Eighth Annual 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 98 local businesses to its eighth annual list of Best Workplaces, the highest number listed since the program began in 2007.
The 2014 list spans a wide array of businesses in King County – from education to transportation. Innovative recycling and waste reduction strategies run the gamut, from Safeway’s efforts to recycle meat and grease into bio-diesel, to Keeney’s Office Supply’s efforts to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, to AMEC’s aggressive recycling and composting programs.
Each of the 2014 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 “Re-Innovator Award,” recognizing exceptional innovative waste reduction programs. This year’s recipient is Kirkland-based business VWC. As a company that provides consulting and financial services to commercial businesses, they noticed that client documents were generating high amounts of paper use. After setting clear waste reduction goals, in just one year, the business has transitioned to a completely paperless office. Special congratulations to VWC!
Be inspired, learn something new and glean ideas for your own business by viewing the 2014 Best Workplace profiles below. Don’t miss advice that many businesses have included in their profiles. Congratulations to each 2014 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 fifth year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. The university has an active commitment to campus sustainability with 11 LEED Platinum certified student halls and a rigorous composting and recycling program. In just three months, the university has significantly reduced waste, which allowed them to replace their 45-gallon trash containers with seven gallon trash containers. Incandescent light bulbs have been replaced with compact fluorescent lights, and electronic materials and metals are transported to proper recycling centers. Staff and students alike are committed to proper recycling.
Issaquah School District continues to reduce, reuse and recycle, joining the Best Workplaces list for its sixth consecutive year and the Honor Roll for the second time. The Issaquah School District is made up of 24 schools and administrative and support facilities that house about 2,000 staff and over 18,000 students. Through participation with King County’s Green Schools Program, the students and staff have increased the recycling rate from less than 10 percent to 49 percent annually. School bulletins and newsletters are done by email and closed circuit TV rather than paper. Green Teams train their peers using classroom presentations, and recycling is monitored in cafeterias. The schools organize zero waste locker cleanouts, and durable and compostable lunch trays are used in cafeterias.
Advice to others: “Creating and maintaining a recycling and waste reduction program takes involvement from everyone within an organization. These programs become successful because of the support from top management and buy-in by everyone within the organization. It is critical that custodial teams are involved in all aspects of the development of a recycling program, and that accurate and easy- to- read signs are placed on or above recycling and waste containers to make sorting materials easy for users. Finally, having a recycling and waste reduction manager helps create an enduring culture for recycling.”
Lake Washington School District (LWSD) continues to implement and expand its recycling and waste reduction programs, returning for its sixth time as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. In addition to success in implementing lunchroom recycling, reusable lunch trays, and compost programs in nearly 80 percent of schools, LWSD has begun supporting waste reduction efforts in larger community events. For example, the LWSD Foundation Luncheon in April partnered with Waste Management to make the event as close to zero waste as possible. In addition, several schools have now started using reusable flatware in lunchrooms to cut down on plastic waste.
Bellevue School District returns for its fourth 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 has designated green teams to help meet goals on waste reduction, recycling, energy conservation and water conservation. The Bellevue School District partners with the City of Bellevue to conduct contests between high schools and also elementary schools to compete on creating the least amount of waste. They continue to adjust Dumpster sizes as they become more efficient with recycling and waste reduction. This year the district is piloting a reusable tray program with the Washington Department of Ecology at one of the elementary schools.
Advice to others: “As with past years, we feel it is essential for schools to form a team to work on reaching goals. This also ensures that efforts continue each year despite any staff turn over within the schools. We want schools to have multiple people invested in reaching goals and getting recognized for their achievements.”
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 and their families about recycling. 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.
This is the first year that the Vashon Island School District is recognized as one of King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction. They have a robust and comprehensive food waste reduction and capture program district wide that has allowed them to reduce trash volume by roughly one third over the last three years. The school district has also added durable trays, plates and flatware where applicable.
Returning for its third 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. Now in its 31st year, Woodinville Montessori School currently serves 389 students on campuses in Woodinville and North Creek/Bothell, and is a consciously eco-friendly and environmentally aware school. Their Environmental Leadership Club has worked on a variety of activities this year. The students have helped hang "lights off" signs around the school, reminding students and staff to turn the lights off as they leave each room. The members visited each lower elementary class and gave presentations about recycling and composting. The club organized a landscape work party and helped pull ivy, an invasive species that is growing around the school. They also helped pick out native plants that they would like to plant in replacement next year. Also, at this year’s Fall Festival they implemented a Zero Waste plan for their food service. All products used were compostable – cups, plates, cutlery, napkins – everything!
Advice to Others: “Engage your community to help with your efforts! As our school continues to grow, we strive to reuse more. When the need arose for new couches for the school lounges, the class engaged our school families to shop garage sales. When the kitchen manager realized we didn’t have enough bowls to support our growing community, she asked for families to repurpose items from home instead of buying new. When businesses are changing letterhead, we appreciate their donations of paper and envelopes to help reduce the need for additional paper products. We do all of this because the concept of repurposing is the most cost-effective, efficient, and resource-sensitive option, consistent with Montessori values.”
Dynacraft, a PACCAR Company returns this year to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the fourth time. Dynacraft recognizes its responsibility to the community and is committed to reducing waste, conserving natural resources, and protecting the environment. Dynacraft was able to partner with neighboring businesses to support their need for reusable recyclable materials, and cost effective, waste stream options. By forming partnerships, Dynacraft helped reduce operational costs. Dynacraft is proud to mentor other businesses in the community. Since 2013, they have been sharing best practices on landfill waste reduction and recycling programs.
Advice to others: “Dynacraft’s success can be attributed to the use of strategically placed recycle bins, returnable shipping containers, packaging material reductions, and supplier recycling partnerships. We encourage other businesses to remain diligent in their efforts to reduce and reuse for the betterment of the environment. 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!”
HDR Engineering, Inc, a national consulting engineering firm, returns to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the eighth straight year. This year, the HDR Bellevue Green Team found new, innovative ways to expand the already successful waste prevention, composting and recycling program. They added restroom receptacles designated for paper towel compost, and posted signs encouraging paper towel composting. Individual serving-size coffee creamers have been replaced with cartons of creamer, thereby reducing overall waste. Employees now can readily recycle old reports, binders, light bulbs, batteries, cell phone, and other office materials on each floor all year long. The Bellevue Green Team is advising HDR offices nationwide on how to implement Waste Prevention and Recycling programs.
Advice to others: “Empower employees to create, plan and implement an idea that resonates with their passion and share the success story with others.”
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 for its second year. Hexcel’s efforts toward 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. Recent winners of the City of Kent’s Green Business of the Year award, Hexcel also donates surplus materials.
Joining the Honor Roll list for its second year is Kenworth Truck Company – Renton Plant, a six-time member of the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling program. This truck plant’s extensive list of recyclable materials with established programs include paper, cardboard, wood, plastics, metals, cooking oil, engine oils, batteries, light bulbs, electronics, food composting, antifreeze and toner cartridges. Their cafeteria now has a composting program for food waste and food service items. Kenwoth Truck Company also recycles wood pallets, and continues to invest in returnable and reusable shipping racks to reduce wood use.
Advice to others: “Survey your site, and take a hard look at what's really filling your waste bins. Then ask for help – many waste service providers offer help with waste reduction and/or diversion options.”
Stantec (Roth Hill was acquired last June by Stantec) returns to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for their seventh year and again makes it onto the program’s Honor Roll. Stantec is a consulting firm specializing in engineering consulting, environmental services, and survey. They recently consolidated offices which shrank their carbon footprint and provided to opportunity to recycle or sell items that could not be reused. Programs are also in place for recycling batteries , light bulbs and toner cartridges , and all copiers/printers are set to double sided default. Stantec recently reduced the amount of copiers/printers in the office. There is also a program in place to reduce their ecological footprint office by office that helps track paper usage, toner consumption, and make recommendations as needed.
Advice to others: “Keep the conversation going. Suggestions come from everywhere; when someone suggests something to reduce waste and encourage recycling, if it's feasible, we will certainly make every attempt to implement it!”
Torklift Central returns to be listed as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for their fifth year, earning their place on the Honor Roll. Torklift Central has been in the towing and RV business since 1976. They are located in downtown Kent and specializing in custom fabrication, trailer hitches, welding, and towing applications. In the past two years, they have worked to improved their waste prevention and recycling program. Torklift Central recycles all of their internal office supplies like folders, paper and envelopes as well as metal scraps, oils, wood pallets, cardboard. In 2013 Torklift installed an electric car charging station to encourage driving electric. New in 2014, Torklift had all of their air conditioning systems refurbished to prep for less energy in the summer. In an effort to reduce paper waste, the majority of their communication is done through email and fax.
Advice to others: “Using technology is a great way to communicate with customers and employees, communicating through printing is not efficient.”
CHS Engineers, LLC continues striving to reduce the amount of waste it produces, and returns for its fourth time as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. This medium-sized engineering consulting firm based in Bellevue conducted 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. All of their electronics were recycled as well. The business also takes steps to reduce paper waste by avoiding printing documents whenever possible.
Conrad Manufacturing Co., Inc., produces quality products from simple parts to sophisticated aerospace components and is making its debut as a King County’s Best Workplace for Waste Reduction and Recycling. Some of their best practices include reusing all shredded paper as packaging, returning pallets to distributors to be reused, purchasing used boxes, recycling Styrofoam, and reusing plastic bins for transportation for goods. Conrad Manufacturing also trains staff on proper recycling, and provides easily accessible bins with clear labelling throughout their buildings.
Joining King County’s Best Workplaces for the first time 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.”
Rainier Industries, Ltd. joins us for the third time on the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list. A custom manufacturing company specializing in fabric, display and shade products, they began their recycling program in 2007. In 2011, they recycled 73 percent of their waste, diverting 292 tons from the landfill. This year, Rainier Industries saved approximately 1,000 pieces of paper per day by revising a production method between two facilities. They also work to keep e-waste out of the landfill.
Advice to others: “Empower employees to look for improvements and make sure they feel their suggestions are valued. They are the ones involved in the everyday tasks and are your best resource for making real change.”
Joining the Honor Roll list for its first year is Weyerhaeuser. A manufacturer of wood products, Weyerhaeuser grows trees and makes forest products that improve lives in fundamental ways. The company has a large focus on waste reduction. Within the office, recycling and compost bins can be found in all conference rooms and other centrally-located areas. Their on-site café offers reusable dishware and compostable packaging for take-out items. They also have an employee green team, called "The Sustainables.” They helped reduce landfill waste at the company picnic to only five pounds for more than 700 attending employees by choosing reusable materials, recycling and composting.
In manufacturing, almost every portion of every harvested log is used. Wood chips left over from making lumber are used to make pulp and paper, and logs that are too small for dimensional lumber are processed into engineered wood products. Energy is also generated from wood residuals. In 2013, this resulted in 98 percent of their waste and residuals being reused or recycled.
FCS Group provides financial and management consulting services in the Pacific Northwest. The Redmond office returns for their sixth consecutive year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. FSC Group had a representative from Waste Management host a meeting for its employees that taught their company how to recycle more effectively and also how to donate and reuse items around the office and at home. The meeting was well attended and the staff is eager to engage in more sustainable practices.
DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport is named to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling Honor Roll list once again. The Double Tree by Hilton Seattle Airport is Green Seal Certified at the silver level. The hotel focuses on improving their sustainability efforts each year. They continue to compost food, recycle used cooking oil, reclaim water for laundry and donate left over food to Food Lifeline. They recycle as much product as possible and promote their green efforts to staff and guests.
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 second year in a row. Frito-Lay of Federal Way continues to reduce total waste each year and recycled 86 percent of their total waste in 2013; that was over 420,000 pounds of materials recycled. This year they have been focusing on fuel conservation and have 10 electric vehicles on the road that deliver products to their large format customers. Frito Lay of Federal Way has strategically placed these electric trucks on their highest mile routes to realize the highest possible fuel savings, and are now saving more than 450 gallons of fuel per week. They also continue to strive to make recycling "easy" by providing recycling bins and encouraging participation.
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. As a Green Seal Certified facility, they focus on improving sustainability efforts each year. They continue to compost their food, recycle used cooking oil, reclaim their water for laundry and donate leftover food. Hilton Seattle Airport and Conference Center works to promote their efforts to all employees and guests who stay with them.
This marks the seventh consecutive 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. The Seattle Airport Marriot Hotel continues to strive for more diversion of both pre-consumer and post-consumer food waste.
The Herbfarm Restaurant returns to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the seventh consecutive year, landing on the program’s Honor Roll. The Woodinville restaurant and farm recycles food waste from the restaurant back to the farm when ever possible. 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.
Advice to others: “It's easy. Everyone wants to recycle, so make it convenient for them.“
The Westin Bellevue returns to be named a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for their sixth 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” 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.
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 reduce waste and recycle. Recent enhancements include the recycling of 90 percent of their used furniture after a renovation, and heightened training on recycling and waste reduction. They are proud to be one of 57 hotels nationwide to receive the “5 Green Key” rating from the Green Key Eco-Rating Program.
Advice to others: “The Hyatt Regency Bellevue is proud to play a progressive role in sustainability. We focus on reducing waste, water, and energy consumption. The first step towards a more sustainable culture is to establish commitment from every department and to provide them the appropriate resources. It is the passion and dedication from employees that drives our success.”
LBA (Les Boulangers Associes) returns to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the third consecutive year. A French bakery located in SeaTac, they produce baked goods for wholesale and look to reduce waste where they can. They have mixed recycling in place for cardboard, paper, plastic and have containers located around the bakery to capture this material. Recently, they have increased their recycling container and as a result have diverted material away from the landfill. The team at LBA is committed to waste reduction and recycling and they work hard to achieve their goals.
Marlene’s Market & Deli of Federal Way returns for their fourth year with King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling. This natural food store continues its habits of reusing, recycling, and composting. . They have expanded their composting service to include all food scraps and coffee grounds. Marlene’s Market & Deli also offers compostable packaging and recyclable plastic for to-go items.
Advice to others: “Try making one small change every day to reduce waste. Start today by setting your computer to default to double-sided copies. The next day, set up a box to collect used batteries, or see if you can change one of the disposable materials you use on a daily basis to a re-usable product. Little changes can have a big impact.”
Pagliacci Pizza returns for their fourth year with King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling. They were the first pizza company in the world, and the only one in the nation, 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 Pizza has also 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.
Advice to others: “Stick with a good waste reduction and recycling plan and make sure you're educating your employees on what to do. If one person is enthusiastic and diligent about it, there is a tendency for others to follow.”
Taco Time Northwest makes its debut as one of King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Reduction and Recycling. This family-run business headquartered in Renton has 75 restaurants in the Puget Sound region. They have a program that allows all compostable items to be disposed in one bin for easy composting at a commercial facility. New packaging designed specifically for Taco Time Northwest eliminates the need for guests to separate out compostable items and minimizes waste. In 2013, Taco Time NW was awarded the Leadership In Organic Recovery award by Washington Organics Recycling Council. Half of their total waste is composted, 20 percent is recycled, and their cooking oil is turned into biodiesel to fuel their Taco Time Traveler truck.
Advice to others: “Recycling and composting are initiatives that we fundamentally believe in and we are proud that we can do our part to be good stewards of the environment and allow our guests to do the same when they visit our restaurants. It takes time to implement such initiatives and transform all packaging to being compostable, but we felt it was the right thing to do.”
The BBQ Schacht returns to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for a third consecutive year and they continue to improve their recycling practices. Their recycling program includes collecting material from the kitchen and from recycling bins that are clearly labeled for customers. Recently they have been able to downsize their garbage container, which shows their progress in waste reduction and recycling.
Twelve Baskets Catering, based out of Kirkland, returns on the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for their fourth 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. The owner, John Bagge, an avid outdoorsman, gardener, and conservation-minded person, is a strong advocate of recycling, reusing and repurposing materials. For example, he uses left over clear plastic packaging to grow seedlings for his home garden. Food scraps go into compost totes for bi-weekly pickup. Twelve Baskets constantly encourages staff to recycle. The business also donates safe leftover food to the Union Gospel every week.
This year marks the fourth time Willows Lodge has joined King County’s Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling list. Since its inception, waste reduction has been a focus of the 84-room lodge with a restaurant, bar, spa and 5,000 square feet of event space. 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, they have spread compost made from their own food scraps throughout the property landscaping. This sustainable landscaping earned Willows Lodge a “5 Star” rating with the King County EnviroStars program. 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.
Advice to others: “It is an ongoing, evolving process and the whole team needs to be involved. We do know there is more we can be doing and this list is inspiring. We always strive to make positive changes around the property wherever possible in order to continue to do our part to protect the environment.”
Returning for their seventh year as a Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Prevention, the City of Bellevue once again lands a spot on the program’s honor roll. The City of Bellevue has a long-standing commitment to workplace recycling and waste reduction. City Hall's employees can conveniently recycle paper, cans, bottles, plastic packaging, toner cartridges, all types of batteries, Styrofoam peanuts and blocks, bottle caps, techno-trash such as cables and media disks, food/yard waste, pallets, non-working writing utensils, and e-waste. Approximately 90 employees at Bellevue City Hall do not have a garbage can in their cubicles as part of an initiative to reduce liner waste and move towards "zero waste."
During the past year, Bellevue switched from 30 percent to 50 percent recycled content paper for 8-1/2 by 11 copy paper. In addition, they adopted a "preferred shopping list" for recycled content office products and remanufactured cartridges with our office products vendor. In the past year, Styrofoam block recycling has doubled thanks to facility maintenance staff participation and assistance in collection.
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. The City of Kent has been recycling toner cartridges for a number of years, and has recently added Styrofoam to the list of recycled materials. They host three recycling events per year for City of Kent residents where they accept the usual as well as hard and costly to recycle items. They also promote recycling in their e-newsletter and through social media.
Advice to others: “Repetition is crucial in order to avoid confusion when recycling. It's good to keep an eye on what goes into the recycling bins so you can pull out anything that's not supposed to be in them, so staff can learn to recycle properly. In addition to having posters with pictures of acceptable items, personal reminders at staff meetings can be effective.”
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 second time. At City Hall, there is food composting in all kitchen areas, durable plates and cups are provided, printers are set to double-sided printing, and paperless, online applications are used. Employees are able to recycle a range of materials such as batteries and Styrofoam. The cityy also buys recycled items when possible. They use 30 percent post-consumer copy paper and purchase recycled lumber.
Advice to others: “If you need assistance with your waste reduction and recycling program, contact your local government's utility office. Many have staff that can help you set up and/or improve your waste reduction and recycling programs. 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 its second time, the City of SeaTac continues to promote environmental stewardship. Employees have designated one location for all city facilities where used printer cartridges are collected for recycling, as well as a designated pick-up area within City Hall for reusable items such as desks and office supplies.
Advice to others: “Set simple goals to start with and increase them as you reach each new level. Remember to make recycling options easily accessible and the process understandable - not everyone is used to recycling where they may have come from in this day of multicultural work environments. Share what you have done and challenge employees to find ways to reduce more.”
The City of Tukwila returns to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the fifth consecutive year, making onto the Honor Roll list. The City provides a convenient and comprehensive recycling and waste reduction program for its employees and visitors at City facilities. Recently they had an "Earth Day Recycling Survey" designed to determine if there was confusion about what could and could not be recycled, as well as to solicit ideas from employees. All employees who responded were entered in a drawing to win one of five sets of "eco speakers" made from recycled content materials. In prior years, they have offered an on-line "Earth Day Pledge." These types of activities engage employees in recycling and waste prevention, and also provide useful information for improving their program.
The City of Issaquah returns to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for its fourth year. The City of Issaquah not only promotes recycling and waste reduction among its citizens and businesses, but works hard to reduce waste and recycle within city government as well. 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: “Having a culture of recycling and providing training to custodial staff is the key to a successful recycling and food waste reduction program. We encourage businesses to look to commercial halers, city, and the county for programs that can help reduce waste. Businesses often see cost savings after implementation of these programs.”
The City of Kirkland returns for their third year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. The City of Kirkland’s recent additions since their previous Best Workplace Award include two new recycling programs at City Hall, and StyroFest, a monthly foam collection event held once a month. Since its November debut, StyroFest has recycled 160 cubic yards of foam. The city has also increased composting capacity in eating areas by updating containers and signage and is dedicated to recycling old equipment that couldn’t be donated. The City of Kirkland also works within the community to support waste reduction at events by supplying additional recycling containers, and training volunteers on what is recyclable.
Advice to others: “Locate and support your waste reduction champions. They are great to lean on and help spread your message. Also, using proper signage and connecting waste reduction with cost savings wherever possible is very effective.”
Making the list for the first year, the City of Mercer Island encourages a community of engaged citizens who are dedicated to reducing their collective environmental impact. According to the City’s 2006 Comprehensive Plan, they strive to consider the relationship between the decisions they make as a community and their long-term impacts. The City of Mercer Island is proud to share one of the highest residential recycling rates in King County and recently began a composting program at City Hall, with plans for other facilities as well. Twice a year, free public recycling event are held where the city accepts difficult items such as tires and batteries. The City also strives to be waste free at all employee cookouts and public ceremonies, and demonstrates its commitment to sustainability and efficiency with a full-time Sustainability Manager.
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 first time. All City facilities have the standard recycling collection program available, as well as organics and food waste compost collection. Recently, household battery collection sites were introduced at City facilities including City Hall, libraries and community centers. Staff are educated via an online newsletter about waste prevention and recycling opportunities throughout the City, and City staff events have full recycling, and food waste compost collection available, as well as use compostable plates, and service ware. All recyclable toner cartridges are collected, and the City continues to look for other materials to collect and recycle throughout their facilities.
This year marks the first time the City of Sammamish joins the King County’s best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling list. The City of Sammamish City Hall and Maintenance and Operations Center offer public services to the citizens and companies doing business within city limits. One of their most successful waste prevention and recycling efforts are the recycling collection events that the city hosts quarterly. These events have massive turnouts where citizens can recycle all sorts of materials and purchase waste prevention devices such as compost bins, rain barrels and worm bins.
Advice to others: “Our advice to other employers would be to make it easy for employees. The more complicated and inaccessible recycling is, the less likely they are to do it. High recycling participation can be achieved by informational signs.”
The City of Shoreline makes the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the second year in a row thanks to some innovative ideas and practices. Shoreline is committed to waste reduction and implemented a plastic bag ban. To promote the ordinance, the City distributed no-cost reusable bags made out of recycled materials.
Advice to others: “Work regionally and share ideas.”
North City Water District is a public water district that serves approximately 25,000 people in parts of Shoreline and Lake Forest Park and is making its debut as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. Recently the North City Water District installed a water bottle filling station in its lobby that is available to the public. The water bottle filling station was installed to encourage the public to drink tap water as opposed to bottled water, and as a way to cut back on waste from the plastic bottles, and the oil that goes into producing the bottles.
Ronald Wastewater District makes it on to the Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for a second 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. All staff members continue to reuse printer paper if available for draft documents, and they recycle all paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum products. Small decals on bathroom mirrors remind users to conserve water. 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 expenses.
EvergreenHealth joins King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for their sixth consecutive year, maintaining 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. This year, they modified their kitchen and cafeteria to be set up for collecting compostable materials. They also include water bottle refill stations and encouraged staff to bring in their own reusable water bottles instead of purchasing single use water bottles. EvergreenHealth also has a green team that is formalizing a plan to phase out the use of hazardous chemicals.
Advice to others: “Keep things simple with recycling. When you make changes, make sure you have a lot of education in place. When we went to 'all in one recycling' we had a representative from every department come to a meeting about the process.”
Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue returns for its seventh 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. The medical center is committed to maintaining the highest standards in medical care and waste prevention. Recycling containers are located throughout the campus, with compost containers also set up in cafes. Overlake also purchases compostable or recyclable food containers for its dining areas.
Federal Way Naturopathy, specializing in minimally invasive natural therapies, returns to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for their fourth year. They are committed to making sustainable choices and have been looking for more ways that they can improve. They recently began implementing an electronic medical records program that reduces the need for charts, appointment calendars, file cabinets and othe equipment associated with medical charting. They also 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.
Advice to others: “There are so many reasons to be stewards of the environment and many resources available to help. As businesses, we have many opportunities to be an example of responsible awareness of recycling and waste reduction. It's simple, easy, and the right thing to do.”
This marks the fourth 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 it on the list as a King County Best Workplace for its second year. They have just recently re-implemented comingled recycling in their dietary services area and are looking to expand that to other non-clinical areas. Ongoing staff training is used to keep contamination levels low. Their dietary services department is composting the food waste and now purchasing compostable packaging for their customers. Their cooking oil is being recycled into biodiesel and they continue to try to find ways to reduce waste and increase recycling.
One of the newest members to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling is St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way. St. Francis Hospital continues to strive to divert recyclables from the landfill. They collect comingled recycling throughout the hospital. Their dietary services department collects pre-consumer food waste from the kitchen for composting and they are considering purchasing compostable packaging for their customers. Their cooking oil is recycled with a biodiesel company. Recently, they held an employee appreciation meal event and recycling stations were set up for food waste and comingled recycling. Their staff continues to strive to divert recyclables from landfill.
The Safeway Distribution Center earns a spot on this year’s honor roll list. Located in Auburn, they have an internal facility Asset Recovery Center that has been tasked with reducing its corporate carbon footprint by providing sustainable recycling operations. Their goal is to become leaders, mentors and stewards in the recycling community by sharing best practices, and by learning from other recycling operations. Over the course of the year, they have focused on recycling meat and grease into bio-diesel. Also, they began a cardboard bailing program to maximize trailer loads - saving transportation costs. The Safeway Distribution Center also placed more emphasis on separating plastics in order to ensure proper recycling.
Advice to others: “Personally, as a new contributor to the recycling arena, I would encourage asking questions of well-established and respected recycling businesses throughout King County and the state. There are vast amounts of knowledge in these professionals who all are eager to provide their experience and knowledge. Also, I would encourage all to not rest on what works but to always strive for new and better ways to perform recycling minded operations.”
Starfire Sports, a soccer complex with 12 outdoor and two indoor fields where numerous soccer leagues, practices and tournaments take place each year, returns for its third year as one of King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Reduction and Recycling. They use reclaimed water to irrigate the grass fields, and have recycle bins placed conveniently next to all garbage cans. Starfire Sports has also reduced paper waste by utilizing computer programs for daily tasks, including team rosters and check-in, employee scheduling, timecards, and more. They strive to consolidate orders with other onsite tenants, which helps reduce the use of shipping materials.
The Safeway Beverage Plant based in Bellevue returns for its fourth year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. Out of 302,670 pounds of recycling and garbage items, they recycled 289,725 pounds, which amounts to a 95.7 percent waste diversion. This included paper, plastic, glass, and metal. Also, to date for 2014, the plant increased its recycling by 17.4 percent over the past year.
Advice to others: “The best advice we can give is to make recycling a habit. Talk about it and make it easy! Well-marked containers and clear instructions on what to recycle encourage participation and help create a culture of conservation. Our employees’ interests, ideas and participation has contributed to the growing success of our program.”
VWC joins Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling for a fourth consecutive year. A company that provides financial services to the Pacific Northwest region, they continue to employ new methods reducing waste. In 2013, their third department went paperless and now, in 2014, they are happy to report that they are a completely paperless office. What this means when client documents, bills and mail come into their office by paper they are scanned and entered into paperless workflow. From that point forward, client documents stay paperless, and when processing is complete they are stored paperless. They are proud to say that the future of their firm no longer includes sending paper to offsite storage.
Accents Et Cetera Gift Baskets returns to King County's Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the sixth 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, buying recycled glass vases instead of new products, and using recyclable materials in their packaging as much as possible, 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 King County's Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the sixth year in a row. Specializing in technology development, professional staffing and managed team solutions for businesses, Allyis has a recycle-oriented work atmosphere.Allyis cuts back on paper waste by using durable dishware rather than paper cups and plates in the kitchen area , and by setting their printer to default to double sided. They have also been monitoring copies made per month and are proud to report that they have drastically reduced printer paper usage within the last nine months.
Advice to others: “Committing to using dishes and washing them after each use is a simple way to reduce the amount of waste that goes into the landfill.”
AMEC Environment and Infrastructure, Inc. is an international environmental, engineering, and project management consulting firm. 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. Sustainability goals are clearly communicated. For example, the AMEC-Bothell office reports on energy usage to all employees, and provides waste reduction tips in daily morning emails. They also have a bulletin board in the kitchen where employees are encouraged to make suggestions on new ways to reduce waste.
Advice to others: “Waste reduction and recycling is an integral part of operating a sustainable business. 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.”
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. 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.
Applus Technolgies returns for their sixth year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling, reclaiming 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. After reducing energy and paper usage last year, this year Applus has purchased a new green printer that is made from recycled products and uses cartridges instead of toners. They plan to outfit most of their locations with the new printers. In accordance with the company’s mission, Applus also uses compostable products whenever possible, and make sure that most of their products are made from a minimum of 50 percent recycled content. Applus strives to be a leader when it comes to their environmental practices. They find new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle, reduce their carbon footprint, and also educate employees on these practices.
Advice to others: “With global weather changes and so many recent devastating weather related events, we would like to suggest that businesses take donations and provide them to organizations that are dedicated to protecting various natural resources, such as the Arbor Day Foundation, The Nature Consortium, environmental education and awareness organizations, forest restoration programs, water revitalization programs and so many more. You can find them by doing an online search or speaking to your local government office.”
CDM Smith makes the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the seventh 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.
Chameleon Technologies, Inc., a small IT staffing firm located in Kirkland, returns to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for a seventh 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. This year, they have focused on reducing paper waste by including footers at the end of emails to remind people reduce the amount of paper they print, minimizing the use of sticky notes, and by making sure to only print internal documents when it is absolutely necessary.
Advice to others: “It does not matter how big or how small your office is. Everyone can make a positive impact on the earth in the simplest ways.”
Joining the Honor Roll for the second year as one of King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling program, 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. The firm’s core purpose is to improve quality of life while remaining environmentally conscious. 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. The company regularly reuses shipping materials, and when available, purchases 100 percent recycled office products.
Advice to others: “The greatest way to make an impact is to be creative and find new ways to reduce waste and also educate staff on waste reduction and recycling practices. Although we cannot stop waste production entirely, everyone can make significant contributions to help reduce waste. Even the littlest steps make a huge difference!”
In Harmony Sustainable Landscapes lands on the Honor Roll once again, having been a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for the last seven 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.
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. Every year they find more ways to increase the recycling efforts. Recycle bins can be found in all cubicles, offices, meeting rooms and common areas for easy recycling of paper, plastic, cans cardboard and glass. The company has established a reuse area for mailing boxes, envelopes and other packaging materials. Employee education is provided, including labels and posters to keep everyone up to date on changes or any additions to the program. Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, Inc., also collects and returns used toner cartridges and recycles electronic equipment.
Outsource Marketing, now an eight-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. Heating and cooling often represents a company's largest energy cost per month. This year, they installed a Nest learning thermostat in their office and are pleased with the results. Their energy costs are down, and they have considerably more control over office temperatures. It's also critical that every business has their HVAC systems serviced regularly – it really improves efficiency.
Advice to others: “Don't overlook your company's HVAC system. Have it serviced regularly, and consider a smart thermostat that keeps your office the right temperature efficiently, and as economically possible.”
Pacific Software Publishing, Inc. returns for its sixth year as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling. This web and email hosting company prides itself on being as green as possible in its industry. PSPINC does this by adhering to green energy policies as well as preventing waste and encourages recycling at both the company and individual level. 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. They also ensure proper disposal of all hazardous materials used in their offices, such as paint and cleaning agents.
D’Amico Photography makes its fourth appearance on the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list. This Kirkland based photography studio incorporates waste reduction strategies into their business model, and continuously looks for new ways to reduce waste and recycle. D’Amico recently began collecting scrap metal and broken electronics to take to facilities that specialize in recycling these materials. D’Amico also reaches out to other local businesses and non-profits that are able to help them meet their waste reduction and recycling goals.
Advice to others: “Reducing waste is not a difficult thing to do, and it does not cost my business anything monetarily. All it takes is a few extra minutes of my time, but it is time well spent. I strongly believe that we all need to help heal our planet in whatever ways we can. Even small actions are helpful.”
King County welcomes GLY Construction to the best Workplaces list for the first time. A general contractor committed to the success of Pacific Northwest companies and communities, GLY is dedicated to forming partnerships that enhance the local quality of life. GLY also identified an opportunity for improvement in one of their frequent processes: cleaning slurry pans. They did this by focusing on two areas: responsible cleanup of concrete slurry arriving from jobsites, and finding a sustainable way to capture, use and recycle rainwater. GLY was able to successfully develop a sustainable solution that discharges clean, pH-balanced water.
Advice to others: “We have found momentum to be a key component for successful change when it comes to waste reduction and recycling. Our effort is ongoing and it is important to incorporate sustainability into all business aspects. After one year of composting in our main office, we recognized that our efforts were slipping. We used this as an opportunity to remind all employees about our best practices as far as composting and recycling.”
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. They recently finalized a corporate-wide sustainable development report, which includes targets for reducing our waste and carbon footprint. Locally, they developed 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.
Advice to others: “We’ve found that good communication with staff regarding the company's waste prevention and recycling goals, programs, and successes increases participation and integrates sustainability into our company culture. Communications include review of our recycling and waste programs during new-hire training, increased signage at waste collection areas, and office-wide emails detailing new procedures and goals. We encourage employees to take these green practices from the office to their home, so that it becomes an employee lifestyle. Our environmental and sustainability committee leads these efforts by notifying the office on new internal programs, community events, and other waste prevention/recycling tips.”
Harmony Massage and Boutique in Bothell returns for its fourth 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 onsite Energy Star washer and dryer set to wash sheets more efficiently. They have also continued to expand their line of crafts from recycled materials. Popular items include vases made from Montana fence posts, ornaments and magnetic animals made from recycled phone books and magazines, and baby stockings made from yarn remnants.
Hipcricket is a leading mobile marketing and advertising technology company and makes the Best Workplaces list for its first time. Their most successful waste prevention and recycling efforts are driven by ensuring recycling bins are in every conference room, office and common spaces like the kitchen. These are constant reminders for the team to not to be wasteful. All employees are given a refillable Hipcricket water bottle for everyday use in the office to ensure they aren't using paper cups or sipping out of single-serving water bottles. They also utilize file sharing services to eliminate printing of documents.
Advice to others: “Businesses and industries create large amounts of waste in their daily activities. Reducing the amount of rubbish created at work through methods such as recycling will benefit the business as well as the environment. Waste disposal costs are greatly reduced through recycling and ultimately, less waste ends up in landfills. Work with suppliers to organize transportation of goods in reusable containers that use less packaging. Materials that produce large volumes of waste should be the main target for recycling.”
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. 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. This year, they set a new goal of reducing packaging materials by 50 percent. Hot Off The Press also has 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: "We have learned that effective waste reduction and recycling program not only reduces waste, it reduces costs, too. Also, by ordering more intelligently from vendors, companies can reduce the amount of traffic on the road and delivery costs. Additionally, we have found that by choosing smaller, more environmentally efficient companies, we have reduced our cost while reducing our impact on the environment. Finally, many times what one business considers waste is often times what another business needs for success. Building connections does take time, however it is time well spent as it helps improve our society, our environment, and even the bottom line."
Ingenium Group, LLC 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 for the third year in a row. 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. Ingenium is committed to increasing sustainability, reducing costs to its clients, 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."
Landis+Gyr, a global provider of automated metering for utility companies, makes its second appearance on the Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling list this year. Committed to reducing waste at their Kirkland office, Landis+Gry has a waste management and minimization plan that helps them set goals and track waste reduction. Environmental awareness training is also provided for all employees. This past year, they were able to reduce their garbage container size by 25 percent, fuel by 17 percent, electronic waste by 38 percent, water by 29 percent and electricity by 14 percent.
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 and compost are placed in the appropriate container. Employee involvement is the key. Programs should be visible and apparent. Show that participation is expected from everyone.”
Lula Ruby is an organic hair salon making the Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Prevention for the first time. They are always striving to reduce or eliminate their carbon footprint in the Snoqualmie Valley. 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. Lula Ruby uses glasses to serve water to their guests, and they recently purchased a low energy washer and dryer combo. They even proudly compost the hair that they sweep up off the floor!
Advice to others: “Just do it! It is not hard, get into the routine and get your recycling system going. Before long it becomes routine.”
Neil Levinson Enterprises returns as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling for their fourth year. This furniture and cabinet provider, based out of Kirkland, is a small company does everything possible to minimize their environmental footprint. They shred all documents and bag in compostable BioBags and place in yard waste containers, and slo reuse boxes, mailing envelopes, and folders. They find that they continue to increase the total amount of material they recycle each year.
Wilder Environmental Consulting is making its fourth appearance on King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list. 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, utilize iPADs in the field to reduce paper use and store and share documents electronically.
Advice to others: “Set goals that are realistic each year and keep getting better. Don't get overwhelmed by all you can do – you do not have to do everything at once. Re-evaluate your practices after implementation to make sure they are truly reaching your goals.”
Emerald Heights Retirement Community makes the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling Honor Roll list thanks to a very busy 2013 . This past year, their Green Team focused on expanding their composting program. A trip to Waste Management for residents and staff sparked increased interest in recycling and composting. They began a trial composting program to promote waste reduction. Results have been positive and they plan to roll out a full composting program. They are partnering with the City of Redmond to increase access to composting collection.
Rowley Properties once again shows their commitment to sustainability, returning on King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for their seventh consecutive year, placing them on the program’s honor roll list. As a real estate development company, their sustainability efforts go beyond the workplace. For three generations, the Rowley’s have cherished the Issaquah community. Their projects focus on intelligent and sustainable designs that 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 returns for their second 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 use green building concepts in their development projects.
Staff at KCHA Central Campus in Tukwila participate daily in strategies to reduce waste and increase recycling. KCHA staff are educated on all of the waste diversion programs. Food scrap composting is available in kitchens, in addition to paper towel composting in all bathrooms. KCHA staff members have access to special recycling options, for items from work or from home including compact fluorescent light bulbs, small electronics, and batteries through special collection boxes on site. Last year, KCHA worked on a paper reduction campaign, with an end result of decreasing pages printed by 9 percent. Paper reduction continues to be a goal, and they continue to work on reducing unnecessary printing.
Advice to others: “At KCHA, we believe in educating our employees. We utilize community based social marketing methods as a key part of our waste reduction and recycling efforts. KCHA values sustainability in all parts of its work, and waste reduction and recycling with staff is an important part of that. We are often adapting our programs to meet staff needs and recycle new things. We'd also like to share our experience that at low-income and multifamily complexes can be a success if the right methods are used. We have reduced solid waste bills by over $100,000 per year by improving recycling and decreasing garbage at our multifamily properties all around King County.”
Contact name & email: Michelle Strazis, email@example.com
King County welcomes Spiritwood at Pine Lake to its list of best Workplaces for Waste Reduction and Recycling. 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 year they introduced their green program that includes recycling and composting in all staff departments and residential areas of the community. Colored bins and instruction posters are now 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 reduced Spiritwood's garbage collection by half. They are very proud of what they have achieved so far and plan to continue to expand their green program.
Advice to others: “You are never too old to be green!”
Windsor Heights Apartments returns for its third 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 communicate with their residents to encourage recycling. They provide programs to increase awareness and also offer item exchange opportunities. This past year, Windsor Heights Apartments added additional languages to their recycling notices and postings around waste removal areas.
Epicurean Edge has a strong focus on recycling and waste prevention. They return to the list for their fifth 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.”
ECO Cartridge Store makes the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list for the eighth straight year. As a store specializing in refilling and remanufacturing ink and toner cartridges, they offer an environmentally friendly alternative to simply discarding old materials. 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: “Reusing ink and toner keeps the cartridges in circulation and out of the land fill, preventing unneeded waste.”
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 thes.
Simplicity Décor returns as a six-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.
Advice to others: “A successful recycling program requires commitment from everyone. Take small steps to encourage involvement. It is beneficial for not only the business, but the community at large.”
Cartridge World is a retailer specializing in eco-friendly ink and toner cartridges. Plastic materials are kept out of the landfill by refilling the original or remanufactured cores and cartridges, and reusing as many parts as possible. Cartridge World also encourages local schools to collect empty ink and toner cartridges. They have a zero waste business policy, and a recycling coordinator who works with staff to communicate best practices and maintain motivation.
Advice to others: “Please don't continue to throw away your empty ink and toner cartridges. Cartridge World stores will take them to recycle for you. If doing business with us, be sure to save the caps and don't write on the boxes, as we re use as much as we can. It saves us money and cuts down on waste. Be aware that you do not have to buy original manufactured cartridges for your printers and lasers. This is something the manufacturers tell customers to get them to buy their overpriced products. You will not lose your warranty.”
Eastside Community Aid Thrift Shop returns for their fourth 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, hearing aids, and plastic bags. Eastside Community Aid and 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.”
Fred Meyer in Kent makes its debut as a Best Workplace for Waste Prevention and Recycling this year. When this Fred Meyer location first opened their new building, they were set up to compact trash. Since then, they have expanded to include biodegradable composting, cardboard and plastic recycling, and fluorescent led light bulbs and Hazmat collection. They have come a-long way and have made many improvements. Their monthly and year-to-date figures for compostable materials have been steadily climbing. In addition to recycling and composting, they have a donation program in place that includes seasonal items, furniture, clothing, and household items and also has a daily food bank pickup. They have a team that is dedicated to the environment and excited about doing their part to help make our world a little safer for everyone.
Advice to others: “Education and follow-up are important keys to success.”
Keeney’s Office Supply returns for their fourth year as a 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.
Since last year, Keeney’s has completely retrofitted their warehouse lights, resulting in a 20 percent decrease in energy consumption. They are also part of the Green Power program with PSE, where their contributions helped avoid the release of carbon dioxide emissions. They also planted over 200 trees to help offset their own carbon footprint from the previous year.
Advice to others: “Seek out local partnerships to help in your waste “distribution”. As they say, and as we have found by experience, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”
Simplicity ABC returns for its third 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. This past year, Simplicity ABC was very conscious on choosing business partners that believe in recycling. They increased the number of products that were made from recycled materials and added a reusable shopping bag program with incentives to customers who participated. They also primarily use electronic storage for files and document sharing to reduce paper waste. Simply ABC believes that in doing their part, they can encourage other businesses to focus on waste prevention and recycling.
Advice to others: “Pick one or two practices at a time and focus on them so you will not feel overwhelmed. Continual commitment and attention is necessary for success.”
T-Mobile, USA, Inc.'s King County locations return for their fourth year as Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling. Recent changes include offering classes for employees on recycling at their Field Support Center and agreeing to industry guidelines that will reduce the environmental impact of their packaging by 10 percent or more by 2016. This could include some measure of recycled or certified paper packaging in the packaging, internal tray and the internal printed material. Additionally, in 2013 T-Mobile made significant investments in their network to dramatically increase efficiency, thus consuming less energy per customer.
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 third 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 reduces paper waste by making it a policy to not send any flyers out through the mail. The Bellevue location will also be the first Whole Foods to use a composting machine. Their dedicated “green mission” team meets monthly to ensure all departments are recycling and preventing waste where they can.
Noetix Corporation returns for the sixth year to the Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list, reclaiming their spot on the program’s Honor Roll. The software company based in Redmond is celebrating the seventh 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. Noetix also composts all food scraps and corn-based plates, bowls and utensils. They also work with their events committee to host zero waste company picnics. 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 fourth time on King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling list this year. They continue to drive toward zero waste by expanding the trash sorting operation currently in place, and changing behavior to reach this goal. This program diverts 82 percent of every trash bag’s contents. In addition, a waste minimization pilot at one café was completed, with before and after waste audits run over seven weeks. Interactive educational outreach were used, such as posters, onsite educators, and filled glass cylinders containing common waste stream items above each receptacle. Smaller sized trash bins are used next to larger compost and recycle bins to also encourage proper sorting of waste at initial disposal. This pilot project resulted in approximately 140 pounds of waste per week being diverted from the landfill.
Advice to others: “Microsoft has found that changing people’s behavior through effective communication is key to keeping recyclables out of the landfill. Visible labeling and interactive education were used in communicating changes to the varied campus population. Effective outreach can make a difference in diversion rates.”
Port of Seattle – Sea-Tac International Airport returns to King County’s Best Workplaces for Waste Prevention and Recycling as an Honor Roll member. Sea-Tac International 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. As a result, the airport diverted over 1,900 tons of waste from landfills in 2013. In 2013, the airport launched a new program to capture liquids generated from our security check points as a result of TSA's ban on liquids over five ounces. These liquids often end up contaminating recycling. Through this program, the airport captures one 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: “Reducing waste to landfills requires working with stakeholders throughout the supply chain. From procurement, to use, to disposal of a product there are many different stakeholders. Engaging with each of them, addressing their concerns, and providing them with ownership over a positive outcome makes all the difference in the success of a waste reduction and recycling program.”
Updated: Jul. 23, 2014