Picture taken by Kim Clark, 2009

Hazardous Waste & Toxics Reduction

Governor's Award for Pollution Prevention and Sustainable Practices

2000 Winners

Aldercrest Auto Rebuild, a Lynnwood auto-body shop, seeks out new products and processes that improve environmental protection and worker safety while maximizing product quality, and cost savings. The business works with suppliers and new processes to significantly reduce hazardous substances used and hazardous waste generated. They are pioneers in new technology use, such as computerized paint mixing. They buy paint that contains no lead and minimal amounts of chromium, and invested in equipment that greatly reduces solvent use and disposal costs, and reduces worker contact with the chemicals.

Boeing Aircraft and Missiles Group, a metal finishing plant in Kent, installed a reverse-osmosis system to recycle wastewater. This "double-pass" system allows 85 percent of contaminated wastewater to be recycled, saving 95,000 gallons of water per day or 35 million gallons per year. This system succeeded in reducing water usage, sanitary sewer discharges, hazardous materials usage, and hazardous waste generation. These changes saved the company about $300,000 per year, and the cost of the system was returned in only 10 months.

Fairchild Air Force Base received the Governor’s Award in 1998, but its efforts did not stop there. According to Fairchild’s pollution prevention program, environmental protection is the responsibility of each employee on the base. Sustainability has become a regular business practice there. They:

  • limit the purchase of products containing toxic chemicals;
  • reduce use of pesticides by using an integrated pest management plan;
  • recycle fuel filters (and we’re talking about filters that are more than four feet tall and 10 inches wide);
  • use low-mercury fluorescent lights; and
  • promote energy conservation projects and transportation alternatives.

GM Nameplate, Inc., of Seattle, is an industry leader working with large-format digital printing, which uses a fraction of the solvents needed for screen printing. Other waste-reduction successes at GM Nameplate include extending the life of photo-processing chemicals, switching to recycled acetone, and switching to ultraviolet-curable ink. GM Nameplate is located in an urban area, and their efforts to be a good neighbor include offering an "open house" plant tour to people in the neighborhood -- showing off that it can be done "right."

Habitat – Spokane and The Builders Surplus Store have succeeded in reducing waste, promoting the local economy, and improving the community. Each year, the companies take damaged or surplus landfill-bound building materials equivalent to 411 homes and redirected them, allowing low-income families an opportunity to build or improve their homes. Working with two employees and 50 volunteers, they receive donated materials to construct "Habitat for Humanity" homes or sell to people in the community at greatly reduced prices.

In Harmony Organic Based Landscape Services is a Woodinville company that specializes in low environmental impact landscaping relying on practices that promote plant health, and minimize pest problems and the need for pesticides and synthetic chemicals. Their methods include designing landscapes that have the right plant in the right place, using good soils, promoting natural lawn care and avoiding pesticide application by using plant health and integrated pest management methods. Company owners and their employees are passionate about protecting the health of the planet. Their company growth is demonstrating the success of these highly effective and commercially desirable techniques. Their sales brochures, fact sheets and newsletters all promote their approach, and they have given presentations to garden clubs, professional associations, conferences and students.

Klickitat Public Utility District is being awarded for its gas-to-energy plant at the regional landfill in Roosevelt, Washington. The power plant has made one of the state’s smallest PUD’s a regional leader in green-power generation. This plant makes productive use of methane, a natural byproduct of waste decomposition and a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more destructive than carbon dioxide. Eighty percent of the methane produced by the landfill is captured to make clean energy, at half the cost of other renewable energies.

RE Sources and The RE Store is a non-profit environmental education organization. Its activities include operation of the RE Store, in Bellingham and Seattle. It accepts "used but usable" building materials from the public, such as lockers and carpets from the Kingdome. Through the RE Store, more than 1.5 million pounds of materials are diverted from untimely disposal each year. RE Sources works with county and state government on environmental education programs for schools, businesses and the community. It also provides opportunities for active citizen involvement. Most recently, RE Sources has been a highly effective voice for increased pipeline safety.

SEH America, Inc., manufactures silicon wafers in Vancouver. With programs in place such as environmental awareness training for new employees and a comprehensive Environmental Management System to identify goals and strive for continuous improvement, it’s commitment to environmental protection is clear. Recently, they achieved a 10 percent reduction in water use, amounting to 244 gallons of water saved per minute. In addition, S.E.H. America recycled more than two million pounds of solid waste in 1999, saving the company more than half a million dollars in disposal costs.

Sleeping Lady conference and retreat center in Leavenworth was originally a Civilian Conservation Corps camp built in 1939. Harriet Bullitt purchased the property in 1991, and it became a meeting facility that complements the natural environment and shares sustainable-development information through the Internet, newsletters, and published articles. In order to minimize impact, Sleeping Lady re-used original structures, preserved all trees, used native plants for landscaping, and selected environmentally friendly construction products, such as water-based paints and recycled-material decking. Other examples of sustainable practices are the use of cotton bed sheets made without formaldehyde, a pool disinfected with ozone and bromine instead of chlorine, and meals prepared with produce organically grown on the premises.

The McGregor Company, an agricultural business in Colfax, sells fertilizer, equipment and chemicals, and promotes water and soil stewardship programs to farmers. The McGregor Company fosters close working relationships with growers, researchers and government agencies. For example, they initiated a program to promote careful use of chemicals called "Every Drop Counts." The company manufactures equipment that enables farmers to reduce field tilling and precisely place fertilizer. These steps have helped to reduce soil erosion and water pollution, reduce diesel fuel consumption, and achieve better returns.


The Governor's Award for Sustainable Practices is now the Safer Chemistry Champion Awards.