WSRA is excited to announce the 2015 Recycler of the Year Award recipients and Recycling Hall of Fame inductees! On Tuesday, May 19, we will honor nine organizations, businesses and individuals for outstanding recycling achievements at our Recycler of the Year Awards Gala Banquet at the 35th Annual WSRA Conference & Trade Show in Spokane. Recyclers of the Year and Recycling Hall of Fame inductees are chosen by a panel of WSRA members, board members, and Hall of Fame inductees. The 2015 WSRA Recyclers of the Year include these outstanding honorees:
Spring Back Mattress Recycling | WSRA Recycler of the Year – Innovation
Spring Back Mattress Recycling NW is one of the only recyclers of mattresses in Washington State and the first to provide mattress recycling at a transfer station. Spring Back’s story begins with what is arguably the only furniture bank in the state: parent nonprofit organization, NW Furniture Bank. NW Furniture Bank was founded in 2006 by Bill Lemke as a way to “restore hope, dignity and stability in our community by recycling donated furniture to people in need.” Since its start in July 2013, Spring Back is recycling about 4,000 to 6,000 mattresses per month depending on the season. In June to December 2014 alone, they diverted 655,000 cubic tons from the local waste stream, including over 190 tons of steel, 150 tons of foam, and 17.5 tons of plastic film. To learn more about Spring Back Mattress Recycling NW, contact Jeremy Simler, email@example.com or Bill Lemke,firstname.lastname@example.org.
Magnum Print Solutions | WSRA Recycler of the Year – Nucor Steel Recycling Business
Magnum Print Solutions is the largest remanufacturer of toner cartridges in the Pacific Northwest, supplying businesses throughout the region and country with toner since 1995. A basic staple for most offices, toner cartridges are comprised of 97% recyclable materials. Unfortunately most toner cartridges end up in US landfills after one use. Magnum’s mission is to reclaim, reuse and recycle cartridges, saving businesses money and the environment resources. Magnum launched a Toner Recycling Program with prominent Seattle organizations including Fred Hutchinson and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and in 2014 they worked with the University of Washington Recycling Department to collect over 8,700 pounds in materials for recycling, and reused over 7,600 pounds of materials in creating remanufactured cartridges. To learn more about Magnum Print Solutions, contact Ellen Gengler,email@example.com.
Thurston County, Waste Less Food Campaign | WSRA Recycler of the Year – Public Education
Thurston County Solid Waste’s Waste Less Food Campaign has been steadily carting food up the recovery hierarchy pyramid, starting with incorporating food into the residential and commercial yard waste collection program. Next they focused on food waste in schools. During the 2013-14 school year, Thurston County’s Food2Flowers program provided technical assistance, financial assistance, and education to 32 participating schools. These schools kept more than 160 tons of organics and recyclables out of the landfill annually, with an average lunchroom recycling rate of 89%. In addition, 12 Thurston County schools have been provided with milk dispensers and durable cups, eliminating 500,000 milk cartons a year and wasting less milk. Twenty-four schools participated in the county’s Restaurant Rescue program to collect prepared, but unserved school food to distribute to the community in partnership with the Thurston County Food Bank. Thurston County’s Waste Less Food Campaign is making a lasting and significant impact on food recovery across their community. For more information, contact Terri Thomas,firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eastern Washington University | WSRA Recycler of the Year – Higher Education
Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA has implemented a campus-wide infrastructure for recycling collection intended to maximize recycling and minimize waste. The university recently finished construction of a new recycling center and implemented a campus community education program including clinics in residential halls, student and staff trainings, social media engagement, an Earth Day fair, and public service announcements broadcast campus-wide. Through implementation of this program, EWU recorded a diversion rate of 47% of all campus waste in 2014, which is 9% higher than the previous year. Eastern also instituted a composting program that diverts more than 100 tons of food waste every year through collection and the conversion to compostable food service items. They divert 62% of all waste at home football games and tailgating lots, and 87% of waste generated in Roos Stadium, always keeping their motto of “Go Zero or Go Home!” in mind. For more information contact Scott Buck, kbuck1@ewu.
Triangle Associates | WSRA Recycler of the Year – Outreach and Education
Triangle Associates has been designing, implementing and evaluating successful waste reduction and recycling programs for more than 20 years within the Puget Sound area. Over the past three years, 90,000 students have participated in school-wide recycling assemblies created by the consulting firm. Triangle creates unique programs that educate students and their families on the importance of waste reduction and recycling and help schools set up and sustain waste reduction and recycling practices. In Snohomish County alone, the Triangle team’s Technical Assistance programs have helped over 25,000 students and teachers to turn their knowledge into action. Over the past three years, participating schools have showed, on average, an 81% increase in their recycling rate, preventing materials such as paper, plastic bottles, plastic cups, aluminum cans, and compostable materials from entering the landfill. For more information contact Jennifer Howell, email@example.com.
City of Bellevue and Bellevue School District’s Green Genius Zero Waste Cafeteria Challenge | WSRA Recycler of the Year – Youth Education
For the past three years, the City of Bellevue and Bellevue School District have issued a challenge to all elementary schools for America Recycles Day to reduce waste in the cafeteria. About 90% of elementary schools participate each year, with schools launching their own campaigns and the contest gaining momentum and competitiveness every year. In 2014, the 12 schools that participated represented over 7,000 students and staff. All the schools combined only generated a total of 15 garbage cans of trash on America Recycles Day. On average, that is a little more than one can of trash per school! Schools used a variety of methods to reduce waste, including waste reduction tips during morning announcements, sending notes and leftovers home in packed lunches for parents to see what students eat, presentations at lunch with help from students, staff becoming “recycling superheroes” and “recycling fairies” at lunch, newsletter articles for parent newsletters, posters, classroom presentations, and graphing success for the cafeteria. For more information contact, Jennifer Goodhart, JGoodhart@bellevuewa.gov.
Heather Heyer, Buy Nothing Project: Bothell | WSRA Recycler of the Year – Social Impact
Using Facebook as a platform, the Buy Nothing Project: Bothell Group promotes the concept of reusing, gifting and sharing items rather than sending old items to the landfill or buying something new. As of December 2014, there were 2,872 community members participating in BNB. The Lending Library of materials includes clothing for men, women, and children; cookbooks, recipes, and tools for the kitchen; games and party supplies; cleaning agents and appliances; and much more! BNB has become an asset to the City of Bothell recycling outreach staffers. Not only do BNB members reduce waste, they also encourage people to participate in City programs. When the City of Bothell started Sustainamania and Ecotober, they saw a jump in attendance once BNB was included and held a free boutique on site. Similarly, when the City hosted an Eco Lunch program, they found more registrations and an increase in the broadcast of the program message to local PTA groups after the program was posted to BNB. Buy Nothing Bothell founder Heather Heyer and her team of administrators truly connect their community through a grassroots effort to reduce waste. For more information contact, Heather Heyer, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lopez Island Solid Waste | WSRA Recycler of the Year – Nonprofit
The Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District (LSWDD) is a unique, volunteer-based, community managed solid waste disposal district on an Island in San Juan County. The entire community is committed to achieving a zero waste program while operating a financially self-sufficient system. LSWDD has more than 40 community volunteers that participate several times a week at the transfer station. The recycling collection system at the facility is managed like a large corporate MRF. Commodities are separated into their appropriate categories including, fibers, aluminum, metal, and various plastics, and then baled and sold on the secondary market. However, there is no sort line to pull materials off a belt. Instead, all the sorting is done by the community at the time of drop off. The LSWDD volunteers are always onsite during the operations to help guide and educate. The entire community comes together to participate in the success of their recycling program because of the hard work of the volunteers at the Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District. For more information contact, Sandy Bishop, email@example.com.
Watson Furniture Group | WSRA Recycler of the Year – Business Generator
Watson Furniture Group, Inc. in Poulsbo, WA creates and manufactures distinctive quality furniture products with a commitment to sustainable manufacturing processes that embrace recycling, reuse, reclamation, and local sourcing of raw material. Along with other sustainable components that include water and energy efficiencies, the Watson facility recycles more than 76% of their waste material. Products are protected during shipping with reusable blanket wrapping and where further protection is required, 100% recyclable honeycomb cardboard is used instead of foam. Every year 350,000 lbs of Watson sawdust is diverted from landfills and compressed into briquettes for fuel at a local paper mill. Sales staff at Watson use tablet technology instead of paper catalogs in the field. Clif McKenzie, CEO for Watson wholeheartedly embraces the concept of Practical Environmentalism and the belief that we should return the Earth in better condition than we found it. Their aggressive pursuit to minimize impact on our planet is achieved within a disciplined structure of environmental and financial accountability. For more information contact, Jess Jungwirth, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The WSRA Recycling Hall of Fame honors individuals who have made outstanding long-term contributions to recycling in Washington. The 2015 inductees include these outstanding individuals:
Marcia Rutan | WSRA Recycling Hall of Fame
As the Recycling Manager with Seattle Public Utilities, Marcia has led the City of Seattle multi-family composting and recycling program since 2007. She has 25 years of experience in local government with recycling and composting programs and served on a statewide team to survey, analyze, and communicate best practices for multi-family recycling and food waste collection. Marcia also initiated the statewide Washington Green Schools program and has coordinated the design process, pilot program, and launch of the entire program. Additionally, she provided funding and counsel for Seattle school outreach and the first Seattle Washington Green School Summit. Marcia has been a frequent WSRA presenter and involved member, and will present on multi-family diversion at the 2015 WSRA Conference. Marcia is planning on retiring during the summer of 2015.
Bob O’Neal | WSRA Recycling Hall of Fame
Bob O’Neal, former president of Corporate Recycling Services (CRS), has been involved in commercial waste reduction and recycling since 1983, developing recycling programs for drug stores, distribution centers and the corporate offices. In 1990 he developed a Comprehensive Waste Reduction and Recycling Program Pay ‘n Save. By 1991 Pay ‘n Save was recycling 92% of their solid waste chain-wide at the 125 stores, offices and distribution centers. Corporate Recycling Services clients have won 21 statewide Environmental Excellence Awards, including Nalley’s, Trident Seafoods, Brown & Haley, Westmark, Weyerhaeuser, and Sea-Tac Airport in 2003. The SW King County Chamber of Commerce named CRS “Outstanding Small Business of 2000.” In 2004, the City of Seattle contracted with CRS to form a program to help large businesses divert substantial amounts of waste and reduce disposal costs. This is now Seattle’s “Recycle Smart” program. Before retirement, Bob was very involved in WSRA over the years, serving on the Board of Directors and several committees.
Dick Lilly | WSRA Recycling Hall of Fame
Dick Lilly provided progressive policy leadership to the citizens of Seattle and beyond for over ten years during his time working for Seattle Public Utilities. His work in waste prevention, product stewardship, and resource conservation demonstrate his impact on our consumer-based society and how individuals view waste in their daily lives. Dick has provided an intelligent, informed presence while representing the City of Seattle on the Northwest Product Stewardship Council, Sustainable Packaging Coalition, US Composting Council and several other like-minded organizations. Dick’s work in creating policy and providing direction for Seattle allowed for some of the largest reductions in waste, and according to his colleagues, the legacy he leaves is not a metric that represents diversion or recycling tonnage, but it is a legacy of how to live our lives in a more thoughtful and deliberate manner that will save uncountable tons for generations to come. Dick retired in March 2015.
Congratulations to all 2015 Recycler of the Year Award Recipients and Recycling Hall of Fame Inductees.
For more information about the WSRA conference and awards presentation, visit www.wsra.net.