Business

Making the green grade: Valley companies make King County top recyclers list

UPS Store staff Shawn Keller, Craig Hale and Andrew Sypher carry packing materials and cell phones that the Snoqualmie business collects for recycling. The UPS Store was among three local businesses named to the county Best’s Workplaces for Recycling list. - Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record
UPS Store staff Shawn Keller, Craig Hale and Andrew Sypher carry packing materials and cell phones that the Snoqualmie business collects for recycling. The UPS Store was among three local businesses named to the county Best’s Workplaces for Recycling list.
— image credit: Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record

Three local companies are among King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction list for 2010.

Snoqualmie area honorees included The UPS Store, Philips Oral Healthcare and the Summit at Snoqualmie.

The list recognizes businesses with exceptional recycling programs and for their commitment to reducing the amount of waste their company produces.

“Given the state of the economy in 2010, we know businesses need to capitalize on every opportunity to lower their operating costs,” said Karen May, project manager with the King County Solid Waste Division. “It could be as simple as setting printers to default to double-sided pages, reducing waste and cutting down on paper expenses. Other businesses have found that by consistently recycling more, they can downsize their dumpster and save on their garbage bill.

UPS Store

Snoqualmie’s UPS Store collects materials that used to wind up in the trash and sends them on for a second career. The store accepts packing peanuts, bubble wrap, used printer cartridges and old cell phones for recycling.

Owner Craig Hale said packing materials don’t take much damage in use, so they can be used again and again.

Most customers know about the service, and he is fine with drop-offs.

Once bins and boxes fill up, cell phones and cartridges are sent off for processing.

The green practices don’t require any sacrifice on the business’s part, other than providing room for storage.

“I’m more than happy to do it,” Hale said. “It makes sense for us.

“I don’t know that we’re making a huge impact,” he said. “But it does bug me to see peanuts out by the Dumpster.”

Summit lodge

From pop cans to fryer grease, the Summit resort recycles as much as possible. This is the third year for the lodge to receive the award.

“We are definitely honored to earn this award for the third consecutive year,” said Summit spokeswoman Holly Lippert. “We love working and playing in the mountains, and want to preserve this special and fragile part of our planet so that future generations may enjoy it too.”

The resort has a dedicated recycling coordinator who maintains recycling areas while helping identify areas to do more.

“King County has mentioned this role more than once as a reason we continue to make the list,” Lippert said.

Stronger practices

“We encourage businesses to take an honest look at what their waste is costing them,” May said. “They might just find that a stronger recycling and waste reduction program makes good economic sense.”

Last year, businesses in King County sent more than 200,000 tons of recyclable materials to the landfill. Surprisingly, the commercial waste stream still contains 22 percent paper, what many consider the easiest item to recycle. At 27 percent, the largest percentage of material heading to the landfill from businesses is food scraps and food-soiled paper.

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