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Picture taken by Kim Clark, 2009

Hazardous Waste & Toxics Reduction

Governor's Award for Pollution Prevention and Sustainable Practices

1999 Winners

 
Apollo Spas, located in Spokane, is a leader in pollution prevention in the fiberglass-reinforced-plastics industry. The company already has reduced its styrene emissions to the air by 99 percent - and they’re actively working to achieve "zero discharge." Apollo Spas has developed a method that is using an alternative to styrene. The company expects to recoup its investment with quicker production time, reduced environmental regulation, and reduced overhead.

Birmingham Steel Corporation, located in Seattle, is the only large-scale steel-melting and recycling facility in the State. Built in 1905, Birmingham Steel purchased the plant in 1991 and invested more than $145 million to create one of the most efficient and environment-friendly steel plants in the world. Many of the improvements helped to reduce noise and emissions in order to limit their effects on the local community. The company’s waste-reduction measures include reducing hazardous substances, recycling waste, and replacing old equipment with energy-efficient machinery that produces less waste and emissions.

Canyon Creek Cabinet Company, one of the largest kitchen and bath cabinet manufacturers in the northwest, employs about 400 workers in Monroe. Canyon Creek Cabinet Company was formerly classified as a major source of hazardous waste and emissions. Then, in 1991, the company implemented a pollution-prevention plan and adopted a goal of becoming an environmental leader. Working closely with Department of Ecology and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, Canyon Creek became the only wood-finishing company in the state to switch to water-borne products. The change greatly reduced hazardous air emissions, and avoided the requirement for a special air permit.

Eden Advanced Pest Technologies is an Olympia-based pest-management company with a pollution-prevention program that focuses on reducing pesticide use. Instead, the company focuses on inspection and monitoring, long-term preventative measures, the use of non-chemical methods as a first response, and no automatic spraying unless there is evidence of pests. Pesticides are used judiciously, only use as a last resort. Training, tools and new technology for employees are major factors in their success.

Elliott Bay Marina in Seattle is a 1,200-slip marina known for its commitment to environmental protection. In fact, Elliott Bay Marina was designed and constructed with pollution prevention in mind. The marina provides many valuable services to its clients, such as absorbent pads for use during fueling, and collecting boaters’ hazardous waste to ensure its proper disposal. Perhaps the most important service is educating boaters about pollution prevention. Efforts to educate boaters are reinforced by a zero tolerance for boaters pumping anything overboard.

EnviroStars Cooperative in King County gives businesses incentives and recognition for reducing hazardous waste, and also gives consumers an objective way to identify environmentally sound businesses. The program has grown beyond King County to include Snohomish, Kitsap and Whatcom counties, and the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. The Cooperative currently reports a total of 184 businesses that have been recognized as EnviroStars. The kind of information provided by EnviroStar is much in demand among consumers. And the publicity provided to businesses helps increase the economic value of pollution prevention measures by encouraging people to support businesses that support the environment.

Hytek Finishes Company, a Kent-based company, supplies specialized metal-finishing, anodizing and painting services. Hytek helps its customers produce a wide variety of products for aerospace, recreation, electronics and general-industrial markets. The company has a comprehensive pollution prevention program. It was the first to eliminate the use of vapor-degreasing and chlorinated solvents to clean machinery parts. It has been a leader in the drive to adopt plating technologies that do not use cyanide. Their efforts have resulted in reduced use of toxic materials and generation of waste, reduced atmospheric emissions, and water conservation. These accomplishments can be attributed to the commitment of management and full participation from employees.

Omega Pest Management, a small Bremerton company, has distinguished itself by its strong commitment to finding new, environmentally safer methods to control pests. In an industry that has traditionally relied on using toxic chemicals to terminate pests, Omega has sought to find new methods and to educate others in the industry about integrated pest management. The company removes conditions that encourage pests, uses mechanical rather than chemical methods, chooses the least-toxic product, and targets problem areas instead of an entire building. Safety for workers and customers is first priority, and harmful pesticide contamination in the environment is avoided.


 


 

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