Picture taken by Kim Clark, 2009

Hazardous Waste & Toxics Reduction

Governor's Award for Pollution Prevention and Sustainable Practices

2001 Winners

A-1 Builders, Inc. is a remodeling contractor in Bellingham that uses The Natural Step as the framework for its sustainability program. A-1 reuses and recycles existing building materials from structures demolished at the outset of a project, minimizes the use of new materials, and turns to sustainably-harvested materials whenever possible. It protects the health & safety of its workers by using non-toxic and biodegradable vegetable oil products for concrete forms. It designs projects to reduce their ecological footprints and educates its clients to remodel responsibly. A-1 strives to be a model for its community, for example, by using the Honda Insight as its bidding vehicle, using a point-of-use water heater in the office, and xeriscaping its property.


Bemis Company of Vancouver has been making multi-wall paper bags since 1858. Bemis completely removed toluene, isopropyl alcohol, mineral spirits, methyl-ethyl ketone, lacquer thinner, and tetrachloro-ethylene from its facility, doing so without shifting the risk to other hazardous wastes. Instead, it uses citrus-based cleaners and parent substances that don't require toxic solvents for cleanup. Bemis' UV Overcoat Process eliminates VOC discharges. New wastewater filtration equipment and wash-up stations extract heavy metals and recycle water, reducing annual wastewater discharge from 1.5 million pounds to only 25,000 pounds. It recycles used film negatives by stripping the silver nitrate off the mylar. All the lubricating oils are recycled. Inefficient lighting has been completely replaced, PCBs removed, and the energy bill reduced by 39%. Bemis replaced the plate-making process that once used perchlor-ethylene and the solvent cyril, with an innovative process that uses non-toxic resin-based products, is aqueous-based and recycles any plate residuals 100%, producing zero hazardous waste.


Bernard Imports, Inc. is an automotive sales, service, dismantling, and recycling business from Tukwila. It is the first auto dismantler in the Puget Sound region to qualify as an EnviroStar business, earning a 5-star rating and demonstrating how the vehicle salvage process can incorporate environmental protections. Bernard Imports has a policy of immediate containment and draining of vehicle fluids. Its completely paved vehicle storage area and storm drain filters prevent runoff. Its vehicle storage racking system allows access to and continued monitoring of vehicles. Functional parts from vehicles are reused by body shops, service stations, and the general public. Bernard Imports is a leader in the auto dismantling sector, encouraging its industry peers and customers to improve their environmental practices.


Circle & Square Global Car Service is a state-of-the-art auto maintenance and repair facility in Port Hadlock. Every waste stream has been considerably reduced or eliminated, for example, through the use of recycling bins and the use of waste-oil-fired in-floor heating systems that eliminate oil disposal while reducing heating costs. It's near its zero waste goal. Circle & Square has a closed-loop wastewater reclamation system. A hazardous materials room serves both as secure storage and emergency spill containment. All fluids are stocked in bulk. Refillable shop-pressurized lubricant cans and water-based brake fluids reduce reliance on aerosol lubricants and cleaners, which in turn eliminate cans from the waste stream, and reduce emissions of CFCs and other harmful aerosols. Circle & Square educates and encourages its customers to choose environmentally-friendly alternatives for auto maintenance & repair.


DuPont Flooring Systems has is the most comprehensive carpet-recycling program in the country. To date, it has kept 65 million pounds of carpet out of U.S. landfills, currently averaging 20 million pounds per year. Last year, the state of Washington recycled over 617,200 pounds of carpet through DuPont's Carpet Reclamation Program. All carpet that Dupont removes from job sites gets recycled. Its sustainability ethics inspire many innovations to ensure that its carpets can last up to 20 years. These include reclamation, rejuvenation, proper flooring installations, the use of durable fibers, and adhesives low in vapor emissions. Its product stewardship includes waste and emissions reduction, and minimizing use of depletable raw materials, energy, and transportation. DuPont is mindful of preventing injuries, illnesses, and accidental releases to the environment. DuPont reduced air toxics by over 60%, air carcinogens by over 80%, and greenhouse gas emissions from global operations by 45% in the last decade.


Inflation Systems, Inc., a major manufacturer of propellants for automobile airbags in Moses Lake, has eliminated the highly toxic compound sodium azide, from its production, use, and waste stream - and replaced it with a non-toxic compound. It reduced its hazardous waste disposal from over 1 million lbs/yr, to nearly zero. Its Wastewater Reduction Program has reduced on-site wastewater generated by 30% between 2000-2001. Motion sensors and high-efficiency lighting were installed to conserve energy. Metals, plastics, papers, and cardboard are recycled throughout the plant. Inflation Systems is ISO 14001 certified, which ensures that it practices comprehensive pollution prevention, and carries out these standards in its employee training and community outreach. Staff are motivated and rewarded throughout Inflation Systems' continuous improvement "Kaizen" program.


Naval Submarine Base, Bangor, host of 54 commands and the TRIDENT submarine program, is a leader in environmental stewardship through its Environmental Management System. The Base has banned all non-mission critical ozone depleting substances, extremely hazardous substances, toxic release chemicals, PCBs, heavy metals, and occupational reproductive chemicals. Over 446 tons of hazardous materials were re-issued or recycled, which resulted in a 34% reduction of hazardous waste disposal in the past 5 years. Other programs include: lead battery recycling, lead bullet capture, solid waste recycling, replacement of solvents with safer substitutes, and conversion from coal to natural gas. SUBASE Bangor recycled 55% of total refuse produced in 2000. It has reduced energy consumption by 750,000 KWh of electricity, 14,000 million BTUs of natural gas, and 7100 tons of coal. This in turn reduced total greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions by 9400 metric tons per year. These reductions earned economic benefits of nearly $1.4 million per year. SUBASE Bangor 's Annual Earth Day observance, Water for Life Cleanups, and other environmental stewardships invite participation from base employees and local community members and organizations, schools, and the Suquamish Indian Tribe. It complies with Executive Order 131048, Greening the Government through Waste Prevention, Recycling and Federal Acquisition. SUBASE Bangor received the Governor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pollution Prevention in 1998 and 1992.


Rehab the Lab is a multi-agency program that helps schools dispose of old hazardous chemicals, stabilize potentially explosive compounds and reduce hazardous waste generation. This environmental service provided to all King County middle and high schools includes on-site consultations, pollution prevention education, full cost coverage for chemical stabilization and disposal of old chemicals and hazardous wastes from schools. Rehab the Lab also provides training to help science teachers develop safer labs and compatible storage for the chemicals they will continue to use.


Siemens Solar Industries, based in Vancouver, is one of the world's largest manufacturers of photovoltaic modules, which provide power for a wide range of applications, including irrigation and refrigeration for remote villages, telecommunications, navigation aids, and traffic controls. In partnership from the NW Energy Efficiency Alliance, Siemens reduced power consumption and argon consumption, eliminated scrap silicon and quartz, and reduced chemical use. The company generates no hazardous wastes. Concurrently, Siemens increased productivity by 15% and has saved over $2 million so far in 2001. A major innovation was the development of a recharge process that transforms CZ crystal growth from an inefficient batch process to an efficient, less costly semi-continuous process. Siemens is a leader in its industry, fostering open dialogue between competing companies in its sector, and encouraging cooperative efforts to reduce energy consumption.



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