Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling
Each spring, businesses in 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 89 local businesses to its seventh annual list of Best Workplaces.
The 2013 list spans a wide array of businesses in King County – from education to transportation. Innovative recycling and waste reduction strategies run the gamut, from Keeney's Office Supply’s toner recycling and reuse program, to Willow Lodge’s use of repurposed building materials to the City of Kirkland’s innovative used cooking oil collection for employees and residents.
Each of the 2013 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. Honor roll businesses 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 new “Re-Innovator Award,” recognizing exceptional innovative waste reduction programs. This year’s recipient is Redmond-based business Hot Off The Press. This full service printing company received the award for greening their entire printing process, from moving to a 98 percent digital printing process to reusing excess paper rather than recycling. Special congratulations to Hot Off The Press!
Be inspired, learn something new and glean ideas for your own business by viewing the 2013 Best Workplace profiles below. Don’t miss advice that many businesses have included in their profiles. Congratulations to each 2013 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
Issaquah School District continues to reduce, reuse and recycle, joining the Best Workplaces list for its fifth consecutive year and the Honor Roll for the first time. The school district has 24 schools and four district buildings that have a recycling rate of 51 percent. The recycling program includes paper, cardboard, cans, bottles, cell phones, printer cartridges, fluorescent tubes and electronics. With the help of a food scrap composting program, the school district has reduced garbage volumes by 7,847 cubic yards per year. The district also has reduction and reuse practices as well. Schools donate unused food products to food banks or to the summer day care program. Student locker cleanout days focus on recycling products, where students can either reuse items or donate them to community organizations. Reusable paper products are saved for scratch paper, art work and other uses before they are recycled. Intra-district mailers reuse envelopes and parent newsletters are sent electronically..
Advice to others: “Starting school-wide recycling projects and programs takes time, energy and cooperation from many people. An additional challenge is to keep the recycling and waste reduction programs energized and functional year after year. The King County Green Schools Program has helped King County schools initiate and maintain high quality recycling programs. Having recycling and waste reduction programs creates financial savings and wonderful educational opportunities. District garbage costs have declined by 13 percent even though costs for garbage services have increased. Students become committed to taking care of our planet and positively impacting recycling at home and in their communities.”
Lake Washington School District continues to implement and expand its recycling and waste reduction programs, returning for its fifth time as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling and making it on the program’s Honor Roll. This past year, composting programs have been introduced to all but five of their 45 schools, Finn Hill Middle School has made the switch from Styrofoam food trays to compostable ones, and yard waste from every school is now composted. As for their recycling efforts, every classroom, office, and cubicle in the district is now equipped with a recycling bin, and all surplus electronics are either donated or sent back to the manufacturer to be recycled. Students have played a big role in waste prevention efforts—some schools participate in the King County Green Schools Program and some have introduced environmental clubs to assist in many environmental goals.
Bastyr University returns for its fourth year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. The university has an active commitment to campus sustainability with eleven LEED Platinum certified student halls and a rigorous composting and recycling program. The campus offers recycling services for a variety of materials such as Styrofoam, pallets, scrap metals, batteries, and electronics, and diverts over 80 percent of campus waste from landfill. Students are at the core of waste prevention—they are aware of their impact on the environment and are responsible for sorting waste at the source.
Advice to others: “Education is a key factor in making awareness to the importance of reducing landfill items. The best awareness is to have a key, central area showing the three bins for recycling, compost, and garbage. The garbage can is very small while the other containers are big; GREEN (Compost), BLUE (Recycle), BLACK (Landfill).”
Bellevue School District returns for its third year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. To encourage green practices, Bellevue School District employs an aggressive recycling and waste reduction program in which all schools within the district are required to participate. Every school within the district has completed all three levels of the King County Green Schools Program. All elementary schools participate in composting and food waste collection. Bellevue School District has implemented annual resource conservation and recycling requirements for all schools to meet. Every school has a “green team” made up of at least six members, including staff and students. Faculty and staff also take steps to reuse or surplus furniture or other durable items, and used electronic equipment is donated, sold or recycled.
Advice to others: “For other school districts, we recommend that you require recycling at all sites and require all schools to form a team that will participate in the program. Follow up with recycling promotion by downsizing garbage dumpsters to immediately start cutting costs, and encourage reuse of materials and waste reduction in addition to recycling. Make sure to include top level support, including superintendents.”
Returning as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling is Sammamish Montessori School, a preschool and elementary school based on the philosophy that children have an inborn drive to become independent. As a school, they believe it is important to educate children about recycling, reusing and even renewing items rather than replacing them. Students are taught about composting by making sure all food scraps from student lunches are all placed in the compost bin. They repurpose furnishings, purchase technology that will last longer and use recyclable materials such as boxes and packing materials as crafts materials. They are also very diligent about reducing paper usage, relying on email almost exclusively as their main method of communication with parents and staff members.
Returning for its second year on King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling, Woodinville Montessori School continues its dedicated effort to be an environmentally aware community. Founded 30 years ago, this leader in Montessori education serves more than 356 students from toddlers to ninth grade. Their recycling system has recently undergone a major change, with color coded bins and clearly outlined instructions and photos. It has made a big impact to help people learn and remember the process. Also new this year, students formed an Environmental Leadership Club to work with the facilities manager to monitor energy consumption. This has resulted in installing blinds to block sunlight and posted reminders to turn off light switches and unplug equipment. They have also achieved King County Green Schools Level 2 certification this year!
Advice to Others: “Here are some green tips from our Environmental Leadership Club. We share one tip in each edition of our school newsletter.
HDR Engineering, Inc, a national consulting engineering firm, returns to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the seventh straight year. After conducting an internal waste audit, HDR found they achieved a recycling and composting rate of 75 percent. Holiday activities had a green feel, such as the Earth Month “Spring Cleaning” which featured fun ways to recycle wine corks.
Joining the Honor Roll list for its first year is Kenworth Truck Company, a five-time member of the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling program. This truck plant based in Renton has a “zero waste to landfill initiative.” Their extensive list of recyclable materials with established programs include paper, cardboard, wood, plastics, metals, cooking oil, engine oils, batteries, light bulbs, electronics, food composting and toner cartridges. Their next is goal is to expand their composting program by buying more compostable cups and cutlery and to start composting paper towels in restrooms. They also see improvements in the future by increasing the use of reusable shipping racks to reduce wood waste.
Advice to others: “Take the time to really look at your wastes. Find out what’s actually in your garbage cans, recycling bins and dumpsters. Then go talk to your waste service providers. Often they will have people dedicated to help customers with waste reduction or developing recycling alternatives.”
Roth Hill, LLC returns on King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for their sixth year and again makes it onto the program’s honor roll. Based in Bellevue, this engineering and consulting firm has always made waste prevention and recycling one of their priorities. All offices are equipped with light and motion sensors so that five minutes of inactivity will automatically turn off the overhead lights. Surplus electronics and furniture are sold to staff at a reduced cost or donated. One of their most successful efforts has been the distribution of reusable shopping bags to reduce plastic and paper bag usage. The bags have been popular among both staff and clients. Key to their waste prevention efforts has been engaging their staff.
CHS Engineers, LLC continues striving to reduce the amount of waste it produces, and returns for its third time as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. This medium-sized engineering consulting firm based in Bellevue has recently committed to a major “spring cleaning,” which resulted in the collection of a large number of office items including furniture, electronics, and small office supplies. Some were taken for personal use by employees, some were donated to a client setting up a new office, and the remainder was donated to a PC recycler and Goodwill. In the end, they were able to reuse their old file folders, comb binders, and binder clips instead of purchasing new ones.
Dynacraft, a PACCAR Company returns this year to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the third time. In 2012, Dynacraft managed to keep its waste to landfill rate to 3.8 percent. Thanks to strategically placed recycling bins, Dynacraft plans to improve on these numbers in 2013.
Advice to others: “Businesses should make it a priority to establish and implement policies focused on best practices for recycling and waste reduction. It is important to reach out to others in the community and share ideas; it takes the combined efforts of all to make a difference!”
Hexcel Corporation, an advanced composites company with a location in Kent, is proud to be named to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list this year. Hexcel’s efforts towards sustainability include shipping its products with little to no packaging, recycling any packaging they receive, and purchasing office supplies such as paper and printer cartridges made from recycled material.
PACE Engineers, returning for their second year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling, provides civil engineering design and consulting services to municipalities, utility districts and other businesses throughout the greater Puget Sound area. As members of the Eastside Sustainable Business Alliance, their Sustainability Committee actively looks for ways in which they can reduce the carbon footprint of their office operations.
Recently, their office in Kirkland has implemented a composting program, reducing the size of their Dumpsters. They continually update and educate their staff through signage and new employee orientation, and have even created an employee participation game show called “What Goes Where?” that was used to educate staff during an all-company video conference. They believe in engaging the community and hosted an electronics recycling event in May 2013 where about 200 cars arrived and dropped off obsolete computers, televisions, and other household items.
Advice to others: “We have learned that you have to keep educating staff – even if it’s five minutes a month at staff meetings or a small article in an employee newsletter – so that everyone remembers to recycle or compost. Catchy signs around the office and on recycle bins attract attention every time someone walks by or uses the bins.”
Rainier Industries, Ltd. returns to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for its second year. A custom manufacturing company specializing in fabric, display and shade products, they began their recycling program in 2007 and are proud to say that the program has gotten stronger with an increase of 17 percent more waste recycled in 2012. They have recently created a new job and hired a very dedicated worker who makes sure all recyclables and landfill waste are sorted properly throughout the production area. Recycled waste is expected to increase by five percent each year.
Advice to others: “Focusing on sustainable business practices enhances our environment and improves our bottom line. Start by taking a few, small and easy steps, then expand your program each year.”
Torklift Central returns to be listed as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for their fourth year. Also named the 2012 Kent Green Business of the Year, Torklift Central manufactures trailer hitches and specializes in towing products. They introduced the EcoHitch, a hitch made exclusively for green cars that is also made from recycled materials. Their recycling is extensive, including internal office supplies such as folders, papers, and envelopes, as well as metal scraps, oils, wood pallets, and cardboard. New this year, they have installed a charging station in their parking lot to encourage electric vehicles, PZEV (partial zero emission vehicles), and hybrid vehicles.
Advice to others: “Making sure all employees are aware of the recycling program is important in eliminating waste.”
FCS Group provides financial and management consulting services in the Pacific Northwest region. The Redmond office returns for their fifth consecutive year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling landing them on the program’s Honor Roll. This year, they have updated their kitchen with new recycling bins and have started composting all food scraps as well as compostable plates, cups, and flatware. New recycling posters have also been added to the lunch room in their ongoing aim to encourage employees to make sustainable decisions.
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. After completing a printer consolidation program, Frito Lay eliminated 10 personal office printers, which reduced paper and toner usage.
Advice to others: “We continue to strive to make recycling easy by providing the necessary recycling bins virtually everywhere. We have learned that recycling must be easy in order for folks to buy-in at first until it becomes part of the culture!”
A returning member to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list, Hilton Seattle Airport and Conference Center is one of the premier lodging and meeting facilities in the Seattle Area. Thanks to some recent recycling accomplishments including a successful food donation partnership with Food Lifeline, Hilton Seattle won several other recycling and sustainability awards this year.
As a five-time member of King County’s Best Workplaces, Pogacha Issaquah continues to be a local leader in restaurant recycling as it joins the program’s Honor Roll for its first year. They have long composted their food waste and recycled their cooking oil, and continue to find ways to reduce waste. They have encouraged surrounding businesses to join them as well and have eliminated collection of an entire industrial garbage container twice per week. In the past year, they have found suppliers who are closer to the business and have even started planting some herbs on site to reduce shipping impacts. They continually seek any opportunity to make changes that will reduce their carbon footprint and encourage others to follow suit.
Advice to others: “The biggest advice is that it is so much easier to implement than you might think. The community is behind our efforts, and the perception you get for being green is worth any cost. But in general, you save money – the financial gain is an added benefit. If in doubt, give it a try! Or call me – I'll encourage anyone to try it!”
This marks the sixth year that Seattle Airport Marriott Hotel makes the King County Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling list and again is on the program’s honor roll. This year, they continue to strive for more diversion of waste of both pre-consumer and post-consumer food waste. There are compost and commingled recycling bins in key locations, such as in the employee cafeteria and in the public areas, cooking oil is collected and recycled into biodiesel and their cardboard recycling program is averaging three tons per month. The Seattle Airport Marriott Hotel credits the commitment of its staff as the key to their waste prevention efforts.
The Herbfarm Restaurant returns to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the sixth consecutive year, landing on the program’s Honor Roll. They are a restaurant as well as a farm located in Woodinville. Their food waste from the restaurant goes back into the farm wherever possible. The chickens love the leftover bread and the pigs are fed vegetable scraps. Other food scraps are composted and spread over garden beds that produce food for the restaurant. In addition to composting, they also recycle paper, cardboard, plastic, Styrofoam and cooking oil. Part of their new employee orientation is a challenge to identify more items that can be recycled.
The Westin Bellevue returns to be named a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for their fifth consecutive year and their first as an Honor Roll member. 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” where 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, thereby preventing waste as well. 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.
For the fifth consecutive year, DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport is named to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list. In 2012, DoubleTree switched its trash compactor to a recycling compactor. Also, any excess food from the hotel is donated to the Griffin Home for Boys in Renton via Food Lifeline. These recycling practices helped DoubleTree win the 2012 Washington Lodging Association Good Earthkeeping Award.
Advice to others: “Take a look at what your company is throwing away. Instead of tossing excess food, we donate it to Food Lifeline. These food donations contribute to DoubleTree’s sustainability goals and reduce waste output in the community.“
Four-time Best Workplace Hyatt Regency Bellevue returns this 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 educate staff and guests on their recycling program by conducting new hire orientation and department training for staff. Guests have access to recycling totes throughout and have the option to participate in a linen reuse program to reduce energy use from cleaning sheets daily. They are proud to be one of 54 hotels nationwide to receive the “5 Green Key” rating from the Green Key Eco-Rating Program. A partnership with University of Washington’s Program on the Environment was formed to produce outreach materials such as posters and flyers on their recycling program.
Advice to others: “The Hyatt Regency Bellevue believes that businesses play a pivotal role in sustainability. We purchase responsibly, value sustainable business practices and are proud to be a leader and catalyst in sustainability in our community. The first step towards waste reduction and recycling is establishing a culture with commitment in every department. Resources and continual staff education increase awareness and involvement. In turn, businesses will benefit from a well-educated staff that understands the importance of proper waste reduction and recycling.”
LBA (Les Boulangers Associes) returns to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the second consecutive year. A French bakery located in SeaTac, they produce baked goods for wholesale and look to reduce waste where they can. Their team is continually looking to divert materials away from the landfill. Among their list of recyclables are plastic, mixed paper, cardboard, aluminum and steel cans. Recently, they partnered with a feed commodity vendor that takes the bakery’s organic food waste and recycles it to feedstock.
Marlene’s Market & Deli of Federal Way returns for their third year with King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling. This natural food store continues its habits of reusing, recycling, and composting. Having a firm stance against genetically modified crops, they go beyond compostable plastic packaging options and choose those that are made from non-genetically modified sugarcane, or from a plastic that can be recycled. New this year, they have installed bins for used cooking oil in their kitchens which they have recycled.
Salish Lodge and Spa, located among a pristine environment in Snoqualmie, continues its commitment to conservation and recycling, thus earning it a return to the King County Best Workplace list. This hotel has a comprehensive recycling program that includes commingled, food waste and cooking oil recycling as well as guest room soap reuse through the Clean the World Foundation. A recent target for waste prevention has been pre-consumer food waste. Staff efforts have been able to divert more than two tons of waste per month away from the landfill. The Falls Gift Shop has also started contributing to their commingled and food waste recycling program. Salish Lodge and Spa believes there is always room for improvement and plans to implement food waste recycling in the employee cafeteria and also capture commingled recyclables from guestrooms.
The BBQ Schacht returns to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for a second consecutive year. A restaurant that opened in SeaTac a little more than year ago, they continue to improve their recycling practices. They have commingled recycling in place for restaurant guests with appropriate signage. Behind the scenes in the kitchen, they are diverting cardboard, cans and other recyclables, and are exploring the possibility of implementing food scrap recycling.
Twelve Baskets Catering, based out of Kirkland, returns on the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for their third 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. Over the past 10 years, they have been able to decrease their waste generation by over 50 percent. They aim to continue this trend by encouraging their staff to recycle whenever possible, such as by bringing large food scrap recycling totes into their building to engage their kitchen and scullery crew in food recycling.
Advice to others: “If you care about the environment and your bottom line, recycling makes perfect sense.”
This year marks the third time Willows Lodge joins King County’s Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling list. They are an 84 room lodge with a restaurant, bar, spa and 5,000 square feet of event space. Waste reduction has been a focus of the lodge since its inception. The lodge itself was built using recycled materials such as fir timbers from the old Port of Portland and old wine casks for the front doors. They are proud to have four electric vehicle charging stations on their property and by working with Cedar Grove, have spread compost made from their own food scraps throughout the property landscape. They have a “5 Star” rating with the King County EnviroStars program for their sustainable landscaping. Inside the lodge, one of their waste reduction strategies is to use large refillable bottles for shampoos and soaps, replacing the need for small plastic bottles that would otherwise be disposed of every day. Their next step is to have recycling bins placed in every guest room in 2014.
Advice to others: “It is a total team effort at Willows Lodge and Barking Frog. We are one of the leaders in the luxury segment. Though based on the extensive list, we realize there is much more we could be doing. It can be costly to implement some of these initiatives so we plan on doing a bit more each year to help do our part and protect the environment.”
Returning for their sixth year as a Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Prevention, the City of Bellevue continues to adopt policies that work toward reducing their impact on the environment and once again lands a spot on the program’s honor roll. City Hall’s employees can conveniently recycle an extensive list of materials: copy paper, cans, bottles, paper and plastic packaging, ink and toner cartridges, batteries, Styrofoam, electronics, and food and yard waste. During the past year as part of their efforts to move towards “zero waste,” approximately 100 employees participated in a program where they “Gave Up Their Garbage Can” in their cubicles to reduce liner waste.
The City of Kent lands on the Honor Roll of King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list, continuing to lead by example for its citizens. When reusable dishes are unavailable, employees use compostable service ware as an alternative. The City of Kent has also taken to social media to spread tips and advice on recycling.
Advice to others: “Continual education is the key. New habits take time. Incentive programs such as ‘Caught Green-Handed’ and ‘Eco-Hero,’ make it fun.”
The City of Redmond continually strives to improve their waste reduction practices, making it on King County’s Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Prevention Honor Roll for their first time. At City Hall, there is food composting in all kitchen areas, durable plates and cups are provided, and printers are set to double-sided printing. Employees are able to recycle a range of materials such as batteries and the newly added Styrofoam. They also buy recycled items when possible. They use 30 percent post-consumer copy paper and purchase recycled lumber.
Advice to others: “Take advantage of the free help your City can offer you with your waste reduction and recycling efforts! If in Redmond, call 425-556-2832.”
Making it on the Honor Roll list for its first time of King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list, the City of SeaTac continues to promote environmental stewardship. This year, the city established two battery recycling collection sites, one at City Hall and one at the Community Center. The city also earned an EnviroStars 5-Star Certification.
Advice to others: “As a program continues over the years, revisit how the program is promoted. Try new signs, listen to employee input, keep everyone informed of changes/improvements and encourage employees to share their ideas on what they have heard or done in their personal lives that might benefit the professional environment as well. Keep the message fresh and relevant.”
Returning to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the second year in a row is the City of Federal Way. By implementing green practices such as using mulching mowers in parks and double-sided printing, the City of Federal Way continues to increase its waste reduction efforts for both environmental and economic benefits.
Advice to others: “We have lots of advice, resources and materials to increase recycling practices for Federal Way businesses. We encourage all local business to contact us to increase your waste reduction and recycling efforts.”
The City of Issaquah returns to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for its third year, thanks to department-wide efforts. City facilities are outfitted with compost and recycling collectors, and also run a comprehensive surplus sales program for all used furniture and outdated materials. The administrative department has drastically cut down on paper use, while the city has ordinances banning polystyrene food packages and plastic carryout retail bags.
Advice to others: “We would encourage businesses to look to their city and waste haulers for potential employee training and materials to increase diversion and waste reduction programs. Cities have programs to help businesses reduce waste and they really want to help you. Many times, businesses can see cost savings through implementation of these programs, and it gives employees the sense that their employer is doing the right thing for the planet.”
The City of Kirkland returns for their second year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. The 600-employee municipality works hard in cooperation with Kirkland residents to reduce garbage and increase recycling. For example, the city has set up a used cooking oil collection tank at the Community Center so that employees and residents can recycle their used cooking oil. At City Hall, there are recycling containers in each workplace, copy room, conference room, and kitchen, as well as composting containers at all eating areas. This past year, water bottle filling stations have been installed at each water fountain to encourage the use of reusable cups and water bottles and to reduce water use at City Hall. Further to prevent waste, the staff has focused on hosting “Zero Waste” employee events where employees are encouraged to bring their own durable plates or use compostable service-ware.
The City of Shoreline makes its debut to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list thanks to some innovative ideas and practices. The city’s semi-annual Recycle Fest now only accepts hard-to-recycle products such as Styrofoam and bicycles. The city has also installed 12 sets of garbage and recycling solar compactors throughout the city, and has started year-round cooking oil collection.
The City of Tukwila returns to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the fourth consecutive year. In addition to providing recycling information to businesses and residents, new practices this year included an Earth Day, online pledge for residents. Participants who pledged to conserve resources and reduce waste at work received a reusable nylon bag as an incentive to take and keep the pledge.
Ronald Wastewater District makes its debut as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling this year. Maintaining a wastewater collection and transmission system based in Shoreline, environmental protection and ecosystem enhancement are at the core of their business. In the office, they try to recycle as much as possible—confidential papers are shredded and then recycled, cardboard boxes are reused or recycled, and recycling bins are placed at every desk. They have been able to greatly reduce their waste, going from a garbage Dumpster to a garbage can and a recycle bin, reducing their waste disposal expense. Working with wastewater, they understand the impacts of reducing water use and have stickers above sinks that read, “Water. Use it Wisely.”
Advice to others: “Reusing, reducing, and recycling are great ways to cut operating costs. We have seen our disposal expense decrease as a result of recycling rather than discarding. For example, outdated letterhead is sent back to the printer to be cut and glued into scratch pads, which are recycled after use. We also make it easy for staff to recycle by placing a recycle bin near every desk, in every room, and at the copier.”
Shoreline Water District makes its debut on the Best Workplaces list this year. The Water District monitors water quality and maintains the distribution infrastructure for about 25,000 people. The Shoreline Water District has been practicing recycling and waste prevention in the past, but with the finishing of its new administration building, they are excited about the waste prevention features that are soon to come. The new building will have a water bottle filling station available to employees and customers with a counter to let the community see how many water bottles are being saved. They also anticipate an establishment of a zero waste goal.
EvergreenHealth joins King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for their fifth consecutive year, earning their spot on the program’s Honor Roll. Based in Kirkland, they are a provider of healthcare primarily for the Eastside community. EvergreenHealth makes a concerted effort to have all staff fully engaged and enthusiastic about recycling and waste prevention through continual updates and education opportunities. They are pleased to say that staff engagement has resulted in almost a 50 percent recycling rate in the past few years. Recent improvements have been replacing Styrofoam containers with biodegradable ones in the cafeteria and introducing a “Mercury Free Policy” to keep mercury out of the hospital.
Advice to others: “You need to keep continually evaluating your waste streams and vendors to see if what can be accepted in recycling has changed. Then you need to be proactive and initiate policies or education to implement changes that decrease your waste stream.”
Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue returns for its sixth consecutive year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling and is recognized for its sustained efforts to reduce waste by its place on the program’s honor roll. This medical center has a commitment to maintaining the highest standards in medical care as well as one to waste prevention. Recycling containers are located throughout the campus, with compost containers also set up in cafes. Recently, various lighting has been replaced with LED bulbs, reducing waste and energy, and research is being done on the feasibility of compostable trash liners throughout the campus.
Federal Way Naturopathy, specializing in minimally invasive natural therapies, returns to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for their third year. They are committed to making sustainable choices and have been looking for more ways that they can improve. They are proud to have installed one of the first rain gardens in Federal Way, which filters storm water runoff from rooftops and parking lots, reducing pesticides and other pollutants from the water. They have also been meeting with a consultant to explore “green building” ideas, such as adding a top layer of soil and plants to their roof to help insulate the building. They reach out to the community by using their Facebook page as a place for discussion, where they can communicate ideas between their patients and friends on creating sustainable environments.
This marks the third year for Jeffrey A. Schur, DDS MSD as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. They take as many steps as they can as an orthodontics office, such as by recently converting to paperless patient charting, and by using digital X-rays so that no chemical or material waste is generated. Other recent improvements include using environmentally friendly products such as unbleached paper towels which they then recycle afterwards, communicating electronically whenever possible, and recycling used paper as well as printer ink cartridges.
Advice to others: “As with everything else, success in waste reduction and recycling is a matter of having the right systems in place. Making it easy and convenient for employees to comply is key, and we haven’t found that to be difficult.”
St. Elizabeth Hospital in Enumclaw makes its debut as a King County Best Workplace this year. As a LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) Silver certified hospital by the United States Green Building Council, they are committed to improving their waste prevention practices. They practiced cardboard recycling for many years and expanded the program to add commingled, organics and used cooking oil recycling in 2008. Recycling stations were set up with clearly labeled recycling and garbage containers. St. Elizabeth Hospital has seen a notable increase in recycling rates, high rates of community involvement and reduced solid waste costs with these changes. Staff education and training is a vital component to the successful expansion.
One of the newest members to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling is St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way. The staff at St. Francis has been recycling cardboard for many years and expanded the program to add commingled, organics and used cooking oil recycling in 2008. Recycling stations were set up with clearly labeled recycling and garbage containers. With these changes, St. Francis Hospital has seen a notable increase in recycling rates, high rates of community involvement and reduced solid waste costs. Staff education and training was a vital component to the successful expansion.
The Summit at Snoqualmie returns as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for its sixth year, this time landing on the Honor Roll. Their recycling programs include collecting paper, cardboard, glass and metals, as well as light bulbs, toner cartridges and batteries. Their dedicated recycling coordinator plays a big role in the effort, encouraging and supporting all things recycling, and transports recyclables from various base area facilities to the recycling center.
Advice to others: “Create a ‘champion’ position that is known by all in the company and has responsibility of programs.”
Returning for its fourth year as a Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Prevention, Safeway Inc. – Auburn Distribution Center is proud to announce some big waste reductions in this past year. They have eliminated four garbage compactors from their facilities, leaving one which is emptied once every five weeks. This change has reduced their waste by 140 tons from the previous year. They have also implemented recycling in all warehouses, lunch rooms and offices throughout the facility for paper, plastic, glass, aluminum and steel. In addition, they continue to recycle Styrofoam from their floral departments as well as CO2 cartridges from the Starbucks that are located in their retail stores.
The Safeway Beverage Plant based in Bellevue returns for its third year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. Their goal is to be a zero waste facility and they almost made it in 2012, diverting 93 percent of their waste. In addition to recycling paper, plastic and glass, they donated more than 75,000 pounds of food products to non-profit organizations last year, an increase of some 50,000 pounds from the previous year. They value their employees’ input and recently added additional plastics to their recycling program.
Advice to others: “Every little bit counts! Even the smallest items that get thrown into the garbage can add up over the year. With persistence, there is always something more that you can add to a recycling program.”
Hot Off The Press returns as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling this year. Located in Redmond, they are a small, family-owned business that provides full service printing to local businesses as well as multi-national companies. Their goal is to reach 100 percent digital printing, and have reached 98 percent recently, reducing their use of chemicals. Their “Green Print Design” program takes into consideration how best to print a material before printing, reducing waste of materials. Their paper recycling program actively seeks out end uses for their waste paper, such as schools and nonprofits, before the paper actually reaches a recycling bin.
Advice to others: "Money spent on reducing waste should not be considered an expense. If it is done correctly, reducing material use reduces cost. In many cases, what a business considers waste can be used by others. Spending a little time reviewing what your company’s waste products are, and researching who could use those products, can lead to successful partnerships while benefiting the environment."
Accents Et Cetera Gift Baskets returns to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the fifth straight year. Located in Sammamish, this gift basket retailer is demonstrating that a commitment to sustainability can really pay off. After switching from new printer ink cartridges to remanufactured cartridges and buying recycled glass vases instead of new products, Accents Et Cetera Gift Baskets is finding that recycled content saves money without affecting quality.
Advice to others: “When it comes to recycling, keep adding practices. Start with the easiest ideas to have quick success.”
Allyis is making the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the fifth year in a row. Specializing in technology development, professional staffing and managed team solutions for businesses, Allyis has a recycle-oriented work atmosphere. In 2007, the “Greener Allyis” program began, offering employees free recycling for their electrical waste. Last year alone, the program kept 119 CFL bulbs, 24 computers and 94 pounds of batteries out of the landfills.
American Classic Homes is a real estate firm based in Renton. 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. To further cut back on paper and printing supplies, they switched to a multi-use, central office copier/printer that keeps track of usage and efficiency.
Applus Technolgies returns for their fifth year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling earning their spot on the Honor Roll. The technology services and electronic solutions provider is headquartered regionally in Kent and has 16 worksites in King County. New this year, they have started installing motion sensor lighting at their stations and restrooms to reduce electricity usage, and purchasing compostable items when possible for eating, drinking, and other office uses. They continue to use biodegradable “tree free” paper made 100 percent from sugar cane rather than trees. Their staff has also added a line to their emails to encourage reduced paper use: “Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.”
Advice to others: “Applus believes its leadership role as the vehicle emissions testing provider to hundreds of communities across the U.S. should extend beyond contractual obligations to include proactive initiatives that positively impact our local communities. We also sponsor numerous charitable and environmentally focused events as well as industry and academic conferences on technologies and issues that impact air quality. All it takes is a little time and learning the “how to’s” and you are off and running and making a difference you can proud of.”
CDM Smith makes the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the sixth 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, ensuring that waste stays in its proper place until pickup.
Advice to others: “We 9recommend periodic checks with both your staff and property management. It is easy to presume everyone is reducing waste whenever possible, but ongoing diligence is warranted.”
Chameleon Technologies, Inc., a small IT staffing firm located in Kirkland, returns to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for a sixth year and lands a spot on our honor roll. They have an ongoing effort to be more sustainable, and have set up “green business” policies and procedures in their office. They have a compost bin in their kitchen, reduce energy use by turning off in any room that is not being used, set their computer displays to turn off after 10 minutes of inactivity, default to double-sided printing, and have set up a bag at the front desk for recycling batteries.
Advice to others: “Make green business practices easy to follow. For example, if you are going to start a compost bin, put a sign above it that lists what can go in it. Not everyone follows green practices at home so make them easy to follow and understand in the workplace.”
Joining the Honor Roll list for its first time of King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling program, David Evans and Associates (DEA) continues to demonstrate stewardship of the built and natural environments. Recycling bins and instructions are situated in each office, and facilities for recycling reusable batteries, CFL bulbs, disks and ink cartridges are provided as well. Office paper supplies are mostly made of recycled content, and reusable dishes are used in the office kitchen.
Advice to others: “Most sustainable recycling practices are fun, simple, convenient and low cost. Our staff is generally eager to support the office waste reduction program. To help, we make sure to keep the program visible with frequent reminders, visible cues and enthusiasm.”
In Harmony Sustainable Landscapes lands on the Honor Roll once again, having been a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the last six years. They are committed to sustainable practices in their workplace, helping customers create landscapes that are designed and maintained in an environmentally responsible manner. 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. This past year In Harmony Sustainable Landscapes was able to reduce the size of its dumpsters thanks to their recycling efforts.
Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, Inc. is a civil engineering and environmental sciences consulting firm. Their office in Federal Way has been a member of the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling since the program began and once again is on the program’s honor roll. Recycling is a normal procedure in the office, with bins placed in all cubicles and common areas for paper, plastic, cans, cardboard and glass recycling. Used toner cartridges are also collected and there is a reuse area for mailing boxes and other packaging materials. They continue to find more ways to increase recycling and staff is kept up to date on any changes to the program with labels and posters.
Outsource Marketing, now a seven-time member of King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling program, finds itself once again on the program’s honor roll. The Issaquah based marketing agency continues its focus on being a low waste office. Their waste prevention practices include using durable cutlery in the kitchen and providing washable hand towels in the bathroom. They also help clients with their sustainability practices by communicating digitally with them and using FSC certified products when paper is necessary.
Recently, they have targeted unwanted mail as their next step in reducing waste. Using an application called PaperKarma, they are able to take a picture of any unwanted mail and the application removes them from the sender’s distribution list.
Advice to others: “You can reduce the amount of junk mail you receive using an app called PaperKarma. Just set up an account and then take a picture of the junk mail you'd like to stop. PaperKarma contacts the sender to have you removed from their list.”
Pacific Software Publishing, Inc. returns for its fifth year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling, earning them a spot on the program’s Honor Roll. This web and email hosting company prides itself on being as green as possible in its industry. To prevent waste, they have communal printers stocked with recycled paper and defaulted to double-sided printing. They also have water and soda machines in every kitchen along with utensils and dishes to avoid using disposable food beverage containers. In their recycling efforts, 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.
This is the fifth year that thinkspace has been on King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list, landing them on the Honor Roll. Based in Redmond, they provide work space for a community of entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses. They hold events, strike up conversations and create connections among members that foster creativity. With more than 90 different companies in their building, thinkspace believes their recycling program has been successful because of its accessibility. They have composting and also recycle batteries, corks and small devices. There are also personal recycling bins in offices. Recent new efforts include working with SBK Recycling to collect electronics, targeting the large technology community that they house.
Advice to others: “Above all else, it has to be easy. The more you can integrate a recycling program into daily operations, the more people within the community will use it. We have recycling bins in every office and every kitchen. We place recycling and composting bins next to the main garbage containers to provide alternative options. Plus our members always know that they can ask our staff any question they might have; our knowledgeable staff is a huge resource.”
At AMEC Environment and Infrastructure, Inc., recycling and sustainability come second nature. 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, creating notepads out of recycled paper and performing an energy audit to see how else they can improve.
Advice to others: “A successful sustainability program requires leadership and support from upper management, allocated resources, and the goals clearly communicated to office employees, clients and the community. The AMEC-Bothell office reports on energy usage by posting a chart in the kitchen of its utility bills from the last four years to show how the waste reduction efforts are producing real results.”
D’Amico Photography makes its third appearance on the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list. This year, D’Amico Photography switched to digital cameras for almost all of its client needs, reducing waste generated from film, chemicals and paper. It has also used the Non-Profit organization 1 Green Planet to find ways to recycle outdated and broken materials.
Advice to others: “People tend to respond to positive messages in the workplace. Try posting a chart in a prominent place showing how much paper the company has recycled and the number of trees it has saved.”
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. Recent practices include a telecommuting program to reduce the environmental impact of commuting, switching to e-versions of documents to save paper and setting up composting and recycling programs in their offices.
Advice to others: “Involving all staff in the recycling and waste prevention efforts helps create buy-in and a successful program.”
Harmony Massage in Bothell returns for its third year as a King County Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. They continue to reduce waste where they can, from printing double sided copies to buying higher quality sheets that have an extended life cycle. Laundering sheets is a regular task in the massage industry so they’re using an Energy Star washer and dryer set on site to wash sheets more efficiently. They love finding interesting pieces at consignment shops and thrift stores to repurpose as decorations in their offices.
New this year, Harmony Massage has added natural, recycled and upcycled products for sale in their storefront. They have clothing and linens from organic cotton and vases made from old Montana fence posts. Their inventory is expected to expand in years to come as they promote a sustainable lifestyle.
Ingenium is a waste disposer and recycler with services that include transportation, recycling, and repurposing of hazardous, biological, and radiological materials. This year, their Kent office returns to be listed as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. Ingenium helps companies reduce costs by streamlining their processes and minimizing their waste volumes such as by taking manufacturing by-products and redirecting them from the landfill to waste-to-energy programs. Through their “orphan chemical program,” they are able to redirect otherwise wasted chemicals to businesses that have use of them, thereby reducing loading to landfills. In their own office, they aim to reduce waste by placing recycling bins at each workstation and by offering a take back program for plastic bags, cell phones, and other electronics.
Landis+Gyr, a global provider of automated metering for utility companies, makes its first appearance on the Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling list this year. Committed to reducing waste at their Kirkland office, employees are tracking waste and recycling streams monthly and have set annual environmental goals. In the past year, they have reduced their copier prints by 23 percent by implementing electronic retention and approval of invoices, and have reduced their garbage container size by 25 percent. Recently, their office supply list was redone to include more items made from recycled materials and a composting program was implemented.
Advice to others: “Contact your city and county for resources and ideas. Contact the garbage and recycling company to learn what can and can’t be recycled or 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.”
Neil Levinson Enterprises returns as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for their third year. This furniture and cabinet provider, based out of Kirkland, is a small company, but has big goals for waste prevention. They find that they continue to increase the total amount of material they recycle each year. Initiatives around the workplace include using compostable bags for all shredded paper and food waste, reusing file folders by using removable labels, and recycling old samples of their laminate products.
Voldal Wartelle & Co., P.S., joins Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for a third consecutive year. A company that provides financial services to the Pacific Northwest region, they continue to employ new methods reducing waste. They have been able to greatly reduce paper use by implementing a paperless scanning process in their tax department in the past. A recent implementation has been recycling their premeasured coffee pods through a program called “Grounds to Grow on”— used coffee grounds are composted while used pods are sent to an energy-from-waste process.
Wilder Environmental Consulting is making its third appearance on King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list. An environmental consulting business based in Burien, their clients are located throughout the state. Their energy and waste prevention efforts include switching to energy saving light bulbs, purchasing a hybrid vehicle, using 100 percent recycled content paper and maintaining an active compost program.
For the sixth straight year, Emerald Heights Retirement Community makes the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list thanks to a very busy 2012. Emerald Heights formed a “Green Team” to identify ways to improve sustainability efforts, installed water efficient fixtures throughout the building and switched to compostable food containers and reusable coffee cups. To raise even more awareness, Emerald Heights hosted its first Earth Day fair with more than 100 attendees and 16 vendor booths.
Rowley Properties once again shows their commitment to sustainability, returning on King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for their sixth consecutive year and placing on the program’s honor roll once again. As a real estate development company, their sustainability efforts go beyond the workplace. Their projects focus on intelligent and sustainable designs that will benefit communities for years to come. In their own workplace, they recycle food waste and continue to reduce paper waste—they offer a paperless accounts payable system that allow vendors to submit invoices electronically, eliminating the need for paper invoices and paper checks.
King County Housing Authority makes their debut as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling this year. They provide rental housing and rental assistance to more than 18,000 low-income households and use green building concepts in their development projects. Recycling is available at all of their properties while yard waste and food waste is collected at a number of them.
At their Central Campus, employees are given a sustainability tour at their orientation to learn about recycling and composting in the facilities. Light bulbs, batteries, and electronics are recycled, and all staff bathrooms have paper towel compost collection. In the past year, they have implemented “PaperCuts,” a paper reduction campaign and have reduced pages printed by nearly 9 percent in four months.
Advice to others: “At King County Housing Authority, we believe that face to face education is a key part of our successful waste reduction and recycling programs. We work closely with staff to explain opportunities and to offer resources. We are always adapting our programs to recycle more and to meet staff needs. We'd also like to share that in our experience, low-income and multifamily recycling can be a success if the right methods are used. We have reduced our solid waste bills by over $65,000 per year by improving recycling at our low-income developments.”
PS Business Parks returns for their second year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. As a building management service firm, they own and manage three business parks within King County. At the Overlake Business Center, they have over 180 customers and have recognized the need to strengthen their recycling program. They have worked with Waste Management in the past to encourage their customers to start recycling by distributing information, reducing compactor pickups, and introducing food scrap recycling. This has resulted in almost a 50 percent waste reduction. Recent changes in the past year include compost containers in restrooms and food composting bins placed throughout the business park.
Windsor Heights Apartments returns for its second year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. As a low income housing community in SeaTac with 326 on site families, they have partnered with the New Futures program to educate and assist in recycling efforts and awareness. In addition to recycling paper, plastic, glass and metals, they also offer collection of light bulbs and electronics to clients and have just added a more complete electronic equipment recycling program.
Advice to others: “I would say that if you have the opportunity to get younger adults involved in recycling awareness, it goes a long way towards having the adults begin to make changes in their homes and outlook.”
ECO Cartridge Store makes the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the seventh straight year, with some impressive numbers. Thanks to their remanufactured products, ECO Cartridge Store was able to keep an estimated 88,493 pounds of industrial plastic and metal from ending up in the landfill. As a result, an estimated 1,409 barrels of oil were also saved.
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. Recycling, composting and repurposing practices have been in place for many years in its locations. Some practices by the food market include having new employees undergo a recycling training, reducing packaging waste by using recyclable or compostable packaging and donating excess food to food banks. In March 2013, a Harvester unit, an enzyme-driven digester, was installed at their Issaquah location to process the store’s food scraps on-site. The resulting liquid is refined into a liquid fertilizer and is distributed at all PCC locations. Additional units are being planned at other locations and will reduce emissions incurred from otherwise hauling these food scraps to an off-site composter.
Simplicity Décor returns as a five-time Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling, earning a spot on the Honor Roll. 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. Recently, they have established a policy with out-of-state vendors where slightly damaged furniture and home décor pieces are donated to a local non-profit instead of shipped back to be replaced, reducing waste from shipping.
Advice to others: “Make recycling easy to all team members. We make sure that reusable paper and bin are there next to the printer so it's easy for them to comply. We also share during our team meeting how recycling and waste reduction help the company bottom line, which means more money may go back to them in the form of bonuses at the end of the year.”
BladeGallery’s Epicurean Edge has a strong focus on recycling and waste prevention. They return to the list for their third consecutive year. The knife retailer based in Kirkland places a strong emphasis on being environmentally conscientious—from recycling where possible to composting shredded paper and using recycled packaging supplies, they pride themselves on their “green” business practices.
Advice to others: “Find a way to reuse. We are a drop-off site for neighbors’ used packing supplies—both near employees’ homes and at the office. This means we help keep Styrofoam peanuts and plastic bags out of the waste stream.”
Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop returns for their third 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—eyeglasses are donated to the Lion’s Club, cellphones to Lifewire, and clothing and shoes to a clothing bank. To prevent waste, they use all energy efficient light fixtures, recycle used light bulbs, and reuse paper and envelopes whenever possible.
Keeney’s Office Supply returns as a three-time Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. In business since 1947, Keeney’s is a local, independent, and woman-owned office supply and office interior business in the Seattle area. They recycle pens, markers and mechanical pencils through “Terracycle;” Styrofoam through “Styro-Cycle,” and their wooden pallets are reused by a neighbor. Although their recycling and waste prevention programs are quite thorough, they believe they can always strive for better.
Each year, they seek to make changes to ensure that they are “walking the talk.” Their newest innovation this year is a partnership with local manufacturer, Magnum Laser Toners. Keeney’s offers toner recycling to its customers and every week sends more than two pallets of used toners to the manufacturer. Magnum Laser Toners re-manufactures these toners, and sends them back to Keeney’s for sale at a reduced price. This closed loop process has prevented more than 10,000 toner cartridges from going to landfills annually.
Advice to others: “Once you start the process of looking into ways to reduce your waste, you will be amazed at how little it takes and how easy it is to do the ‘right thing.’ You will be surprised to find out that often, your own waste is considered a ‘necessity of business’ for another company. By networking, you can discover these outlets.”
Simplicity ABC returns for its second year as a King County Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling 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. They choose to represent and carry products that are made from recycled materials as much as possible as they believe in sustainability. They also make sure to train new team members to reuse packaging materials such as shipping boxes, packing peanuts, and bubble wrap to prevent waste.
T-Mobile USA is now the nation’s fourth largest wireless provider, serving 42 million subscribers with over 70,000 points of distribution. Their King County locations return for their third year as Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling. Nationwide, T-Mobile’s most successful printer optimization program resulted in eliminating more than 1,700 printers, which led to a 30 percent reduction in paper use. A receipt reduction program at retail stores resulted in a paper reduction of 35 percent. They continue to recycle handsets and accessories at all stores and have collected close one million handsets.
Advice to others: “We feel that it is important to look at all facets of your business. We have not only looked at our internal operations but have also partnered with our suppliers on projects to procure more environmentally friendly products. For example, our retail bags now contain 40 percent post-consumer material and are 100 percent recyclable.”
Whole Foods Market Bellevue returns to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for a second consecutive year. A specialty supermarket chain that promotes whole, unprocessed foods, they believe in caring for their communities and environment. In addition to recycling product packaging, Whole Foods Market Bellevue donates excess food and composts food scraps. Their dedicated “green mission” team meets monthly to ensure all departments are recycling and preventing waste where they can.
Noetix Corporation returns for the fifth year to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list, earning their spot on the program’s Honor Roll. The software company based in Redmond is celebrating the sixth anniversary of its “Green Committee,” which has made waste reduction a top priority. Noetix has an extensive recycling list, collecting all paper, plastic, glass and aluminum as well as batteries, plastic bags, cell phones and light bulbs. Through TerraCycle’s “Brigades program,” they are able to continue recycling previously non-recyclable items such as all of their coffee packaging, pens, dry-erase markers, computer keyboards and mice. They have also recently joined brigades that recycle gum packaging, corks and personal care bottles.
Advice to others: “If your business is just starting out, form a green committee within your company and come up with creative ideas on how to recycle and reuse everyday items. Contact your city’s recycling coordinator to take advantage of any recycling programs they have to offer. Implement an incentive program to help promote recycling and waste reduction. Start small and slowly add to your recycling program. You will be surprised just how easy it is to recycle and reduce your office waste. It’s never too late to create a green initiative for your company!”
Microsoft returns for a third time on King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list this year. An employer of more than 56,000 people in the Puget Sound area, the company understands the potential impact it can have on the local environment and has a goal to reach zero waste by 2014.
In addition to having recycling bins in each office and compost bins in kitchens and conference rooms, Microsoft has implemented several recent initiatives to reduce waste. An on-site trash sorting program sorts nearly 1.5 tons of waste from seven buildings each day and diverts 88 percent of that material away from landfills. In 30 of their campus cafes, there has been a recent audit that included training employees, updating signage and rightsizing waste receptacles. Microsoft has also launched a “Sustainability Champion Program” that recruits employee volunteers to promote green best practices among their colleagues.
Port of Seattle – SeaTac Airport returns to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling as an Honor Roll member. With more than 100,000 travelers, 100 daily flights, and 20,000 employees working for different airlines, SeaTac Airport realizes the impact it can have on its local environment and aims to create a solid waste program that is both simple and meaningful. They have found their comprehensive and voluntary program to be successful. In 2012, they had a 30 percent recycling rate with more than 1,600 tons of diverted waste and 25,000 pounds of food donated to local food banks in 2012 alone. Key to its success has been continuous communication with different stakeholders to tailor the program for the range of needs of each group.
Advice to others: “We believe our program's success stems from our ability to collaborate with our stakeholders and create a strong vision with our sustainability goals and initiatives. We recognize that continuous monitoring of all aspects of the waste minimization and recycling program is critical. We communicate with our businesses and tenants regularly though emails, monthly staff meetings and facility visits, recognizing that face to face contact is the most effective way to develop and maintain those key relationships.”
Updated: Oct. 3, 2013