Accents et Cetera in downtown Redmond has been named one of King County’s “Best Workplaces for Recycling.”
Sharon Aller, spokesperson for King County Solid Waste’s recycling and environmental services department, explained why the recognition program exists: “Businesses have been recycling paper, cardboard, metals and many of the basics that we all recycle everyday. In sponsoring the Best Workplace for Recycling program, we ask that businesses meet at least ten of the criteria listed on the application. What we found this year was that most businesses meet those criteria and then some, offering unique and distinct workplace answers to waste prevention and recycling. The stories they send us about their programs are excellent models for other businesses.”
Accents et Cetera is a gift basket vendor for Microsoft and other corporations, as well as filling orders from the general public in a cozy storefront at 7945 Gilman St.
Owner Susan Huenefeld likes to use locally-made products that “show the flavor of the Northwest.” Contents might include a book about the local attractions, a Seattle rain-scented candle, garlic spreads from Sammamish-based Chez Jane, Boehm’s Chocolates from Issaquah and Beecher’s Cheese from the Pike Place Market.
Recently, a customer requested a basket with a note saying, “Since you couldn’t come see me in Seattle, I’m sending Seattle to you!” but more often, the Northwest-themed baskets are for new recruits/new hires in the local business community.
Accents et Cetera also sells baskets to celebrate new babies, anniversaries, retirements and other joyous occasions.
Huenefeld thinks giving edible gifts is already somewhat of a clever recycling idea since, “everyone eats — it’s instead of just giving more ‘stuff.’”
But the reason King County’s Solid Waste Division first contacted her about recycling in the workplace was that “we’re on the list of ‘What do you do with …?’ for the county, such as where people can get rid of unwanted styrofoam packing peanuts or bubble wrap. We’ll always accept clean packing materials,” she said.
Aller noted, “For Accents et Cetera, never having to purchase new packing materials and pursuing a line of gift baskets that do not use cellophane — while at the same time, searching for a biodegradable cellophane — was very impressive.”
Huenefeld also showed us a type of eco-friendly basket wrapped in a reusable jute bag.
Additionally, at Accents et Cetera, a recycling bin sits next to the computer printer, they use printer paper with recycled content and do double-sided printing. They donate surplus food to Hopelink’s food bank before it expires, and in their own tiny kitchen, use real dishes and flatware instead of disposable, even if it means taking them home to wash.
And tucked into every gift basket they ship is a note asking recipients to “please reuse, recycle or give away the packing materials utilized in shipping.”
No one can force the consumer to be kind to the environment, but helping to educate the public about recycling and leading by example are also ways to reduce costs of garbage disposal, Huenefeld concluded.
For more information about Accents et Cetera, call (425) 883-0189 or 1-800-481-3158 or visit www.accentsetc.com. The shop is open Monday-Saturday and you can pick up individual gift items as well as gift baskets.
Mary Stevens Decker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (425) 867-0353, ext. 5052.