Business honored by County for recycling efforts
It often takes personal time, money and a responsible attitude to properly dispose of — and/or recycle — the various and sundry “stuff” that accumulates in our homes and offices. Batteries and electronics are especially tricky. You can’t just fling them into the trash.
Honeywell Corporation in Redmond has been named one of King County’s Best Workplaces for Recycling because “the activities Honeywell undertook this past year — hosting a recycling day for employees and finding ways to recycle items beyond the basics such as their fryer oil and now food, demonstrates a willingness for a business to actively engage in environmental behaviors that make a difference,” said Sharon Aller, spokesperson for the recycling and environmental services division of King County Solid Waste.
Each year, businesses in King County send more than 240,000 tons of recyclable materials to the landfill. By providing a recycling-friendly workplace, companies can dramatically increase their recycling rate, ultimately saving money on their garbage bill.
But also, “It’s the right thing to do,” stated Don Warner, who oversees the recycling outreach at the Redmond site which began as Sundstrand Data Control, then was AlliedSignal and is now Honeywell.
With approximately 1,000 employees and contractors, Honeywell offers many recycling initiatives that benefit their workers and the community, while promoting environmental stewardship.
Every July, the company hosts a gigantic recycling event, collecting tens of thousands of tons of old refrigerators, microwaves, televisions, computer monitors and other electronics, so that employees don’t have to pay to get rid of them.
Since 2006, Honeywell’s food service vendor, Eurest, has recycled fryer oil. As well, Honeywell triple-rinses and recycles up to 300 chemical storage containers per week. Recycling these containers has reduced the site’s hazardous waste disposal cost by about $35,000 annually, said Warner.
And recycling bins for everything from scrap paper to glass, bottles, cans, batteries, wet food waste (such as coffee grounds) and dry food waste are prominently placed throughout the Honeywell campus.
Posters and stickers denoting “what goes in which bin” are displayed to take the guesswork out of doing the right thing. As Warner pointed out, “Not everyone takes the time to look on a Web site,” but if instructions are clearly spelled out at the scene of the recycling opportunity, chances are that most employees will comply.
Within the last several months, Honeywell Redmond has also teamed with Retex Northwest’s “Go Green” program to recycle unwanted clothes, shoes, backpacks and other textiles. Retex Northwest provides recycled clothing to people in need, while reducing solid waste landfills. Even garments which are soiled or torn are accepted, to be made into rags and reprocessed into fibers for paper, upholstery and insulation materials.
Clothes that can’t be recycled can sometimes be composted for organic fertilizer. So in the end, less than five percent of the unused clothing will become solid waste.
The “Best Workplaces for Recycling” list is part of a larger King County educational campaign to encourage businesses and residences alike to recycle more.
Other Redmond businesses which made the list include Microsoft Corporation, the Emerald Heights retirement community and Accents et Cetera.
To learn more about what these businesses are doing to improve recycling participation, visit www.metrokc.gov/recyclemore.
Mary Steven Decker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (425) 867-0353.