Tenth annual Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling
Each spring, businesses throughout King County, outside of the City of Seattle, are invited to apply for recognition as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. This year, King County’s Solid Waste Division has named 112 local businesses to its tenth annual list of Best Workplaces.
The 2016 list spans a wide array of businesses in King County – from multi-family housing to transportation. Innovative recycling and waste reduction strategies come in many forms from education to changing manufacturing practices. Some notable practices include Alaska Airlines implementing an on-board coffee ground composting program on all flights, Redhook Ale Brewery changing the design of their product packaging to use less cardboard, and Blueprint Consulting, LLC’s internal recycling competitions that aim to positively influence waste reduction behaviors in the office.
Each of the 2016 Best Workplace businesses listed has shown exceptional commitment to recycling and 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.
Special recognition goes to Honor Roll businesses that have made the list for five or more years and are identified by their logo and an Honor Roll graphic image along with their profiles below.
King County is also honoring one business from the list with the “Re-Innovator Award,” recognizing exceptional and innovative waste reduction programs.
This year’s recipient is Rainier Industries, a manufacturer of custom display, shade, and shelter products, including awnings and tents and yurts. Rainier has been in business in King County since 1896. In 2007, they developed their Sustainability Initiative and implemented an Environmental Management Plan. In 2015, they recycled 479 tons of waste, which resulted in a cost savings of $63,199. Sustainability is a core value at Rainier Industries, as demonstrated through their continuous improvements in their manufacturing processes and employees’ commitment to waste reduction and recycling.
Be inspired, learn something new, and glean ideas for your own business by viewing the 2016 Best Workplace profiles below. Don’t miss advice that many businesses have included in their profiles. Congratulations to each 2016 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
Bastyr University returns for its seventh year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling, and its third year on the Honor Roll. The University’s recycling programs continue to thrive even with a growing student population and increased staff. Materials recycled on campus include mixed paper goods, cardboard, compost, batteries, ballasts, lamps, fluorescent tubes, polystyrene, electronics, and metal. Each floor has centralized trash and recycling collection to helpsave can liners and hours of custodial services, while also increasing awareness of recycling programs and compliance. Since last year, the school reduced the number of compost collection containers by 60 percent by locating them strategically throughout the campus. The school was able to reduce the cost of labor and bin liners while maintaining the same level of compost collection.
Bellevue School District returns for another year on the Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling Honor Roll. The School District continues to require schools to set up “Green Genius” teams and meet goals on waste reduction, recycling, energy conservation, and water conservation. Schools are also required to help educate students, staff, parents, and the community. They partner with the City of Bellevue to conduct Zero Waste contests between schools. All schools have a 50 percent or higher recycling rate. Additionally, they have expanded reusable trays to almost all of their elementary schools, with the goal to eliminate all Styrofoam service ware. Soon they will be piloting reusable utensils. This year they partnered with Food Bus to pilot a program for donating all uneaten school lunch food to a local food bank. This pilot has been in place all year, with them donating about 50 pounds per week from one school. They are working with the King County Health Department to get approval to expand this program to other schools.
Advice for others: “Set new goals each year to keep moving forward—add ‘one more thing’.”
Special recognition goes to Nancy Larson and Cindy King, who lead the Bellevue School District’s waste prevention and recycling efforts.
Lake Washington School District (LWSD) continues to implement and expand its recycling and waste reduction programs, returning for its eighth time as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. Nearly 75 percent of schools in the district collect organic food waste for composting, durable trays and flatware, and all schools have plastic foam recycling. LWSD is a participant in the King County Green Schools program, focusing on engaging students in waste reduction and prevention. The district is committed to proactively right-sizing service, including smaller garbage containers and less frequent pickups.
Returning as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the fifth year in a row is Sammamish Montessori School, a preschool and elementary school based on the philosophy that children have an innate drive to become independent. As a school, they believe it is important to educate children and their families about recycling and find that children are typically the most mindful once they understand the importance of minimizing waste, recycling, and repurposing. The school uses recycled materials such as boxes and packing materials for arts and crafts at the “creation station.” Students make sure all food scraps from student lunches are placed in the compost bin. The school repurposes furnishings, purchases technology that will last longer and uses recyclable materials such as boxes and packing materials as crafts materials. Sammamish Montessori has also taken steps to reduce energy use and reduce their waste by installing automated lighting, encouraging students to bring reusable lunch containers, and setting paper towel dispensers to dispense the minimum amount of paper. Their focus has been to educate the students on the importance of recycling and to have them become the ambassadors for waste prevention at school and at home, educating their own families too.
Lea Hill Elementary School is a second-time addition to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list. With the help of the King County Green Schools program, students have learned to recycle paper, save water while washing their hands, compost food scraps, and use compost to grow and harvest vegetables and fruits. Even the pre-school students compost. Over the winter holidays, the students collected 1,865 pounds of holiday lights for reuse so that they wouldn’t go to the landfill. Additionally, they started a worm compost bin to manage some of the school’s food scraps.
Advice to others: “You’re never too young to learn how to compost, recycle, and reuse. At Lea Hill Elementary, we have three-year-olds in our preschool program who compost.”
Special recognition: Without Principal Edward Herda, who is advocate of integrating the environment into education, we would not be able to do what we do. The Green Team at Lea Hill thanks him for his support.
Joining the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the second time is Renton Technical College. The school offers training, re-training, and career paths for those who seek marketable job skills or to upgrade current skill sets. There is broad support for recycling on this campus, from students, faculty, and staff, to the individualized departments which, in many cases, seek methods to recycle materials unique to their programs. They recycle spent batteries on campus, and have a program to re-use old binders, office supplies, and other office materials. The Culinary Arts program fosters awareness of sustainability issues impacting the culinary industry, including energy and water conservation, purchasing local products, recycling plastic, cardboard, and aluminum, and eliminating waste in the kitchens.
The University of Washington at Bothell is a UW branch campus that prides itself on environmental sustainability and joins Best Workplaces for its first year. Their most prized environmental achievements include preserving the regionally-recognized 58 acres of wetlands on campus, eliminating the use of pesticides on campus, installing and using edible landscaping, and using energy monitoring dashboards. In the area of waste, they strive to use compostable disposables wherever possible, and employ both on-site composting methods and contracting with a commercial composter. They also use red wriggler worms to compost some food waste on site, which gets used to amend the soils for their on-campus landscaping.
Advice to others: “Engagement and culture building is important! In order for waste prevention and recycling to be successful, it is important to make sure the people who contribute to the waste stream are participating in diversion efforts.”
Amec Foster Wheeler Environment and Infrastructure, Inc is an international environmental, engineering, and project management consulting firm located in Bothell that joins the Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling Honor Roll for the third year. Since implementing a sustainability program in 2003, Amec’s Bothell office has made efforts to reduce waste in nearly every aspect of their business, including composting and recycling programs, annual carbon footprint tracking, setting printers to double-sided printing, eliminating bottled water, and trading disposable plates and utensils for dishes and silverware. The company has converted to paperless billing and regularly uses video conferencing technology to reduce the production of printed meeting materials. To show staff the results of their waste reduction efforts, the company posts charts of utility bills from the past six years. Recently, the company started composting all paper towels used in hand washing.
Notable results: The Bothell office started composting in 2008 with Cedar Grove, collecting a 96-gallon container of food waste each week from the office. This represents 39,936 gallons of material that has been diverted from the landfill since the program started.
The Albertsons/Safeway Bellevue Beverage Plant returns for its sixth year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling, earning a spot on the Honor Roll. The site is constantly seeking new recycling opportunities, donating and recycling items whenever possible, as well as maintaining and improving current processes. Recently they worked with a sister facility to re-use their office and plant supplies after a re-purposing process. As of June 2016, Albertsons/Safeway Bellevue Beverage has diverted 86,885 lbs. (43.44 tons) of waste from the landfill, for a cost saving of $5,220.49.
Advice to others: “Label and identify your recycling bins and trash containers carefully and with photos or illustrated images of the items that will most likely be recycled in your facility. Make sure you have plenty of containers in convenient and logical locations. People often become confused over what items should be recycled into different containers and need the interpretive postings to help. Also, congratulate and encourage employees when you see them recycling.”
CDM Smithmakes the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the ninth time. The Bellevue-based engineering, consulting, and construction firm practices green concepts such as composting, recycling e-waste and paper reduction. The firm recently improved its recycling process by adding a “donation cubicle,” where employees can purge items they no longer need for others to reuse, including books, office supplies, and office equipment.
CHS Engineers, LLC continues to strive to reduce the amount of waste it produces, and is on the 2016 Honor Roll for Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling. This medium-sized engineering consulting firm based in Bellevue avoids printing documents whenever possible in order to reduce paper waste. Their paper-intensive construction shop drawing submittal process has migrated from a multi-copy paper system to an all-electronic document system. By accepting electronic submittal of large plans or documents, they reduce the demand for resources for their client and associate networks. The company also recycles electronic items through 3R Technology, a local e-waste recycler.
Dynacraft, a PACCAR Companyreturns this year on the Honor Roll for the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list. Dynacraft, a PACCAR company located in Algona, is committed to reducing waste, conserving natural resources, and protecting the environment. Dynacraft consistently demonstrates a strong environmentally conscious culture developed and maintained through training, employee awareness, and accountability. Successful practices include the use of strategically placed recycle bins and returnable shipping containers, reductions in packaging material, supplier recycling partnerships, and clearly segregated waste flow. Dynacraft recycles various metals, wood, paper, cardboard, plastic, toner, light tubes, batteries, electronics, glass, spools, and food waste. Most recently, Dynacraft diverted an estimated 8 tons of defective glass from the landfill by returning it to the supplier for recycling. Additionally, they donate obsolete tubs and carts to the local food bank to be used in their operations. In 2016 Dynacraft will further reduce its environmental impact through identifying new recycling opportunities, improving current recycling programs, and completing projects that reduce non-recyclable waste.
Advice to others: “Our advice to other businesses is to remain diligent in their pursuit to reduce and reuse for the betterment of the environment. Businesses should 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 difference.”
Special recognition: all the members on the Environmental Committee: Rosie Renkert, Noah Howell, Edward Ellis, Terry Wiggins, Nicole Kotlan, Brittney Jones, Tracy Edenfield and DJ Schindler. The Environmental Committee consists of employees from all areas of the business; the team conducts monthly waste audits and meets monthly to discuss opportunities on how to improve current programs and to identify new opportunities. The team members are always available to respond to employee’s questions and concerns; their commitment to this program is a big part of Dynacraft’s environmental stewardship.
Joining the Honor Roll list for its fourth year is Kenworth Truck Company – Renton Plant. This truck plant has mature recycling programs in place for paper, cardboard, wood, plastic films, scrap metal, cooking and engine oils, , light bulbs, electronics, antifreeze, and toner cartridges. Their cafeteria has a composting program for food waste and food service items such as cups, plates, and napkins. They work with suppliers to reuse some packaging supplies and reduce packaging waste. Kenworth Truck Company also recycles wood pallets, and continues to invest in returnable and reusable shipping racks to reduce wood use.
Advice to others: “Taking a look inside your dumpsters is an eye-opening experience. Oftentimes you will find that a large portion of your “garbage” is recyclable. Many service providers will gladly help with different solutions for waste reduction and waste diversion.”
Rainier Industries, Ltd. joins the list of Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the fifth time, earning a place on the 2016 Honor Roll. Rainier Industries is a custom manufacturing company specializing in a diverse array of fabric, display and shade products. This year they added new machinery to reduce waste in their packaging process, including a shredding machine that turns scrap cardboard into packaging material, reducing the need for foam or bubble wrap.
In 2014, they switched hazardous waste haulers to a vendor able to remove inks, solvents and paints from scrap fabric. The residue is repurposed and the rags are now classified as non-hazardous and recyclable. In 2015 they recycled 479 tons of waste, a 13 percent increase from 2014. The overall cost savings resulting from recycling at Rainier was $63,199 last year. Recycling includes wood, metals, cardboard, compost, acrylic/plastic, co-mingled recycling (glass, metal, paper), and Sunbrella fabric (returned to the mill for re-purposing). Up-to-date recycling and waste reduction information is available on their website.
Advice to others: “Develop a culture of sustainability. Create an Environmental Policy that resonates with your employees and encourages everyone to protect and respect the environment, both at home and in your place of business.”
Special recognition: Sue Gilliom has been our tireless champion for sustainability at Rainier. She implemented our Environmental Management System in 2008 and was our Environmental Manager from then up until early this year when she transferred to a different position at Rainier. She remains highly committed to our Environmental Plan and sets a great example to all the other members of the Rainier team.
Torklift Central returns for their seventh year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. Located in Kent, Torklift Central is an installation, repair and manufacturing shop that specializes in custom fabrication, trailer hitches, welding, and towing applications. Torklift recycles metal scraps (copper, steel, aluminum), oils, wood pallets, cardboard, and office supplies. In 2013, Torklift installed an electric car charging station to encourage employees to drive electric cars to work. In 2014, they refurbished their air systems to decrease their energy use in summer months. One of their products, the EcoHitch, is constructed with recycled materials, which not only decreases waste, but has saved them an estimated $300,000 per year.
Advice to others: “Using document scanning and digital editing is a more efficient way to handle documents as opposed to continuous waste of paper.”
AFL HYPERSCALE, formerly Net IG, joins the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling in King County list this year. The Kent-based company designs and manufactures cable infrastructure. Net IG promotes waste reduction through a zero-new-packaging production line and reuses all received packaging materials. Their aggressive environmental policy includes eliminating non-reusable bottles and paper cups from the office; recycling wooden pallets, batteries and scrap metals; and encouraging employees to bring electronics from home for recycling.
Advice for others: "Check all of your resources and waste management programs in the area to see what they have to offer. Resources you already use often have programs and tools to help your company reduce waste and recycle more."
Special recognition: Denver Kerby, for going above and beyond by researching and implementing the majority of green initiatives as a part of Net IG’s Green Team.
Allpak Container LLC is a Renton business offering design and production services for customers’ packaging and display needs. Allpak has an environmental management system designed to minimize waste and prevent pollution. They capture and bale all corrugated cardboard, their primary leftover material, and other paper waste from plant activities. Designated recycling clerks monitor plastic recycling receptacles to ensure that all plastics are sorted correctly and picked up by the recycling service. Allpak also recycles wood waste from pallet refurbishing activities, metal waste from facility maintenance activities, and all electronic waste.
Cedar Grove Composting has deep roots in the Seattle area dating back to 1938 and now joins Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for its first year. Cedar Grove plays a critical role in the Puget Sound’s recycling infrastructure and sustainability efforts, diverting more than 350,000 tons of yard waste and food scraps from landfills annually. With processing facilities in Maple Valley and Everett, Cedar Grove is a local manufacturer providing green jobs in King and Snohomish counties. Cedar Grove produces nutrient-rich compost that is sold to businesses, governments, and residents, ensuring consumers have access to locally produced, recycled products. At their offices, they have recycling and composting options for employees and customers to use. In their production processes, they constantly evaluate waste and resources, working to reuse materials before using virgin materials. In addition to compost production, Cedar Grove also minimizes paper use in their office and offers a take-back program for fluorescent bulbs.
Chateau Ste. Michelle is Washington State's founding winery, featuring award-winning wines and historic chateau and grounds near Seattle, joins the Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Prevention for the first time. Chateau Ste. Michelle wineries and vineyards have implemented a wide range of programs to reduce waste, recycling glass, paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum, batteries, cell phones, florescent bulbs, label backing, and capsules at both of their facilities. They reduce food waste by composting leftover food in their commercial kitchen and composting grape pomace in the vineyards. Recently, they teamed up with a neighboring business to coordinate recycling pickups on the same day with their recycling vendor. This eliminates the need for the vendor to have to make multiple trips to the same neighborhood and ensures the vendor has a full truck of recycling. Additionally, they are an Envirostars certified business, working to reduce and eliminate hazardous wastes at the Chateau.
Clarisonic joins the list of Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the second time this year. They design, manufacture, market and ship Clarisonic devices in Redmond. The company has implemented a number of waste prevention/recycling practices, with a zero waste goal. Practices include: cardboard compacting program, a recyclables compacting program, returned or expired lotions are sent to Covanta for processing, returned plastics are recycled, outdated computer equipment gets recycled, and a compost program to enhance overall waste reduction. Over the course of the last year, they significantly cut the landfill waste tonnages by almost half—from an average of 6-7 tons per month, to roughly 3 tons per month. They also downsized their garbage container from a 30 yard compactor to a 6-yard dumpster.
Advice for others: "The best piece of advice I can give is to train your teams...and retrain. It's not always easy to figure out what to recycle vs compost vs trash. Make your teams feel they are part of the process. A recycling program is successful only if everyone participates. And, try to make it as easy and fun as possible!"
Hexcel Corporation is proud to be named to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for its fourth year. Hexcel manufactures and tests lightweight, high-performance components used in commercial and military aircraft, and has a location in Kent. The Hexcel Kent facility has sustained waste reduction, material reuse, and recycling initiatives as part of site operations and processes. They recycle approximately 80 percent of solid waste by volume and send 75 percent of hazardous waste to “waste to energy” reuse programs. They manage a just-in-time inventory system to prevent waste and donate usable surplus material to community college training programs. Hexcel partners with customers to ship products with little to no packaging and purchase office supplies such as paper and printer cartridges made from recycled material.
Joining King County’s Best Workplaces for the second time is Norgren GT Development Corporation, a global supplier of fluid and motion control technology for the commercial vehicle industry. Their successful waste prevention and recycling efforts are done in cooperation with suppliers. For example, the special packaging that they receive parts in is collected and returned to suppliers for reuse. This saves in costs to customers, and also eliminates waste.
Advice to others: “Utilize the many free resources to evaluate your facilities and processes to help find ways to reduce waste. Local energy companies will often perform a free audit to help you learn ways to reduce your energy and water use. In that way, you can lessen your carbon footprint. There are also many conservation grants to help fund energy saving projects at your site.”
PACE Engineers, Inc is an employee-owned company providing professional civil and structural engineering, planning, and land surveying services and is joining the list for the third year. The company is proud to be a Kirkland Green Business. Employees formed a committee called the HOPE Team to spearhead green initiatives and set goals for the organization. This year, the HOPE Team focused on increasing recycling efforts within the company and the communities they serve. PACE Engineers hosted their second annual E-Cycling event in Kirkland, provided in-house training on recycling and composting, and created 3-D signage and containers for common areas to clearly show what is recyclable, compostable, and designated for the landfill. They reduced electricity and water usage by 50 percent through conservation, and a waste audit led to a 42 percent reduction in waste processing costs. They were even able to get the property management company in their building to make composting mandatory for all tenants.
Advice for others: “First, it is important to get upper management involved and actively participating. This demonstrates to the entire company that they care and support sustainable practices, and encourages participation at all levels. Second, keep a constant flow of information to staff to keep recycling habits up. Reminding people regularly of the sustainable practices the company has in place improves participation.”
Redhook Brewery began in Seattle in 1981 and joined the Craft Brew Alliance in 2008 as the largest brewery in Washington, and now joins Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for its first year. They divert 98.5 percent of their waste from the landfill and maintain a Sustainability Committee that is committed to creating a company culture that values constantly thinking recycling and waste prevention. All industry waste is scrutinized, adopting best practices that include low-flow water nozzles, reduced paper in their cartons, and water-free conveyor belts. They recently purchased a new efficient air compressor, upgraded lighting to LEDs, and installed occupancy sensors to their lights. They compost kitchen waste and use recycled paper goods, and have reduced use of paper products, opting to use durable plates for employee meal to-go purchases. Further, they recycle and track metals, cooking oil, spent grain and yeast, glass, cardboard, wood, universal waste, and plastic. In the last year, we saved 5.5 tons of plastic, 24.7 tons of cardboard, 59.2 tons of glass, 62 tons of compost, and 4,080 tons of spent grain that goes to a local dairy farm to be re-purposed as cattle feed. They improved their recycling rate from the previous year by 12 percent. Garbage costs have been cut by 50 percent. This year they started using partition-less 12-pack containers which will avoid cardboard partitions in 121,718 beer cartons. The Redhook pub is 3-star Green Restaurant Alliance certified, earning 55.85 points for their waste prevention practices.
Advice to others: “When it comes to challenging and hard-to-recycle items, we would advise to continue to check back in with the market and search out new vendors (or the original manufacturer) that may have a regional solution to a unique waste stream.”
Special recognition: Sherri Sutton has single-handedly taken on the culture of recycling and has implemented numerous changes that have improved the workplace. She creates the Recycling Guide and signage to educate all employees and identifies office practices that can be moved to paperless, such as converting dashboards to an online version and completing safety check sheets on laminated reusable sheets. She has transitioned Redhook to a new vendor that helps them recycle more items. She helped to train employees on new balers for plastic and cardboard to ensure we are properly capturing market value for these recyclables. Overall, Sherri's passion, creativeness, and commitment has made a significant impact on Redhook's sustainability efforts and created a more engaging place to work.
The Tukwila manufacturing facility of Shasta Beverages joins the list of Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the second time. Shasta Beverages is a high-speed beverage production facility that produces both cans and bottles. They continually fine-tune their recycling program through frequent audits of their dumpster content. Corrugated cardboard and aluminum, their two largest streams of recyclable material, generate significant revenue for the facility. This year they upgraded their corrugated cardboard baler, allowing them to create larger bales, which overall saves them money per ton. They repurposed the old baler to now process shrink wrap.
Spiration (Olympus Respiratory America) designs and manufactures minimally invasive pulmonary medical devices. They recently formed a Green Team, establishing a goal to increase environmental awareness and reduce waste at their facility.The Green Team conducted a company survey to gauge interest in and knowledge of recycling and composting at the workplace and at home. It included questions to determine what discourages people from participating in waste reduction practices. Based in part on these results, the Green Team implemented a successful waste disposal program beginning with an interactive training event to educate employees on proper waste sorting. They set up waste disposal centers, which included garbage, recycling, and compost bins, in key locations around the office. Each center has posters above each bin to help employees sort their waste. Storage areas for all disposable items throughout the office, including coffee filters, plates, paper towels, and plastic silverware, are labeled to indicate which waste bin they should be placed in. The team also ensured that recycling bins are located in every room, cubicle, and office.
Advice to others: “The comprehensive training and proper signage have made participation in our composting program easy for employees.”
Trojan Lithograph joins the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list this year. Trojan Lithograph provides packaging solutions that include single-face litho-laminate, folding carton, retail-ready options, and special effects.They are ISO 14001 certified, have a robust sustainability program, and continually strive to prevent pollution and reduce our environmental impact. They source much of our roll stock from SFI & FSC forests, encouraging sustainable forestry practices. In 2015, Trojan Lithography recycled 5,584 tons of paperboard and paper scrap from their processes and 88 tons of metal. Additionally, they recycle plastic strapping, shrink wrap, used aluminum printing and die cutting plates, and electronics. Wood pallets are returned to pallet suppliers to get rebuilt and reused as long as possible. They recently partnered with a waste disposal company to re-purpose the majority of their industrial and hazardous waste into fuel, reducing incinerated waste to one barrel in the first six months of 2016.
FCS Group provides financial and management consulting services in the Pacific Northwest. The Redmond office returns for their eighth consecutive year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. FSC Group now conducts an annual waste audit to track waste streams and increase recycling and composting in the office. The company's Green Team provides monthly tips and tricks to promote best practices in waste prevention and recycling. The company continues to send and receive documents by scanning, rather than faxing, and uses electronic meeting notes to reduce paper waste from handouts.
The Green Team is new to FCS Group. Formed in April 2016, the Team's goal is to promote sustainable practices throughout the office. The team has already taken on numerous tasks including a waste audit, monthly "Green Tip", and more.
Advice to others: “We recommend offices conduct an annual waste audit. It allows us to track our progress as we seek to prevent waste and promote recycling. Waste audits should be conducted with transparency and not focus on individuals. Communication is key!”
CHOICE Insurance LLCis an independent insurance agency based in Kirkland. They have been a paperless company for more than 10 years. In addition to signing up for paperless statements and documents when possible, they scan in all paper copies of documents and send them electronically or on a thumb drive to clients. They reuse or shred and recycle all paper that comes through the office. These paper waste-saving techniques save the company money, as they use two-to-three reams of paper per week compared to the two-to-three per day they used before going paperless 10 years ago. CHOICE reduced energy usage by replacing older fluorescent lights with energy efficient and LED lighting where possible and installing light sensor switches for parking and hallways. They set the office default printer to PDF, and thus no longer receive paper copies of faxes as they come to a designated folder as a PDF. They eliminated ivy from the landscaping and replaced it with bark and rocks. They only use one server, and use a cloud for most documents. Finally, they have implemented wireless technology wherever applicable.
Advice to others: "It can be a struggle to get everyone in the office on the same page, especially those who are not as computer literate. To ease the stress and aggravation, set up short seminars for the office where you go over how to do different tasks on the computer instead of having to print them out. Prepare for each seminar by making a Word or Excel document that people can use for quick reference on how to do the tasks demonstrated in the seminar, and store these on a shared drive for the whole office to use."
Hyatt Regency Bellevue returns for the seventh year with new waste prevention efforts to share. With 732 guest rooms and 70,000 square feet of meeting space, they make a commendable effort to reduce waste and recycle. Recent improvements include strategically placing recycling bins in the lobby and foyer areas to increase recycling awareness and opportunities for guests. The kitchen uses an automated fryer oil management system that reduces waste, labor costs, and repair and replacement costs for manual oil filtering and disposal equipment. They recently installed MeLinks On Demand Ventilation, which reduces waste by controlling the amount of conditioned air used by the kitchen ventilation system. After a recent renovation, the Hyatt donated mattresses, metal, towels, and toiletries to local charities and recycling programs, and recycled 90 percent of their used furniture. The Hyatt donated 4,077 pounds of food in 2015.
Advice to others: “Almost everything is recyclable, however training and education is what makes the difference. Make recycling easy for your team by placing recycle bins in high waste areas such as a copy room and an employee cafeteria.”
Pagliacci Pizza returns for their sixth year with King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling, earning a spot, once again, on the Honor Roll. They were the first pizza company in the world to use pizza boxes and paper bags certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The forests, mills, and manufacturer for their packaging are all located within the Pacific Northwest. Pagliacci created a poster to educate their employees on what the business does to be environmentally friendly. Many locations have this poster on display for customers to see, and it is also included in the employee handbook. Pagliacci’s Madison Valley location is LEED certified and the Fremont location is equipped with solar panels.
Advice to others: “Stick with it. It is important to train employees on your practices and explain to them why it is part of your company culture.”
Twelve Baskets Catering, based out of Kirkland, remains on the list of Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling Honor Roll for the sixth consecutive year. As one of the first earth-friendly restaurants and catering services in Puget Sound, they are proud to say that they have been recycling since 1978, even before curbside collection was available. Twelve Baskets Catering infuses reuse, reduction, and recycling throughout their business model. Food scraps go into compost totes for bi-weekly pickup, and the business also donates safe leftover food to the Union Gospel Mission every week.
The business’ waste prevention and recycling practices have definitely led to savings and reduced costs. They have been printing on paper less and less each year, and in addition to saving money on paper and printer ink, they have also been able to get payments more quickly from clients because they use a digital online signature company. It is easier for clients to digitally sign the contracts and everyone now has access to the contract digitally. They have also saved money by switching to longer lasting light bulbs.
Advice to others: "In the food industry there can be the potential for a lot of waste. Nowadays there are so many options for biodegradable and even edible food service products, but they can be even cheaper than their non-compostable counterparts! We have found our clients to be not only receptive to these items, but also pleased to be a part of the green scene at their events. We also provide appropriate compost or recycle bins at our events for the guests to use. We can be creative with our menu and service options and help our clients choose packages and service ware that is good for the Earth."
The Westin Bellevue returns to be named a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for their eighth consecutive year. This hotel does their best to promote a sustainable lifestyle among their guests and team members, and is on a continuous mission to become “greener” wherever possible. They donate to the “Clean the World Foundation,” which collects and recycles soap and shampoo discarded by the hospitality industry and distributes them to those in need. They also were one of the first hotels to implement the “Make a Green Choice” program, which allows guests to choose to decline housekeeping services in exchange for a reward, saving water and energy. Every week, they donate food that is unexpired and unopened or has not been served to the local Boys and Girls Club. Any food they cannot donate they compost along with food scraps, wood, and appropriate paper products. They involve their suppliers in their waste reduction practices, and require that food and other supplies be shipped in recyclable boxes.
Advice to others: "Starwood’s Environmental Sustainability Policy reflects our commitment to creating a truly sustainable, environmentally responsible business model. We are in the initial stages of what will ultimately be a multi-year transformation in the way we do business. Starwood is committed to making a measurable difference. Tracking and reporting on the implementation and performance of environmental sustainability initiatives allows Starwood and its hotels to communicate progress to stakeholders and to assess and continually improve upon program practices that effectively reduce environmental impact."
Maven Meals & Maven Mercantile is a meal service located in Burien that delivers home-cooked, nutritious meals throughout King County. Joining the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for its second year, Maven Meals takes recycling and food waste composting seriously. Each work station in the kitchen is equipped with a compost bin as well as a small trash receptacle for gloves and other non-recyclable items to keep them out of the food waste stream. The business was responsible for initiating food waste composting at the shared commissary kitchen where they previously operated. By composting food scraps, Maven Meals saves an average of $750 per year on waste disposal costs.
The City of Bothell returns to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for its fifth year. The City spent part of 2015 merging two buildings into a new City Hall, wherein Solid Waste and Recycling staff worked to create a process for recycling, archiving, or reusing office supplies and paper. Additionally, they worked with other entities, including other office locations, Recology CleanScapes, and Goodwill, to reuse, recycle, or repurpose supplies and materials. With the new City Hall, the City implemented increased food scrap collection and offering durable service-ware in order to make it easier for employees to reduce their waste impact. The City is not working on waste audits to identify future waste reduction efforts at other City buildings.
Advice for others: “Keep auditing and keep asking. Opening lines of communication within various departments can lead to new ideas about reusing and repurposing.”
The City of Issaquah returns to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for its fifth year and makes the Honor Roll. The City of Issaquah not only promotes recycling and waste reduction among its citizens and businesses, but also works hard to reduce waste and recycle within City government. Some strategies include promoting the City Council passed and voter upheld plastic bag ban, working with restaurants to promote food waste composting, and making sure all City events have recycling and composting. The Facilities Department recycles as much as possible from demolished buildings on City property. The Support Services Department thoroughly researches and purchases recycled content office supplies and products. This year, the City piloted composting bathroom paper towels.
Advice to others: “Spending time educating staff, and keeping container signage updated, pays dividends in increased recycling across the organization. Communicating with, and getting suggestions from custodial staff is a key to a successful recycling program.”
The City of Kent continues on the Honor Roll of King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list, leading by example for its citizens. The City’s facilities maintenance crew purchases only green cleaning products. Staff continues to do well with both recycling and food waste diversion with only the occasional reminder. New hires receive information in their new-hire packets to ensure participation. To date, the City has offered three "Repair Time" events for both staff and the public, to help keep viable products out of the garbage or from being dumped on vacant lands. Additionally, they continue to collect Styrofoam blocks, batteries, toner cartridges, and CFLs for recycling.
Advice to others: “Waste reduction and recycling are a never-ending learning process. With constant product and process changes, it's important to keep communicating the messages to achieve the desired goals.”
The City of Kirkland returns for their fifth year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling, earning them a spot on the Honor Roll. The City works hard to reduce waste and recycle more. They started a very successful paper towel composting program for the bathrooms at City Hall. Employees were excited to find a way to reduce a large source of trash and adapted to the program quickly. Recycling and reducing waste saves them significantly on tonnage and disposal costs internally, and staff actively work with businesses to help them save as well. The City was able to decrease garbage pickups at City Hall through a pilot program that installed Enevo waste sensors on city facility dumpsters. Recycling and organics programs offered by the City of Kirkland are free for businesses, offering an outstanding opportunity for cost savings. In 2016, the City of Kirkland also implemented a plastic bag reduction policy throughout the city, and promoted a campaign to encourage the use of reusable bags.
Advice to others: “Be creative and willing to try new things! We’ve found that employees are very receptive to new programs. They like to have these options available to them, and like to be able to reduce more at work.”
The City of Redmond continually strives to improve its waste reduction practices, making it on King County’s Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Prevention Honor Roll for their fourth time. The City of Redmond works to recycle beyond the basics: the City has block Styrofoam recycling, as well as composting bins in all kitchenette areas. Batteries and cooking oil can also be recycled at the City. The City also buys recycled items when possible. They use 30 percent post-consumer copy paper and purchase recycled lumber.
Advice to others: “Be sure to check with the staff of the city in which your business operates to find out about free programs they may offer to help reduce waste and recycle more. In Redmond call 425-556-2832.”
Making it on the Honor Roll list of King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the fourth time, the City of SeaTac continues to promote environmental stewardship. They work closely with City-contracted solid waste collection hauler to either find places for reusing discarded items or a recycling option for the items no longer needed in-office. City facilities continue to recycle in-house regularly. They plan to begin a solid waste collection study to understand where they can best implement waste prevention and reduction practices.
Advice to others: “Encourage upper management to promote waste reduction and recycling/reuse of supplies and staples. As a city government, use your recognition as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling as an example for local businesses, in addition to providing contact information to that community sector to encourage best practices overall. Work with your local solid waste collection company to assist business community members to find improved ways to reduce their waste, reuse what is still usable, and dispose of trash properly.”
The City of Tukwila returns to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the seventh consecutive year, earning a spot on the Honor Roll. The City of Tukwila not only promotes recycling and waste reduction among its citizens and businesses, but also works hard to reduce waste and recycle within city government. Employees at City offices can recycle a range of materials, from office paper, cans, bottles and paper packaging to ink and toner cartridges, mercury-containing lights, yard debris, and food waste.
Advice to others: “Changing established habits requires persistence and ongoing education. Try to identify a point person/"hero" to lead recycling efforts and rally the troops. Establish clear communication and expectations to the greatest degree possible.”
The City of Auburn joins the Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling this year. The City encourages waste reduction at all City sponsored events by offering recycling. They offer food waste collection when the collection station can be staffed. Departments are also encouraged to provide recycling and food waste collection at meetings. The Solid Waste Outreach Team provides waste reduction, recycling, food waste reduction, backyard and worm bin composting, and proper hazardous waste disposal to residential, multifamily, and business customers through grant-funded programs. Information avenues include, but are not limited to: City events, social media, e-mail list serves, newsletters, posters, postcards, flyers, special workshops/events, and presentations.
Advice for others: “Outreach efforts need to happen regularly and be clear and simple. Think "back to basics” when it comes to recycling; focus on clean collection streams; multifamily residences and businesses need on-site champions to help create long-term successful programs.”
The City of Federal Way returns to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for its fourth year. The City continues to reduce, reuse, and recycle in order to serve as a model to area institutions, businesses and residents. City Hall’s employees can recycle many materials, including: office paper, cans, bottles, paper packaging, ink and toner cartridges, batteries, mercury-containing lights, yard debris, and food waste. The City also provides public recycling access at several locations for batteries/cellphones, cfl's/tubes, and bottle caps (for Highline Community College's MaST Marine Fisheries Art Program).
Advice to others: "Don’t let lack of space (indoor or outdoor) hinder you from expanding your recycling efforts. Interior recycling containers don’t need to be fancy – they just need to be conveniently located and well-marked. You can allow recycling to be collected from work stations once a week versus every evening, which can help gain acceptance from your custodial staff. Take advantage of the up-to-date listing of recycling purveyors via King County's on-line 'what do I do with' database."
The City of Lake Forest Park is a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the second year. Lake Forest Park offers recycling at City Hall for electronics, batteries, and CFL lightbulbs so residents can easily drop off their used or unwanted items at a central location. The City also hosts the Earth Smart Green Fair, where they have educational information on best practices and "how-to's" on recycling, natural yard care, and reducing waste. They also reduce waste and save money on paper and ink by printing less, using double sided printing, and editing documents via email and on a shared drive. The City also added compost bins in the eating areas and bathrooms to reduce waste.
Making the list of Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the third year, the City of Mercer Island constantly seeks ways to reduce the impacts of its own operations, as well as the actions of its citizens. The City is proud to share one of the highest residential recycling rates in King County, at 65 percent (and multifamily at 20 percent). This year, lunchroom composting was expanded to other facilities and events, and City buildings have canceled water delivery services in favor of new on-site filters. Free biannual public recycling events continue to draw 800-900 vehicles, allowing residents to recycle difficult items such as appliances, tires, and batteries. The City demonstrates its commitment to sustainability and efficiency through employing a full-time Sustainability Manager. The plastic bag ban launched in 2014 remains in place and popular; a countertop food waste tub giveaway starts this summer. Many aging or hazardous trees felled on the island are chipped for use by parks staff.
Advice to others: "It’s important to demonstrate best practices at City facilities, events, and public meetings, in order to encourage residents to do the same. If you're starting a program from scratch, choose some easy projects likely to generate early wins and build momentum."
With a comprehensive waste reduction and recycling program in place, the City of Renton makes the best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Prevention for its third time. The City continually strives to improve its standard recycling and organics and food waste compost collection. City staff events have full recycling and food waste compost collection available, and use compostable plates and service ware. The City continues to look for new materials to collect and recycle throughout its facilities, a list that already includes batteries and toner cartridges. A city policy revised last year requires all surplus items to be transferred internally between city departments before being traded in, donated, or sold.
Advice to others: "Start small and build on that. Once coworkers get used to recycling it is easier to add more recycling/composting and reuse initiatives."
The City of Shoreline makes the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the fourth year in a row. Shoreline continues to expand its recycling program by incorporating recycling opportunities into a new maintenance facility. In addition, the City makes natural yard care a priority by reducing pesticide use and irrigation, and increase reliance on hand weeding. The City's right-of-way maintenance contract does not allow pesticide use. Reducing the amount of irrigation at Shoreline City Hall and various other City locations, saved an estimated $35,000 this year. Additionally, City Hall recycles batteries from employees and community residents.
This is the City of Snoqualmie’s second year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. As a local government, the City of Snoqualmie offers residents and employees numerous opportunities to recycle many kinds of materials. Annual community recycling collection events are well attended by residents, and the City sponsors year-round programs to collect and recycle fluorescent lights, batteries, used oil, and yard and food waste. The City has a reclaimed water utility that provides much of the water used for irrigating public and private properties. At City Hall and in other City-run offices, recycling and waste reduction practices have reduced waste considerably. They purchase less paper, toner, and other supplies due to two-sided printing and paperless record keeping, allowing them to maintain the same size waste containers despite substantial growth in the community and City workforce. The City is currently working on reducing the use of bottled water in the community.
Advice to others: “Making significant changes in consumption and disposal practices requires consistent, ongoing efforts to remind staff of the environmental impact of their actions. This is not a subject that can be addressed once and then forgotten. Ongoing education is the key.”
North City Water District (NCWD) is a public water district that serves approximately 25,000 people in parts of Shoreline and Lake Forest Park. The NCWD returns to the Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the third time this year. Recently, the NCWD installed a water bottle filling station in its lobby to encourage the public to drink tap water as opposed to bottled water. This reduces waste and conserves fuel used in the production of plastic bottles. The lobby also has a collection container for employees and customers to recycle used household batteries.
Advice for others: “We are in the process of transitioning paper files to electronic for many of our old records. Changing old habits is hard but with continued education and reduction of surplus items in the workplace, others are inspired and encouraged to change habits.”
Evergreenhealth joins King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the eighth consecutive year. Evergreenhealth is a 245-bed community hospital providing 24/7 care in Kirkland. This year they formally released an “Environmental Commitment Statement’ that shows their commitment to staff and the community to practice the most sustainable measures in providing patient care. In addition to their impressive ‘all-in-one-recycling’, they have been educating their staff in separating drug waste in the hospital in a more environmentally friendly and stream-lined manner to make drug disposal simple for staff and safe for the environment. They plan to extend their education during the year to include proper drug disposal at home and in the community.
Advice to others: “Continuously remind staff of your environmental initiatives so they know the current practice and are carried along by the organization’s enthusiasm for waste prevention and recycling.”
Federal Way Naturopathy, specializing in minimally invasive natural therapies, returns to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for their sixth consecutive year, earning them a spot on the Honor Roll. In 2014, they started their own sustainability committee to improve environmental awareness, education, and recycling programs in and around the clinic. Some of these initiatives have included installing a bike rack, replacing all lights, composting paper towels, defaulting copier to double-sided copying. Federal Way Naturopathy works with a vendor that provides recycled paper products for all office uses. They implemented an electronic medical records program that reduces the need for charts, appointment calendars, file cabinets, and other equipment associated with medical charting. They also encourage their patients and employees to adopt green policies in their own homes and offices.
Advice for others: We often advise our patients that they can pay today in money and time to care for themselves, or they can pay later with increased healthcare cost and illness that results from not taking care of themselves today. The same goes for our waste reduction program. While we'd like it to save us money or time immediately, we are content to know that we are doing the best thing for our future interests, and that we might pay more now in order to save later.”
Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue returns for its ninth consecutive year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling, and its sustained efforts to reduce waste has earned it a place on the program’s honor roll. They are continually looking for opportunities to be greener. Recently, they launched a public restroom compost paper towel program on the campus. They make a concerted effort to recycle and band cardboard, composting, and packaging materials. The food service has worked to implement higher levels of reusable wares for patient meals to reduce the use of disposable products.
Advice to others: "The more we can get manufacturers to standardize their disposable ware/compostables, the better. Customers are often confused about what to trash, compost, and recycle. Recycling systems should be intuitive to customers, to enable them to make quick decisions."
Schur Orthodontics is on the Honor Roll once again in 2016 for completing six years as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. The orthodontics office has reduced their printing and postage by around 90 percent by switching to electronic communications. They also recycle all non-contaminated paper products.
Advice to others: “We’ve found recycling and waste reduction to be cost-effective, rewarding, and easily integrated.”
In Harmony Sustainable Landscapes lands on the Honor Roll once again, having been a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the last nine years. They are committed to sustainable practices in their workplace, helping customers create landscapes that are designed and maintained in an environmentally responsible manner. They are also end users of recycled products, and last year used more than 2,500 yards of composted topsoil from Cedar Grove. In addition to well established recycling practices, they have a take-back program in place for light bulbs and electronics. All printer cartridges are refilled or recycled, and their furnishings are made with recycled materials.
Starfire Sports is a soccer complex with 12 outdoor and two indoor fields where numerous soccer leagues, practices, tournaments and professional games take place each year. Returning for their fifth year as one of King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Reduction and Recycling, they have now earned a place on the Honor Roll. They continue to use reclaimed water for grass field irrigation, have recycle bins located next to all garbage cans, and work with the other on-site tenants for consolidated ordering and shipments, which reduces waste of shipping materials. Before recycling paper, they use it as scratch pads for employees, adding an extra life to the paper. Additionally, colored file folders even get reused for red/yellow cards by refs on the fields. Starfire recently updated their copier and printer to collect usage information in order to better assess ways to reduce paper usage in the business.
Advice for others: “Having recycle bins conveniently located has a large and positive impact. With all the water and sports beverages consumed out near the fields, having many well placed recycle bins goes a long way to encourage proper disposal and making it easy to do so since people don't tend to spend extra time seeking a recycle bin if all they see is a garbage.”
Wilder Environmental Consulting has been a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for five consecutive years and continues on to the Honor Roll this year. An environmental consulting business based in Burien, they have stringent recycling and waste reduction policies both onsite and in the field. They use 100 percent recycled-content office paper, envelopes, letterhead, and business cards. They compost food, use LED light bulbs, use a hybrid Toyota Prius as their company car, and use iPADs in the field to reduce paper use while storing and sharing documents electronically. Additionally, they use the Buy Nothing website to donate unwanted items for reuse.
Advice to others: “Set goals each year and keep trying to evaluate practices to further reduce waste. If there is a certain item you generate most often, find a local recycler to take this or determine if there is a way to have an alternative to this waste stream to eliminate it.”
Division 9 Flooring, a commercial flooring company based in Woodinville, joins the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for its second year. Division 9 Flooring builds sustainability into their business model. Since 2008, the company has recycled or diverted 900,000 pounds of carpet and carpet pad from entering the landfill. They continuously research new ways to divert other forms of waste generated in the demolition and construction process from landfills as well. They reduce their need to purchase new packaging materials by reusing materials that are sent to them. Sustainable purchasing practices have helped the company recognize that their office does not need to rely on standard consumable products. They have a washer and dryer on-site for reusing towels and washcloths; they compost all food waste; and they encourage employees to bring in items that are difficult to recycle, like plastic bags, batteries, and light bulbs.
Eastside Baby Corner joins Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for its first year. Eastside Baby Corner is an Issaquah-based non-profit whose mission is to help local kids in poverty or crisis by giving them all of the basic essentials—clothing, toys, car seats, beds, and more. They collect these items for donation, which keeps thousands of items out of the landfill each year. In addition to accepting donations, they also offer take-back and recycling programs for plastic bags and some electronics.
Advice for others: “Not only can the items you no longer need help the environment, they can also change lives. Donate, donate, donate!”
King County welcomes GLY Construction back to the Best Workplaces list for the third time. GLY is a general contractor committed to the success of Pacific Northwest companies and communities and is dedicated to forming partnerships that enhance the quality of life. Last year, GLY identified a sustainable way to capture, reuse, and recycle rainwater, as well as responsibly clean out concrete slurry pans. They have a Sustainability Committee that meets regularly to educate, apply, and document GLY’s efforts in waste prevention. This year, the Committee has focused on researching greener options for products the company uses heavily, comparing the options, and aligning them with the overall budget.
Advice to others: “We have found that the best way to ensure that everyone is on board and participating in our waste prevention goals is to educate and constantly reinforce. We have sought to make our sustainability efforts a part of our culture here at GLY.”
Special recognition: The Sustainability Advocacy Committee, who leads the whole GLY team in working towards the company’s waste prevention goals.
Lula Ruby Organic Salon makes the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Prevention list for the third time. Located in the Snoqualmie Valley, the salon is always striving to reduce or eliminate its carbon footprint. Salon owners work with product supply companies that share their vision to eliminate unnecessary waste in packaging. Since day one, they have utilized Puget Sound Energy's Green Power program, and recycle everything down to the foils that are used in clients’ hair. This year they added a water filtration system to avoid bottled or delivered water, and their low energy washer and dryer combo costs as low as $15 per year to run. The salon uses no ammonia products and LED lighting. They even proudly compost the hair that they sweep up off the floor!
Advice to others: “Make recycling a priority – you would be surprised at how many staff members already recycle at home, so doing it at work is easy!”
Morris’ Shadow Mountain Stables joins the Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the first time this year. Some of their services include training horses, horseback riding lessons, horse schilling, horse riding, and horse parties (adults and children). They have large amounts of horse manure that they use to fertilize their fields and gardens, as well as making it available for purchase. They integrate materials reuse into their horse paddocks by repurposing old railroad cross mats from the City of Issaquah rather than purchasing straw or shavings. This method keeps the paddocks mud free, requires less maintenance, and keeps the rubber out of the landfill.
Advice to others: “Repurposing items not only helps our environment but also can help improve the appearance and functionality of your property. In our case, it has really helped with mud control and the improvement of our horse’s feet.”
Mr. Pressure Wash joins the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the first time this year. Instead of wasting 600-700 gallons of water per hour, as many pressure washing companies do, Mr. Pressure Wash uses a state-of-the-art water reclamation system to vacuum up the dirty water, pass it through an advanced filtering system, and reuse the clean water. Rather than adding chemicals to the wash water that are harmful to the environment, Mr. Pressure Wash uses a proprietary soap formulation that is mild and biodegradable. In addition, Mr. Pressure Wash has one of the best quality control programs in the industry to ensure dirty wash water does not run down the drains that feed into Puget Sound. When pressure washing a parking garage, they use as little as 500 gallons of water, when it can normally take up to 12,000 gallons. This translates into approximately $120 in water cost savings per job.
Advice for others: “Making the commitment to being green has produced many benefits. The environment is better off. Our staff is more motivated working at a company that makes a difference. We also get more customers because an increasing number of customers care about being green. Our investment to lead the industry in environmental friendliness has paid off many times over.”
Contact name & email: Michelle Strazis, email@example.com
Spiritwood at Pine Lake is an assisted living community on the Sammamish Plateau. Spiritwood at Pine Lake serves and cares for their residents in all aspects of life including dining, activities, and care services. This is their third time on the Best Workplaces list and the third year of their green program, which includes recycling and composting in all staff departments and residential areas of the community. Colored bins and instruction posters are located throughout the community to make being green easy and accessible to all residents and staff members. Staff and resident guidance is on-going daily. With the implementation of this program, residents and staff have continued to reduce Spiritwood's garbage collection by more than half. Last year, they replaced all compact fluorescent lightbulbs with LED lights in the common areas and resident apartments, reducing energy costs by $3,000. This year they have replaced standard light switches with sensor switches in common areas to further reduce our energy costs.
Advice to others: “Every little bit of change counts towards making a big difference in reducing waste.”
Styro Recycle LLC, located in Kent, collects and processes Styrofoam. The company joins the list of Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling in King County for its second year. The company collects Expanded Polystyrene (EPS, commonly known as Styrofoam) from businesses and the public for reuse in recycled plastic products. They have a pick-up service for local businesses and a residential and business drop site where they collect Styrofoam, polyethylene foam and cardboard. One of their waste prevention efforts came when a company that assembles office furniture came by to drop off their EPS foam for recycling. They noticed a lot of old furniture in their truck that they planned to take to the transfer station for disposal. Styro Recycle asked if they would like to donate it to them, since they had no furniture; Styro Recycle furnished 99% of their office with re-used office furniture.
Advice for others: "When we recycle right, we can recycle more. Separation is key when trying to recycle complicated products, for example when we receive products in hard clear plastic blister packs, we have to remember to remove any paper or cardboard before recycling. New computers come in cardboard cases with rigid handles, please remove those hard plastic handles before tossing it in the recycle bin.”
David Evans and Associates (DEA), an employee-owned engineering and consulting firm based in Bellevue, continues to demonstrate stewardship of the built and natural environments. They join the Honor Roll for the fourth year as one of King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling program. The firm’s core purpose is to improve quality of life while remaining environmentally conscious. Recycling bins and instructions are located in each office, and facilities for recycling reusable batteries, CFL bulbs, disks, and ink cartridges are provided as well. They have experienced cost savings through reducing printed documents and increasing use of electronic forms.
Advice to others: “A major focus this year has been the planning and execution of our office move with significant consideration of ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle throughout the process. Our moving company has provided us with reusable plastic totes, dollies, racks, and large crates to pack all office materials, rather than purchasing boxes. As a result of the move, we have also found excess supplies that can be reused and donated. DEA has worked to donate unused supplies to churches, schools, and homeless shelters. Furniture is being donated or reused in other offices. Even when going through a move, we are finding many ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle office supplies and materials.”
A returning member to the list, Golder Associates, Inc. is one of the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling thanks to some creative approaches to sustainability. As a global company providing consulting, design, and construction services, Golder embraces sustainability. Golder has a firm-wide sustainable development report that includes targets for reducing the company’s carbon footprint. The Redmond location updated the company’s environmental issues register, which contains tactics to identify, manage, and improve upon their workplace’s environmental challenges, such as waste management. Their office promotes and encourages use of video-conferencing and instant messaging to reduce corporate travel and in turn, their carbon footprint. Golder Associates, Inc. continues to improve recycling and composting programs, use printers with eco-smart defaults, deliver e-reports, and offer an alternative commuting incentive program. They recently began collecting data using an energy monitoring device to assess energy usage to replace inefficient power strips and other office equipment, and have encouraged staff to "Power-Down" on nights and weekends.
Advice to others: “We highly encourage offices to set up an Office Trading Post and/or lending libraries. Ours has been very well received by staff and is a great avenue to facilitate reduction, reuse, and recycling of office supplies and equipment that may typically be overlooked or thought of as expendable. Some highlights of our Office Trading Post include:”
Special recognition: Golder’s Pacific Northwest Environmental and Sustainability Committee, championed by Aaron Rydecki, and core committee members (Greg Curtiss, Ryan Kober, Alison Dennison, Peter Fahringer, Sarah Koski, Jen Pepe, Diane Crawford, Traci Sanderson, Rens Verburg, Todd Morris, Sue Ando, and Angela Kinderis) participate in multiple meetings and sustainability programs and continue to demonstrate their commitment to improving environmental and sustainability aspects both in our office and in the community.
Ingenium Group, LLC provides full-spectrum environmental and waste management services, including transportation, recycling, and repurposing of hazardous and non-hazardous materials. This year, their Kent office joins the Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling Honor Roll for the first time for making the list five years in a row. Ingenium helps companies reduce costs by streamlining their processes and minimizing their waste volumes through strategies such as redirecting manufacturing by-products and from the landfill to waste-to-energy programs. Their goal is to do much more than provide a disposal or even recycling services to their clients. Ingenium is committed to a partnership with clients in environmental management issues, working together to increase sustainability and reduce costs, and recapturing capital in every possible area.
Advice to others: "Ingenium is proud to be in the vanguard of regulated waste management and sustainability through innovative recycling and process collection efforts. Results such as those provided by our Emerald Energy and Orphan Chemical programs are designed to help our clients maximize their efforts while reaping the greatest possible benefit."
Neil Levinson Enterprises returns as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for their sixth year, continuing to qualify them for the Best Workplaces Honor Roll. This small, Kirkland-based furniture and cabinet wholesale business has been recycling for many of the 26 years they have been in business. They were the first company in Kirkland to use BioBags for their yard waste bins, where they compost all their shredded documents. Recently, they have begun reusing their polystyrene peanuts by finding other local businesses that need them for shipping.
Outsource Marketing is in their tenth year as a King County Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling, having been recognized every year since the program started. The Issaquah-based marketing agency continues its focus on being a low waste office. All Outsource employees sign a Green Pact, and nearly every part of the business is handled digitally. They save time and money through online meetings, digital estimates and approvals, online billing instead of printing and mailing, online document revisions, and signing agreements online. They use a Nest thermostat, which allows them to reduce energy while having considerably more control over office temperatures. The company has their HVAC system serviced regularly, which contributes to the efficiency of their heating and cooling system. This year, they have focused on reducing the use of lights in the office. They have a few small lamps throughout the office for supplemental lighting, but try to keep the main lights off whenever possible.
Advice to others: “First, be deliberate about finding new ways to reduce your carbon and waste footprint. There's plenty of ideas provided here by the recipients of this award. Second, your organization needs at least one champion to make this happen, but now our whole team is onboard. On day one employees sign a "Green Pact" and we work hard to live by it.”
Blueprint Consulting Services, LLC provides progressive business management and IT solutions. This is the Bellevue-based firm’s second year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. Blueprint Consulting Services reduces their paper waste by using an electronic system to gather information and signatures for client agreements, purchase orders and other important documents. They encourage employees to use plates, silverware, and reusable water bottles, and recycling bins are in every office, corner and meeting room. When the company moved into their new office building, the leadership team decided to reuse the furniture of the previous occupant, saving roughly $30,000 as a result. In launching two new sites this past year, they made sure to purchase furniture made with recycled materials and installed filters on faucets so that people could fill up reusable water bottles.
Advice for others: “Placing signs above the trash and recycling areas have surprisingly started many conversations in the break room. Lately, we started a competition of who could use their personal water bottle more (if caught with a single-use bottle, you are docked points). In turn, we've been able to add recycling efforts into our fun culture at work!”
Special recognition goes to: Pooja Nadubettu, Thomas Hallstrom and Danielle Funston. Danielle is the VP of Operations and recently recognized the need to begin submitting our HR documents online rather than printing and getting physical signatures on 2 copies. They did not have a program that could meet these needs surrounding the process behind these documents, so Danielle enlisted two SharePoint consultants on an internal project to create a Performance Management and Bench tool. Pooja and Thomas successfully created these tools within internal SP site. It not only made their process extremely efficient, reducing the amount of paper they need to print.
Farallon Consulting, LLC is an environmental consulting firm committed to being green. Sustainability is part of Farallon’s strategic plan, and the company has a “Going Greener” team to champion new efforts. Every office and common area has a recycling bin, and every common area and bathroom has a composting bin, leading to high recycling and composting rates and low levels of contamination. As an office, they also recycle batteries and electronics, provide washable dishes in the kitchen areas, and have implemented a paperless reporting and filing system. Recently, they have started to track paper use and set annual goals for reductions. They have prioritized ordering products made from recycled materials whenever possible. Farallon strongly encourages employees to bike to work, and provides van-shares and carpools to company events. Their efforts have led to approximately 400 pounds less waste generated by the office per month.
Knowledge Anywhere, Inc. is a corporate training provider that builds custom, performance-based learning solutions, and joins the Best Workplace list for its third year. Over the last year, they have made improvement to their waste prevention strategy through creating an online proposal generation service, shifting payments to an online platform, and developing an electronic newsletter. These practices have reduced the amount of paper they use throughout their business processes.
Advice for others: “Promoting a more environmentally-conscious work culture isn’t just good for waste prevention—it’s good for business, too. By digitizing more of our work processes, we’ve made the transition from purchase intent to product delivery more seamless for our customers.
American Classic Homes is a real estate firm based in Renton that has been on the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for 10 years running. Understanding that their industry is generally paper heavy, the employees at American Classic Homes have switched to scanning, sharing, and storing their paperwork through their online server. They switched to a multi-use, central office copier/printer that keeps track of usage and efficiency. Paper that is printed by error is recycled or used in other ways around the office. Many of the brokers use a laminated flyer in the flyer boxes for homes that are for sale and do not print excess flyers.
Rowley Properties once again shows their commitment to sustainability, returning on King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for their eighth consecutive year, placing them on the program’s Honor Roll. In the office, they collect food waste for compost and continue to reduce paper waste. They offer a paperless accounts payable system that allows vendors to submit invoices electronically, eliminating the need for paper invoices and paper checks. They educate and encourage their tenants to adopt sustainable practices, and strive to incorporate sustainable strategies into construction projects and property management, continuously improving building performance and purchasing recycled materials whenever possible. In 2015, Rowley Properties was the proud recipient of the Golden Dumpster award given by Recology Cleanscapes.
Windsor Heights Apartments returns for its fifth year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. As a low income housing community in SeaTac with 326 on site families, they take advantage of their ability to encourage their residents to recycle through education and item exchange opportunities. Windsor Heights posts recycling notices around waste removal areas in multiple languages in order to communicate with all their diverse residents. They have also recently partnered with Mercy Housing, another affordable housing service, to expand their recycling and waste management outreach through multi-lingual classes and instructions.
ABM On-Site Services West joins the Best Workplaces list for the first time. ABM is a premier facility services and building maintenance provider; offering services such as energy solutions, clinical, engineering, parking, HVAC and mechanical, janitorial, and solid waste consulting. ABM has developed a LEED Accredited Sustainability Management team that delivers specialized solutions to reduce business’ environmental impacts. Examples include tracking solid waste metrics in real-time and using data to support program initiatives, completing 15 large-scale waste audits in past 12 months, implementation and auditing of the restroom paper hand towel composting program in over 2,500 Seattle area restrooms since 2012, supporting unused food and paper donation programs, and partnering with key stakeholders to support education and outreach campaigns.
One successful waste prevention effort is the Onsite Waste Sorting Service. They identify sorting opportunities based on client’s facility type and usage, develop detailed proposals for steps to implement along with a cost benefit and scenario analysis. Through this service, they have demonstrated 25 percent increases in diversion rates overnight. This service in currently operating at multiple different facility types and has allowed 15 separate locations within the state of Washington to exceed a 90 percent diversion rate.
Advice for others: “Creating an award-winning waste diversion program can seem like a daunting task, often with diverse and competing stakeholder responsibilities and engagement. We have found that an advanced waste diversion program has the potential to peak diversion rates at 75-82 percent. Nearing this point, further program improvements or increased investment are often met with diminishing returns on effort.
Success depends on continuous analysis and exploration of market opportunities. It is key to develop an open and ongoing line of communication with key stakeholders, assign responsibility of the diversion program oversight, and develop a clear roadmap for moving forward supported by meaningful metrics and details analysis of each step along the way. Our most successful diversion programs develop through shared learning and data disclosure, willingness to consider new policies and procedures and ability to partner with facility vendors.”
Special recognition: Patrick Belzberg – Pacific Northwest Market Sustainability Manager, Hannah Swee – Pacific Northwest Site Sustainability Manager, Alexandria Self – Sustainability Operations Support in state of Washington.
Arbor Heights Apartments are a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the second time. This 97-unit multi-family, low-income apartment complex in White Center partners with New Futures, an organization that provides after school programs for low-income school-aged children, to run a recycling program at Arbor Heights. New Futures also provides education to residents on ways to improve recycling and reduce waste. As a result, Arbor Heights has added recycling bins throughout the property to respond to residents’ increased demand for recycling service. Their recycling efforts have decreased their need for garbage collection, so they are reducing weekly pickups from three to two times per week.
Advice for others: “Education is vital and include everyone.”
Special recognition goes to: Danae Polk, the manager of Arbor Heights, who has been a champion of the recycling program and the catalyst for its success.
Auburn Square is an apartment community on the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the second year. The building’s recycling program is always one of the first things mentioned to prospective residents, as the community is proud of its green efforts. Staff educate residents about recycling and keep them updated on any changes or improvements made to the program. When residents move out, Auburn Square arranges for any items they no longer want to be picked up for donation. The residence also started recycling clothing and shoes on site. Their education and outreach has allowed them to decrease trash consumption by approximately 10 to 12 yards each week, leading to a significant decrease in the cost of trash removal.
Advice for others: “Through the compound effect, our small, daily actions add up to a big difference over time. Keep on recycling, keep on finding ways to reduce consumption, and keep on educating yourself. We can do this!”
Carriage House Apartments is a first time addition to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list. They have made a zero waste goal and recently completed a waste audit for the apartment complex. Some of their waste reduction practices include training employees to recycle, reducing the need for paper in their office functions through digitizing or completely eliminating unnecessary communication, and recycling toner cartridges.
Cove East Apartments is an apartment community located in Federal Way, and this year they join King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for a second time. Cove East recently installed a trash compactor, a used clothing collection bin, and compost bins. These improvements have saved the apartments $1,000 to $1,500 per month on their garbage bill. The apartments have also installed larger recycling bins in several areas of the property to respond to increased demand for recycling services by residents. The success of these efforts is largely due to strong support by the apartment owners and upper management.
This year, the Gilman Square Apartments join the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the second time. This multi-family apartment community located in Issaquah counts upholding green standards among their highest priorities. They monitor employees and work with vendors to ensure they are doing everything possible to meet waste prevention and recycling goals within budgeted guidelines.
King County Housing Authority returns for their fourth year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. The agency provides rental housing and rental assistance to more than 18,000 low-income households and uses green building concepts in their development projects.
Advice to others: “If you are recycling more, you are sending less to the landfill. Perform periodic audits of your garbage dumpsters and reduce their sizes/frequencies of collection, to match your needs. Remember, in King County garbage costs money, recycling is free.”
Landmark Apartments is a first time addition to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list. Landmark provides a recycling program for their residents that includes lots of support and educational programs. They offer recycling, composting, and hazardous recycling, and have quarterly flyers that go out to all residents to provide current information on best practices. Further, they provide door-to-door education and signage at all dumpster enclosures.
Advice to others: “Resident education takes time and patience. Don’t give up on the programs. People resist at first but then become aware of the benefits and really get into doing the right thing.”
This year, Newporter Apartments joins the 2016 Best Workplaces list for the first time. They train employees in appropriate waste management practices, and use labels and signage to help residents and employees keep appropriate waste streams separated. They also store hazardous products and wastes according to best management practices, providing secondary containment to prevent spills or leaks.
Advice for others: “Promoting a more environmentally-conscious work culture isn’t just good for waste prevention—it’s good for business, too. By digitizing more of our work processes, we’ve made the transition from purchase intent to product delivery more seamless for our customers.”
Parkwood Apartments, a 90-unit multi-family housing community, joins the Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling list this year. They provide recycling bins throughout the community and recycle batteries and CFL lightbulbs. Further, they provide all of the residents with reusable bags and UsAgain bins for donating clothing, shoes, and other household items.
Advice to others: “It's easy, it's simple, it's free, and every step made to improve recycling and waste reduction is a step in the right direction.”
This year, Rainier Crest Apartments, a 74-unit apartment complex in Renton, joins Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the first time. They began recycling in November and it has been a success, allowing them to decrease their weekly garbage dumpster pick-ups. In addition to their recycling program, they employ practices to reduce waste, including focusing on paperless communication methods and reusing products rather than disposing of them.
Advice to others: “It may be a challenge in the beginning but with education, team work and perseverance, anyone can easily recycle.”
Timberwood, an affordable housing community in Bellevue, is a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. In 2015, for the second time in five years, the apartment complex received an Enviro Star five-star certification. They recently added compost bins to the property, and held a resident training breakfast. They purchase items made from recyclable materials that are readily recyclable whenever possible. Timberwood had a large recycle bin placed on the property for cardboard only, about six months ago and in 2016, a clothing bin was placed on their property for donation and textile recycling. They also recycle T8 lights and any lights residents bring in.
Advice for others: It is a good idea to go over the recycling program with new residents and take the time to show the dumpster/recycling area. For the visual learners, post signs that have pictures of examples for each container.”
Villages at South Station is a 191-apartment community and is a first time addition to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list. They have participated in programs that offer low flow shower heads, energy efficient lighting and a recycling program. In the near future, they plan to reduce their garbage container size from 50 yards to 40 yards and increase the recycling container from 24 yards to 32 yards. In addition to the recycling program for residents, they have also implemented waste reduction practices in the office.
Walnut Park Townhomes joins the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling this year. This 140-unit community in Kent provides their residents with receptacles for donating clothing and household items, reducing the total amount of waste they produce. In their office, they use recycled-content products and recycle Styrofoam, packing peanuts, and other plastic packaging.”
Woodridge Park Apartments joins the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling Program for the second year. This large multi-family Burien apartment community has partnered with a vendor to monitor their dumpster sites daily to ensure that recyclables and garbage are properly sorted. With the help of the vendor and the King County Housing Authority, they have reduced trash pickups from four to two times per week.
Advice for others: “A consistent message to residents and staff and leading by example are essential for success.”
Accents Et Cetera Gift Baskets returns to King County's Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the eighth straight year. Located in Sammamish, this gift basket retailer is demonstrating that a commitment to sustainability can really pay off. The key factors Accents focuses on when searching for new products or vendors are buying locally-made and recycled content products. By buying recycled glass vases instead of new products and reusing boxes and packaging materials as much as possible, Accents Et Cetera Gift Baskets has found that recycling and reusing saves money without affecting quality. In December 2015, more than one-third of gifts purchased from Accents used boxes made from entirely recycled content, instead of the traditional baskets and cellophane. Even the tape has recycled content.
Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop joins the Honor Roll in their sixth year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. As a thrift shop, they are accustomed to recycling, reusing, and repurposing materials in their daily routine. Everything sold at their shop is donated, including clothing, books, tools, and other materials. Donations that are unable to be sold are recycled or donated to organizations that can use them. Very little is thrown away. They recycle all plastic, cardboard, batteries, light bulbs, metals, eyeglasses, cell phones, and hearing aids. This year they stopped offering customers plastic bags. Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop also strives to reduce paper waste in their office and provides training to new employees on waste reduction and green IT practices.
Advice to others: “People should get more use out of their items instead of throwing them in a landfill and buying new. If they do buy new, old items should be recycled or donated. We have a shared trash and we see a lot of things in the trash that should have been recycled or still have lots of use in them and could have been donated. We have even in the past taken things out of the trash that people have thrown away and recycled or sold them at the shop.”
ECO Cartridge Store makes the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the ninth year. As a store specializing in refilling and remanufacturing ink and toner cartridges, they offer an environmentally friendly alternative to simply discarding old materials. The store also serves as a recycling center for cartridges and printers for people in the Kirkland area, even non-customers. As a result, they are able to significantly reduce not only the amount or resources used in creating new products, but also the amount of waste that ends up in the landfill.
Advice to others: “It takes over 300 years for an ink or toner cartridge to break down in the landfill. Please recycle!”
Hot Off The Press returns as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for its first year on the Best Workplaces Honor Roll. Located in Redmond, they are a small, family-owned business that provides full service printing to local businesses as well as multi-national companies. Years ago, their goal was to reach 100 percent digital printing. They have since reached that goal, and as a result have eliminated the use of toxic chemicals associated with prepping and cleaning the presses. In addition, they have expanded their recycling program. They donate waste paper to non-profits, and take back packing materials for reuse. Hot Off The Press has also been able to reduce the amount of deliveries they receive per week without impacting their customers, and began using local couriers after an assessment showed them that local couriers had less of an environmental impact than using large national couriers.
Advice to others: "Being frugal and reusing and re-purposing items you already purchased, is the best green business policy. It is not only good for the environment, it is good for the bottom line. By continuing to look for ways to eliminate waste in purchasing and production reduces costs while improving a business competitiveness."
PCC Natural Markets has been a King County Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling since the program began and is once again on the program’s Honor Roll. Waste management has been a focus of PCC Natural Markets since it was founded in 1953. Recycling has always been a part of PCC operations, and all stores have composted their organic waste since 1994. They facilitate shoppers' efforts at waste reduction by making recycling and composting available in store, maintaining a large and varied bulk product section, encouraging use (and re-use) of recyclable or re-usable shopping bags, and transitioning a significant mix of their prepared food packaging to compostable materials, including hot and cold beverage cups, soup bowls, and salad bar boxes. Beginning at the Issaquah PCC in March 2013, PCC helped WISErg develop an onsite system (“The Harvest”) that converts food scraps into a high-quality liquid organic fertilizer. The Harvester has been adopted at other PCC locations and in other grocery stores, allowing food retailers not only to create a new and useful product from food waste but also to generate data about their organic waste stream that can help them reduce food waste.
Advice for others: “Success in reducing waste requires a multi-tiered approach. Company-wide objectives to reduce waste set the tone, but the real impact comes from the day-in, day-out actions of our staff and our shoppers. Organizationally, we want to make it as easy as possible for staff and customers to make thoughtful decisions about reusing, recycling, and composting.”
The Safeway Distribution Center in Auburn is in their seventh year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling and earns a spot on this year’s Honor Roll. The Asset Recovery Center (ARC) is responsible for reducing Safeway’s corporate carbon footprint and ensuring that recyclables are disposed of correctly. Their efforts have led to an 18.2 percent increase in compostable material, or a total of 20.4 million pounds of compost diverted from landfills. Cardboard recycling has also been increased by 2.5 percent over the last year and plastic recycling has increased by 4.7 percent.
Advice to others: As we all know recycling is the right thing to do. Over the years we have learned that if you run a good program you can make a revenue stream out of what once was a cost to your operation.
Simplicity ABC returns for its fifth year as a King County Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling, following in the footsteps of its sister store, Simplicity Décor. Simplicity ABC is a children’s furnishings and toy store in downtown Kirkland and works closely with local vendors to reduce their carbon footprint. As the business has grown, Simplicity ABC has established relationships with business partners and developed policies to reduce and prevent unnecessary waste, including asking all vendors not to send catalogues and to send scanned rather than paper documents. Staff were trained to save and reuse packaging materials received from vendors. They also reduce printing by primarily using email for communication. This practice saves the business money while creating a sense of pride and responsibility among team members. As a result, Simplicity ABC has reduced packaging costs to almost zero
Simplicity Décor returns as an eight-time Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling, earning a spot on the Honor Roll once again. This home furnishing and gift store in downtown Kirkland continues its commitment to waste prevention, and chooses vendors who have similar recycling and green business practices. Employees are trained and highly involved in Simplicity Décor’s recycling efforts. They reuse packaging materials received from their manufacturers to ship to customers, and recycle the rest at a UPS store nearby. They even post on their Facebook page when they have extra boxes or packaging materials, which helps them recycle as well as build goodwill in the community.
Advice to others: “The initial set-up of the internal policy, as well as follow-up with staff, is important. Make sure employees understand why it is so important to follow the policies, for the business and for the individuals.”
Cartridge World Redmond, the largest, locally-owned provider of re-manufactured ink and toner supplies, joins the Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the first time. In addition to recycling printer supplies, they also recycle printers from the public and put significant effort into reducing, reusing, and recycling their office supplies, including styrofoam, paper, furniture, and electronic equipment.
Advice for others: Using recycled printer supplies does save on cost and waste, but there is a wide variation in product quality. Therefore, our advice is to only use products that are provided by a company that actively supports their products in the marketplace. Cartridge World provides an unconditional guarantee on every cartridge for life.”
Doubletake Vintage and Consignment joins the Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the first time this year. Doubletake is a clothing consignment store whose core value is to reuse all items. Beyond just accepting and selling used clothing, they accept textiles and packing materials to pass on to other users rather than having those materials end up in the waste stream. Further, they gather used bags for reuse, rather than buying new bags. Items that cannot be sold in-house are given to another used store who either sells them or donates to thrift shops. Doubletake not only attempts zero waste for themselves, but is excited to turn other people’s “trash” into treasures with more uses. They look to save the planet through total utilization of goods.
Advice to others: “It has to make sense and be more convenient than not recycling. It has to actually function.”
Fred Meyer in Kent returns for its third year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. Fred Meyer is a retail business that takes recycling seriously. They teach all employees to separate paper, plastic and biodegradables, and all employees older than 18 are trained to operate the store’s cardboard and garbage balers. This year, Fred Meyer began to regularly bring in a scrap metal bin for all used fixtures, and set up organics recycling for the Garden Center. They also placed recycling containers at all work stations throughout the store. In addition to recycling and composting, they have a donation program in place that includes furniture, clothing, household and seasonal items, as well as daily food bank pickups.”
Special recognition: Debbie Aragon and Nina Harris, recycling champions.
IKEA Seattle makes the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list in King County for its second year. The Renton location of this multinational household goods retailer is an enthusiastic contributor to the company’s sustainability goals. In 2015, all home furnishing materials sold at IKEA (including packaging) will be made from renewable, recyclable, or recycled materials. The company plans to produce as much renewable energy as they consume by 2020. At IKEA Seattle, they compact, bale, and recycle all cardboard, plastic, and paper waste, and 90 percent of the total waste generated at the store is diverted from landfills through recycling and reuse. Between September 2015 and February 2016, they recycled more than 325 tons of waste.
Green Team Highlight: The IKEA Seattle Sustainability Committee meets monthly to discuss new ways to incorporate sustainability into everyday business activities and into customers' lives at home. They volunteer regularly within the community including revitalizing the Black River Riparian Forest and Wetland in the City of Renton, providing a $10,000 IKEA makeover to non-profit organizations Peace for the Streets in 2015, and to Amara Parenting and Adoption Services in 2016. The team truly embodies IKEA values by leading by example and providing a better everyday life at home.”
Allyis makes King County's Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the eighth year in a row. Specializing in technology development, professional staffing, and managed team solutions for businesses, Allyis believes that environmental stewardship is a core responsibility of itsstaff. The company continues its tradition of reducing waste, buying greener, buying local, recycling, and reducing consumption through employee education and communication, smart purchasing, and process changes to create a greener business.
Advice to others: “Communication is key. Educating new employees of our paperless, recycling, and consumption reduction practices, as well as gentle signage reminders throughout the office has been important to ensuring we are all working together as a team to be a greener organization.”
Applus Technolgies returns for their eighth year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling, continuing on the Honor Roll. The technology services and electronic solutions provider is headquartered regionally in Kent and has 16 worksites in King County. By increasing the amount of compostable and recyclable materials purchased, Applus emission testing stations have reduced waste to one container, and in some cases eliminated regular waste containers all together. All locations now use 100 percent sugar, wheat, and/or straw paper for ecologically responsible printing. After purchasing a green printer made from recycled products for all locations last year, they invested in an environmentally friendly ColorQube technology for their copiers that use wax instead of toner. Applus has committed to a minimum of 50 percent recycled content for products whenever possible. They also encourage sustainable practices by employees, through education and providing resources such as reusable water bottles. Applus sponsors charitable and environmentally focused events as well as industry and academic conferences on technologies and issues that impact air quality. Applus collects used and old cell phones and parts for the Cell Phones for Soldiers program to recycle.
Advice to others: “Composting is one of the most beneficial things you can do.”
Special recognition goes to: Kristine Schmidt, who heads the Applus recycling initiatives and the annual Applus Earth Day fundraiser, which raises money for the Arbor Day Foundation. Applus Technologies also thanks their emissions station recycling representatives: Diannia Anderson, James Nason, Sean Lewis, Christopher Brester, Roman Nedashkovskiy, Karen Yeager, Cristy Adams, Alan Hunter, Brady Busch, Dorren Churchill, John Naidas, Janene Laskowski, Pam Clark, Lori Pope, and William McKeever.
Chameleon Technologies, Inc., a small IT staffing firm located in Kirkland, returns to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for a ninth year. They have an ongoing effort to be more sustainable, and have set up “green business” policies and procedures in their office. Their newest endeavor is composting with biodegradable bags in the office kitchen. Chameleon employees met with an associate from the City of Kirkland to go over what items were appropriate to compost, strengthening their efforts to cut down on garbage. Additionally, they are proud of the small measures that make a difference, including reusing paper that has only been printed on one side for notepads.
Advice to others: “We spend a large amount of time where we work and we strongly value making sure that we do our part to reduce the footprint we leave on Earth.”
Microsoft returns for a sixth time on King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list. They continue to strive toward zero waste by expanding the trash sorting operation currently in place and are working with the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council for zero waste certification. Microsoft includes trash collection in their plans for new office space renovation, and by creating zone trash collection rather than single-occupant trash collection, everyone in renovated office buildings have easy access to all three waste streams, which significantly reduces contamination. By right-sizing the collection of waste materials for different buildings on campus, Microsoft is able to save money, divert waste, and create carbon savings through fewer service runs. They save an estimated $3,000 to $3,500 per month by converting four trash compactors to recycling or compost, and by minimizing bin sizes for collection wherever applicable. With Microsoft's sorting program, they have been able to divert approximately 40 tons a month from the landfill. Microsoft tracks their diversion rate, which has averaged 88 percent of waste being diverted from the landfill.
Advice to others: “Microsoft has found that the largest area to make the waste reduction and recycling program successful is changing the behavior of employees. Communication to employees is key to a successful program. This includes everything from signage that clearly shows where items go to training the employees. Without employee commitment, this program would not be successful.”
Pacific Software Publishing, Inc. returns for its eighth year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. This web and email hosting company prides itself on being as green as possible. PSP INC does this by adhering to green energy policies as well as preventing waste and encourages recycling at both the company and individual level. They have communal printers stocked with recycled paper and re-manufactured toner cartridges, with defaults set to double-sided printing. They also have water fountains in every kitchen along with utensils and dishes to avoid using disposable food beverage containers. They have placed recycling bins at every workstation, and collect and recycle various items from clients and employees such as electronics, office supplies, light bulbs, toner cartridges, batteries, and packaging. They have reduced the usage and ensure proper disposal of all hazardous materials used in their offices, such as paint and cleaning agents.
Landis+Gyr provides smart metering and energy management solutions for utilities and joins the 2016 Best Workplaces list for its fourth year. They are ISO14001 certified for environmental management systems, are a certified Kirkland Green Business and have been recognized by Sustainable Seattle. Primary waste streams include radio equipment, batteries, cardboard, stretch wrap, and pallets. They have a Waste Management and Minimization Plan that is reviewed annually and they create yearly environmental goals for waste reduction. Environmental Awareness training is provided for all employees, including specific guidelines from local recyclers. They have a Waste Reduction program that fosters employee engagement to further reduce waste and continue their program to weigh all waste that goes to landfill. In 2015, in addition to monthly waste tracking, they identified the most significant components of their waste by weight and by volume in order to track those separately and focus reduction activities. Through their recycling efforts, they achieved a 50 percent reduction from the previous year in the waste they sent to the landfill.
Advice to others: “Contact your city and county for resources and ideas. Contact the garbage & recycling company to learn what can and can’t be recycled/composted. We diverted plastic bags, stretch wrap and pallets from the trash by being educated about what we can recycle and how to properly recycle it. Work with the janitor to ensure trash/recycling/compost is placed in the appropriate containers. Employee involvement is key. Meetings for events like Earth Day, World Environment Day, and America Recycles Day are easy to set up. Employees respond to seeing products that could have been made from our recycling and compost materials, such as Cedar Grove compost products and paper products made from recycled office paper. Involve temporary employees. Programs should be visible and apparent. Show that participation is expected from everyone.”
WISErg joins the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling program for the first time in 2016. The company makes their business by recognizing food discarded by grocery stores, schools, and other organizations as a resource rather than a waste. WISErg has developed a conversion process that captures the nutrient value of discarded food and makes it available to commercial and residential growers in the form of a multi-purpose, highly effective liquid fertilizer. WISErg’s unique, full-circle system benefits all stakeholders – growers, grocers, and consumers – in reducing waste and supporting food production. They have also implemented internal waste prevention and recycling practices.
With some exciting recycling developments this year, Frito-Lay, Inc. of Federal Way earned a spot on the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling Honor Roll list for the third year in a row. Frito-Lay of Federal Way continues to reduce total waste each year and recycled 84 percent of their total waste in 2014; that was over 400,000 pounds of materials recycled. After switching over to electric vehicles on their highest-mileage routes, the site saved an additional 13 percent in fuel costs and 23,400 gallons of fuel over the previous year. This year, they developed a program to reduce cardboard case waste. The Federal Way distribution center ships 48,000 cases of snack food products per week, and they recycle the cardboard cases and send them back to production for refill. Their return rate goal is 95 percent, and they try to get seven to 10 reuse trips per cardboard case. For rainy weather, the facility developed a plastic bag that fits over the carts of cardboard so that no damage occurs and the cardboard cases can continue to be reused. They also continue to strive to make recycling easy by providing recycling bins and encouraging participation by team members.
Port of Seattle – Sea-Tac International Airport returns to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list as an Honor Roll member. Sea-Tac International Airport has developed some of the nation’s leading waste reduction and recycling programs in the aviation industry. The airport coordinates a wide range of waste reduction programs which provide simple and clear opportunities to reduce landfill waste for over 30 million passengers annually, and 20,000 airport employees including concessions, TSA, janitorial staff, ground service, and cargo handlers. Since adopting its 2010 Solid Waste Management Plan, the airport has made significant progress in adding new containers, enhancing training and signage, offering incentives, exploring mixed waste processing, supporting durable and compostable service ware at some concessions, and expanding services for construction and demolition debris collection. In 2013, the airport launched a new program to capture liquids generated from its security check points as a result of TSA's ban on liquids over 5 ounces, which often end up contaminating recycling. Through this program, the airport captures 1 ton of liquid each month. In addition, they've increased annual food bank donations from airport concessionaires to a record high of over 35,000 pounds.
Advice to others: “Our program’s success stems from our ability to collaborate with our stakeholders and create a strong shared vision with our sustainability goals and initiatives. Continuous monitoring of all aspects of the waste minimization and recycling program is critical. We communicate with our businesses and tenants regularly through email, monthly staff meetings, and facility visits, because we recognize that face-to-face contact is the most effective way to develop and maintain those key relationships.”
Alaska Airlines joins the list of Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the first time in 2015. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air integrate sustainability into every piece of their mission to help people lead fuller lives through traveling. The company has green initiatives underway in the air as well as in the corporate offices, including mixed recycling and a new composting program. In 2014, the “In Flight” teams collected 2,200 tons of material for recycling, at a recycling rate of between 77 and 94 percent for different recyclables. All these efforts work toward the company’s goal of reducing energy consumption of their facilities by 15 percent compared to 2008 levels.
Advice for others: “Start small, test out a program, and get a quick win. Find good service providers that are collaborative and want to make it work for your business. Last but not least, any initiative must be important to the leaders of the business, and they need to vocalize it. Top down support will help it get off the ground.”
Special recognition goes to: Kathy Hues, Onboard Food and Beverage Specialist in the Catering division who worked with the inflight team to implement the onboard recycling program. She has also been instrumental in getting the composting pilot in the Corporate offices off the ground.
Updated: Aug. 11, 2016