Clean Cart Challenge Prize Patrol visits Keeney’s Office Supply, one of Redmond’s best recyclers

Waste Management's Clean Cart Challenge Prize Patrol paid a visit to Keeney's Office Supply on July 15, bearing gifts of $150 and a plaque lauding the company as one of Redmond's most exemplary recyclers.

Lisa Keeney McCarthy (left)

Waste Management’s Clean Cart Challenge Prize Patrol paid a visit to Keeney’s Office Supply on July 15, bearing gifts of $150 and a plaque lauding the company as one of Redmond’s most exemplary recyclers.

The Clean Cart Challenge asks Waste Management customers throughout many local communities, including Redmond, Kirkland, Bothell and unincorporated King County, to take a second look into their garbage bins and notice items that could be recycled instead of dumped. Customers who pare down their trash and fill recycling carts are eligible to win gift cards valued at $50 for a residence, $5 per residential unit for an apartment or condominium complex or $150 for a business.

Plus, on an ongoing basis, community members who consistently recycle pay less for garbage disposal because recyclable items are picked up free of charge in the City of Redmond.

Keeney’s Office Supply promotes green practices at its own workplace and also guides its customers toward products and practices that reduce waste and in most cases, save money, too.

“We are dedicated to supplying customers with green office products and services while ensuring we are participating in the same program within our office environment. Otherwise, we are not walking the talk,” explained Lisa Keeney McCarthy, president of Keeney’s Office Supply. “Just like changing your eating habits to lose weight, it has to be a lifestyle change — or in the business sense, it has to be a cultural change. Everyone needs to be on board to make a difference.”

Keeney McCarthy took the Redmond Reporter, visitors from Waste Management and Stacey Auer, the City of Redmond’s recycling program administrator for a quick tour of the company, pointing out green features along the way.

They use recycled paper from a local supplier and ask employees to make double-sided copies. They both use and sell furniture made from recycled products. They also have connections with companies that can refurbish old office furniture with environmentally safe products.

“There’s no reason for something that was made to last forever to be put into the ground, into a landfill,” said Steve Sterne, general manager for Keeney’s Office Supply.

Keeney’s also recycles all of its cardboard and shipping pallets and collects and redistributes Styrofoam packing peanuts to green-minded consumers.

“Reusing is the most efficient form of recycling,” Keeney McCarthy noted.

Through these and other Earth-friendly habits, “We’ve cut down from four dumpsters to two,” she marvelled. “It’s a fun challenge. I’ve been asking everyone, ‘Can we go to one?'”

Keys to success include making green habits a standard part of employee training and also placing recycling carts in convenient locations so that using them imposes no extra effort and becomes second-nature, Sterne added.

As for serving customers and steering them toward green products, Sterne said that Keeney’s will honor requests from those who insist, “Don’t show me green. I just want whatever is cheapest.”

However, said Ambert Fillhart, marketing and customer service manager at Keeney’s, “I love seeing the shift in thinking, with many who do want to go green and are changing their ways.”

The general public is getting more savvy, agreed Katie Salinas, public sector manager for Waste Management.

Salinas pointed out, “Cost used to be the first question … but plain Post-It notes cost less as well as being more green than the fancy, neon-colored ones.”

Said Keeney McCarthy, “The upside of an economy that is not so great is that people are sharing supplies, trading off, trying to use up what they have. It seems funny that we are in the business of selling office supplies and telling people not to buy more (than they need). But in the long run, it makes sense for everybody.”

Auer commented, “The City of Redmond is excited to partner with Waste Management on the Clean Cart Challenge. Our citizens do a great job of recycling and this program will provide an incentive to recycle even more.”

Are you ready to turn your home or business into “Green Acres?” Here’s how to do it and maybe score a reward in the process.

“We encourage customers to prepare for the Clean Cart Challenge by downloading recycling guidelines from our Web site at www.northwest.com/cleancartchallenge,” said Salinas. “Review these guidelines to learn about all of the materials you can place in recycling and then take a good look at your garbage. You may be surprised at what you can shift to the recycling cart.”

The Clean Cart Challenge continues through the end of August.

The City of Redmond, in partnership with Waste Management, also has a program called “Donuts to Dollars.” Any business can request free advice from a recycling expert, who will bring a box of doughnuts to the office and chat about ways to save money on garbage disposal. To learn about that program, call (425) 556-2832 or e-mail Stacey Auer at slauer@redmond.gov.

Keeney’s Office Supply is located at 15020 NE 95th St. in Redmond. For more information, visit www.keeneys.com.

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