WSRA announces the 2019 Recycler of the Year Award recipients and Recycling Hall of Fame inductees. On Tuesday, April 30th, WSRA honored nine organizations, businesses and individuals for outstanding recycling achievements at our Recycler of the Year Awards Gala Banquet which is part of the 39th 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 2019 WSRA Recyclers of the Year include these outstanding honorees:
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Reuse Champion
Playback Sports opened its doors in January 2010, with the goal of getting unused sports gear out of storage, diverted from disposal, and back into circulation in the local community. Since then, Playback has diverted over 142,000 items, including putting 30,000 pieces of clothing and 12,000 pairs of shoes back in circulation. Thousands of shoes and gear have been donated to local youth through schools and athletic teams, eliminating barriers to participation in sport for countless youth. “We are proud to see a paradigm shift in attitude about used gear,” notes owner Karlan Jessen. “In the beginning, kids didn’t want to be there with their parents looking at used shoes. But once they realized the gear was clean and barely used, and that high-quality gear was more affordable, they came around. Second use has become second nature.”
Community Colleges of Spokane
WSRA Recycler of the Year ‑ Higher Education
Campus-wide, the increased recycling accessibility led to a drop in the contamination rates for both the recycling and waste streams as well as doubled the volume of recycling being collected. Anecdotally, the technical education building on the Spokane Community College campus saw one of the largest shifts in diversion rates. They regularly had a contamination rate of 75% recycling within their waste stream. After the educational and infrastructural efforts, that rate dropped to below 5%. This experiment bolstered the need for changes campus-wide, which have now been implemented and are currently being tracked. Our goal is to achieve an increase of 20% to our diversion rate within the first year of changes.
Bay Hay and Feed
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Outstanding Recycling Business
Bay Hay and Feed has been transitioning from trash and recycling, to reuse, recycling and some trash. Our goal is to reduce our trash and our recycling. We started filling up one 2 yard dumpster a week with trash 40 years ago and even though our business has grown over 400% we still fill just 1 dumpster, and that is trash from the coffee shop, the post office, a personal house, a rental and Bay Hay and Feed. Over the years we have been able to create uses mainly from packing materials that have been shipped to us, such as cardboard boxes we cut down and use as nursery boxes. We save these for a whole so we have lots when spring starts. We repurposed a house that was going to be burned down and moved it to our property that is now used as affordable rental and storage for our business. Two times a year we collect styrofoam for the community that we then bring to Seattle to be reused. We collected 90 giant bag full of styrofoam this past January. We continue to strive and educated our vendors so we have less waste to start with.
WSRA Recycler of the Year ‑ Innovation
Art Salvage is the first creative reuse center in the Spokane area serving eastern Washington and north Idaho makers of all ages. The nonprofit collects and organizes usable materials to keep them out of the waste stream and make them affordable and accessible to teachers, students, artists and makers. In 2018 Art Salvage diverted over 5 tons of creative materials from the waste stream. Like a thrift store just for art and craft supplies, the volunteer-run store is a hub for folks on a budget and makers looking for unique materials. In addition, the nonprofit promotes sustainable education through hands-on art making at local events and reuse classes at Art Salvage. Art Salvage is a 2016 SAGA (Spokane Arts Grant Awards) recipient and third place winner of the STCU/KREM2 “Who do you love” February 2019 campaign.
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Public Education
Waste Management’s innovative public education work in Snohomish County delivered impactful results again in 2018 by targeting two of the industry’s most daunting challenges: plastic film contamination in recycling and food waste. To tackle recycling contamination, Waste Management implemented a cart tagging study. The study showed a generic tag with simple messaging was more effective than a specific feedback tag, and that the generic tag reduced film in the recycling by an incredible 50%. As an innovative way to stimulate behavior change and reduce food waste, Waste Management created a food storage guide and introduced a new and engaging educational platform at farmers markets. The WM Scrap Happy Kitchen events featured a professional chef to engage market attendees and demonstrate how to use “garden overflow” and food items that are often thrown away — to make healthy and delicious food! Both the contamination study and WM Scrap Happy Kitchen demonstrated the importance of looking for new opportunities to educate, change behaviors, and make an impact. For Snohomish County, the result was cleaner recycling and new inspiration to reduce food waste. For Waste Management, this innovative programming showed the company’s commitment to changing behaviors and advancing sustainability in partnership with the County.
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Community-Based
Pairing its mission to provide employment opportunities in the community for persons with disabilities and meeting a community need, Artisans’ Recycling Program created nearly 40 jobs for persons with disabilities in Spokane in 2018. The program also helped save thousands of pounds of e-waste and other recyclable materials from ending up in the landfill. In 2018, Artisans collected more than 88,000 lbs of e-waste, and nearly 500,000 lbs of scrap metal, cardboard, batteries, and other recyclable items.
WSRA Recycler of the Year ‑ Nonprofit
In the year of 2018 Sustainable Connections provided commercial waste reduction services to 107 commercial businesses, supported 9 large events which resulted in 2,715 lbs diverted from landfill and redistributed for human consumption, diverted 1,585 yards of organic waste from landfill, captured 1,260 gallons of recyclables and provided Toward Zero Waste education to over 24,000 event attendees. Additionally, the public education campaign conducted 11 public presentations, 12 newsletters; social media outreach resulting in an estimated 66,703 impressions. The Squatch Food Waste Campaign to date has successfully recruited 24 businesses to donate their edible prepared foods to 4 different hunger relief agencies. This has resulted in over 23,000 lbs. of food being diverted to hunger relief agencies that have used the edible foods to serve over 19,000 meals to those experiencing hunger insecurity in our community. In addition, foods not fit for human consumption have been diverted to animal feed – over 10,000 lbs. of pre-consumer foods have been sent to local farmers for animal husbandry.
Individual WSRA Recycler of the Year
WSRA Hall of Fame
Jack Bradbury has been a wonderful asset to All Battery Sales and Service. He Started in March 2011 and retired in March 2019, it has been 8 groundbreaking years. In his 1st year, he more than doubled the pounds of battery recycling brought in the previous year. Within his 2nd year and the following years after, he increased the recycling pounds brought in by 6 times!!! In 2012, Jack was awarded the Environmental Excellence Award for Leading Environmental Practices, from the Association of Washington Business. In the 8 years that Jack worked at All Battery Sales and Service, the total estimated amount of pounds that he was responsible for bringing in for recycling came to 4,605,200 pounds.
WSRA Hall of Fame Inductee
Lisa Sepanski has been the energizer bunny working for several decades, often behind the scenes, to protect our environment and improve our economy through waste prevention, toxics reduction, product stewardship and responsible recycling. She has provided strategic leadership in many roles for many years and has developed many partnerships, friends and supporters along the way. She is greatly respected and appreciated for her insights, persistence, determination and commitment to stewardship and responsible management of the resources that we all depend on for the quality of our lives, and the lives of others. Her efforts have contributed to many successes for which the world is a better place. Lisa is an active WSRA board member and has served many roles, including assisting with WRED event planning, policy forums, event agendas, and the policy committee. Board members know best her various contributions.
For more information, visit www.wsra.net.