital printing allow Printex Press to customize their clients’ marketing materials in an eco-friendly way through shorter press runs, less waste during setup, and on-demand capabilities that enable them to reduce their waste output.
Printex Press continues to use materials and processes that reduce both the use of harmful chemicals and water consumption. Paper and metal materials used during their manufacturing process are recycled.
Advice to others: “Through the City of Bellevue’s commingled recycling program, we were able to obtain cardboard containers to place throughout our offices to collect recyclable materials. It has helped to increase our recycling efforts tremendously. All it takes is a phone call to get started, and the costs are usually included in your disposal fees already. We encourage our employees, vendors and clients to make environmentally conscientious choices by considering making a small change to the processes they use in some way. This will help to provide a safer, healthier workplace and maintain a cleaner environment for all.”
As a real estate development company, Rowley Properties, Inc pays close attention to the waste that comes out of their construction projects. The company has created an aggressive program to curb construction waste that includes mandatory recycling of copper, steel, brass, gypsum wall board and lumber. Whenever possible, Rowley Properties works with their tenants and clients during the design phase to reuse existing structures and materials. These include doors, lights, hardware, light fixtures, cabinets and plumbing products. Rowley also emphasizes the use of recycled and rapidly renewable products during material selection, including floor coverings, steel studs and ceiling tiles. To cut down on paper use within their offices Rowley’s accounting department has switched to paperless billing and mailings have been replaced by emails and voicemails.
As a new company in 2010, Sound Intellectual Properties PLLC (Sound IP) set aggressive goals for reducing, reusing and recycling. Through continued efforts, not only did they meet them but proudly exceeded their original expectations. The Bellevue-based law firm used fewer than six reams of copy paper during the 2010 work year. More impressively, only two reams were used during the second half of the year as they optimized their procedures and moved to multi-monitor workstations. Sound IP’s recycling efforts include scrap metal, plastic film and wrap, batteries and used electrical equipment. They also reuse mailing boxes and envelopes to reduce shipping waste. The law firm anticipates an even greener 2011 as they continue to replace old habits with new ones.
Advice to others: “Being "green" is simply another term for being smart. Increasing operational efficiencies reduces resource consumption (a green benefit) and overhead (a monetary benefit). The same is true for directly reducing consumption, although alternative modes for "doing the same thing" may be needed. That is where leadership comes in. Having someone in your organization who is more than a “green preacher” promote the benefits that result from changing how things are done to how they can be done "smarter" are the keys to a successful transformation from a consumption model to an investment model. Be the change you wish to see.
As a workspace provider for entrepreneurs, tech startups, small businesses and nonprofits, thinkspace believes that you don’t have to have a global brand to make a significant difference in reducing your carbon footprint. To aid their clients, thinkspace calculates the footprint for each office and provides an easy way for each company to become carbon neutral by offering a carbon offset.
Advice to others: “Education is the key. Providing instructions for what can be recycled or composted is the best way to ensure people will continue to do so on their own.”
Voldal Wartelle & Co., P.S. offers finance management services throughout the Pacific Northwest, and they are making their debut on the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list. VWC employees have become champions of recycling—when supplies not made from recycled content enter the office, this is often cause for discussion. As advocates of the environment, VWC employees and their management often look beyond recycling and toward creative ways to reduce their impact. In a paper-heavy industry, Voldal Wartelle & Co. goes the extra mile to cut down on their use by setting printers and copiers to print double-sided pages, proofing and previewing documents on screen before printing, circulating memos and reports rather than copying, and taking other waste-reducing steps in their daily routine.
Advice to others: “Make it easy for people to recycle. Offer bins at multiple locations and orient new hires that this is an important part of our culture.”
As a five-time award winner, ECO Cartridge Store has earned their spot on the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction honor roll list. But for them, recycling is all part of their business. As a recycler and remanufacturer of toner and ink cartridges, ECO Cartridge Store takes pride in the positive impact their business has on the environment. In fact, since their opening in July 2005, the company has assisted their customers in keeping an estimated 12,935 pounds of industrial plastic and metal parts out of the landfill. This has resulted in a savings of approximately 209 barrels of oil that would have been used to manufacture new cartridges.
ECO Cartridge Store walks the walk, too, carrying waste reduction practices into other aspects of their operations. In order to save paper, the company employs paperless billing in their accounting department and uses email or voicemail for outreach purposes. Styrofoam, mailing boxes and envelopes are all reused when possible, and of course, they make sure to refill or recycle all their own used toner cartridges.
Accents et cetera Gift Baskets returns to our Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list for the fourth consecutive year, and they continue to make improvements year after year. One highlight this year has been promoting the ease of recycling and waste reduction to other businesses in their area. In partnership with the Sammamish Chamber of Commerce, Accents et cetera participated in the Sustainable Sammamish community event. On a quarter sheet of recycled paper, they shared a list of 100 percent recycled content products they use with other businesses.
Accents et cetera also added washable terrycloth fingertip towels to their office restrooms to reduce the use of paper towels. Upon their location change last year they reused or recycled everything they could at both the old and new locations.
This is BladeGallery Inc/Epicurean Edge’s second year as a Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction, and as with last year, the Kirkland knife retailer feels strongly about the principles behind the award. While they put effort toward reducing their paper usage overall, BladeGallery also strives to use only recycled content products, from the paper in their printers to the paper towels in their restroom. To take waste reduction one step further, the company implemented a food scrap recycling program for compostable items accumulated from their daily activities. To curb waste production in their shipping practices, the company collects and reuses packing peanuts from other businesses and from their neighbors.
As part of their normal business operation Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop recycles and sells just about every item that comes into their Kirkland store, and very little is actually thrown away. Clothes, shoes and toys that don’t get sold are donated to clothing banks; house wares and hardware are donated to Goodwill; and electronics are donated to their respective recycling programs. Employees are encouraged to eat at home or bring their own food in containers, reducing the amount of food waste and throwaway food containers generated by lunch. Rather than paper cups, volunteers at the store have their own ceramic coffee cups. The thrift shop also takes steps to reduce their paper usage by emailing meeting minutes to volunteers and posting them in the back room for those without email. They have also been taking steps to eliminate unnecessary reports and forms from daily business practices.
Advice to others: “People should get more use of their items instead of throwing them in a landfill and buying new. If they do buy new, they should recycle old items to recycling programs so they don't go to landfills. We have a shared Dumpster and we see a lot of things in that Dumpster that either should have been recycled or still have lots of use in them.”
Honda of Kirkland is excited to be involved in King County’s Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction awards for a third year in 2011. Building on their success from 2010, they continue to distribute their monthly newsletter to all current and potential customers digitally, reducing the use of paper-based direct mail pieces. Each newsletter contains helpful green tips, encouraging everyone to do their part to increase their positive impact on the environment. Honda of Kirkland’s staff conducts bi-annual “green parties” to work hand-in-hand with non-profit groups on local environmental projects. Their party this year coincided with Earth Day 2011, when they worked to restore a local park. Honda of Kirkland is also a designated drop-off location for Cell Phones for Soldiers, which recycles used cell phones. Not only are they reducing cell phone waste but they are also donating to a great cause.
Keeney’s Office Supply is joining the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list, and they take recycling seriously. In any given week, the Redmond office supply company will recycle more than one cubic yard of plastic wrap, 24 cubic yards of cardboard, a quarter of a cubic yard of Styrofoam, one cubic yard of packaging materials and more than 100 wooden pallets. Since the implementation of their recycling plan, Keeney’s Office Supply has reduced their waste by 85 percent.
Keeney’s differentiates themselves from other office supply and interior vendors by providing their customers with green services and solutions. From the everyday service of picking up and reusing toner cartridges and packaging, to providing an online ordering system that suggests greener alternative office supplies when purchasing, Keeney’s Office Supply is proud to assist a broader spectrum of offices in reducing waste and buying recycled content products.
Advice to others: “Encourage other vendors that you work with and the customers you support to be green—either by providing them with a green service (packaging pick up for reuse, green product alternatives, consolidated delivery) or opting to do a joint green initiative with your partners. This collaborative approach in itself is sustainable, and it also fosters a service environment that is always good for a company's reputation.”
As a retail store and three-time Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction, Simplicity Décor is a strong supporter of recycling efforts. When conducting business with vendors, Simplicity chooses to look first for those that both offer products made from recycled materials and participate in green business practices themselves. Employees are strongly encouraged to reuse paper when writing and printing, and all shipping boxes, Styrofoam, and packaging are reused or given to other shipping stores for their use. Any merchandise that gets returned to the store is donated or repurposed, rather than discarded.
Simplicity Décor’s management ensures that new employees are trained in the company’s recycling policy and practices. When the company expands their store in 2011, they plan to offer a greater selection of products made from recycled materials.
T-Mobile is proud of their Corporate Sustainability and Ethics Strategy; “Results in the Right Way” and “Best Place to Perform and Grow” are two important core values for this Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list newcomer. The company’s Bellevue campus has commingled recycling for many different materials, food composting and a robust employee commuter program. Employees are also offered recycling for cell phones, phone accessories, and other electronic waste, and any used office supplies are donated. Printers throughout their campus are defaulted to print and copy double-sided to conserve paper. To extend their sustainability practices into the community, T-Mobile created a green partnership program with nearby Issaquah Valley Elementary School.
Advice to others: “T-Mobile, in partnership with Xerox and using a soy-based ‘solid ink’ technology in a recently opened building on campus, has reduced packaging, reduced waste and eliminated the ink/toner cartridges completely. In fact, the remaining material that is 100 percent soy based goes into the food composting bin and is converted into soil. That’s reducing, reusing, recycling, and RETHINKING!”
Updated: Apr. 15, 2014