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Kitsap County Announces Earth Day Award Winners

Monday, April 14, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lindsay Kittleson
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Kitsap County announces Earth Day Award


(Port Orchard, WA)  The annual Earth Day Awards presentation takes place Monday, April 14 at 5:30 p.m. The awards are presented as part of the Board of County Commissioners regular televised meeting at the Kitsap County Administration Building in Port Orchard.

Solid Waste Division 2014 Earth Day Awards-The 2014 Solid Waste Division Earth Day Awards are presented to individual citizens, organizations, schools, and businesses for their innovative environmental programs or projects. Nominations were sought for exemplary environmental leadership qualities in programs or projects emphasizing sustainability, waste reduction, recycling, and hazardous waste management. These outstanding achievers make a difference with their choices, and lead the way as they make others aware of environmental issues.

Best Hazardous Waste Management Program
Tuna Graphics
Tuna Graphics, Inc. is a leader in the garment decorating industry, offering commercial in-house screen printing, embroidery, and promotional products. In 1985 the company began as a home based business but quickly became a commercial presence in the Poulsbo area.

They have significantly improved their internal processes to reduce hazardous waste and implemented best management practices. Focusing on water usage and waste reduction in the screen printing operation, two 1,100 gallon holding tanks and a small filtration unit were installed. These improvements significantly cut their water usage and lowered hazardous process water disposal costs. With new technology and new products evolving, the company continually researches the chemicals used in their operation. As a result, fewer chemicals are used and some are replaced with more environmentally friendly ones. 

They have completely eliminated commercial ink degradients used in reclaiming screens, by using a solvent that is recycled. By changing their practices they create a safer environment by using alternatives to hazardous products. Tuna Graphic sets the bar as an industry leader, and has helped the screen printing industry as a whole move forward.

Waste Wi$e @ Work Business of the Year
Kitsap Bank
The Waste Wise @ Work program is a voluntary technical assistance and recognition program for businesses with outstanding waste reduction and recycling practices. Kitsap Bank branches started simple by setting short term goals, including recycling and reducing garbage, reducing paper usage, purchasing recycled content products, and employee education.

Kitsap Bank branches received blue recycling containers and signage for each branch. They set up recycling services and as a result, Kitsap Bank branches were able to reduce garbage dumpster sizes. “We realized we were not recycling as much as we could and that we were using a lot of paper”, President and COO Anthony George said. “We wanted to make sustainable changes in our business model and walk the talk. In the end, we realized that being sustainable helps cut costs.” 

Employee education was tackled by the “G Team”, a team of thirty individuals throughout the bank. Meetings covered ways to educate staff, updates on achievements, and goal setting. “G Team” members solicited ideas and feedback from staff and subcommittees were created to tackle special issues. The Paper Reduction Committee held a contest for each branch to reduce copies and top branches received gift baskets for staff. Another subcommittee focused on green procurement; accomplishing the switch from 0% recycled content paper to 100% recycled content. “We have accomplished a lot and want to continue to be a community leader with new ideas”, said Vice President Emily Olsen. “We know that sustainability is smart business”.

Partner in Environmental Education
Olalla Elementary
Olalla Elementary students have been releasing salmon into Olalla creek for over 25 years, letting loose over 1.75 million Chum and Coho into the stream. “The more ownership the kids have with the stream, the better they treat the stream”, said lead teacher Greg Guariz. Students, teachers and parents painted a 10’ X 50’ salmon mural at the school. This led to an increased awareness and community support of the connection between the students and the salmon in Olalla Creek. Parent Jennifer Edwards brought the idea of a rain garden to the school’s attention.

In partnership with the Kitsap County Conservation District, planning began and a Rain Garden was installed. Teresa Brooks with the Conservation District said, “I really enjoyed working with Olalla Elementary. Second grade teacher Lisa Wickens organized a school grounds committee, made the initial contact, and kept the ball rolling. Principal Charlotte Flynn was eager to incorporate the rain garden into the school curriculum and allow all grade levels to get involved. This will benefit the students as they learn about the importance of stormwater management, drinking water, and native plants. It is a win-win for everyone.” 

Under the guidance of custodian Scott Hansen, Olalla also successfully recycles food waste in the lunch room and has a robust recycling program that encourages students and staff to take responsibility for reducing waste going to landfills. Lisa Wickens said, “Involving the students in so many projects creates a sense of environmental accountability in our children. Ultimately this leads to more careful use of resources and more responsible actions with reducing, reusing, and recycling materials instead of just throwing them away and creating more waste.” 

Adopt-A-Road Volunteers
Lynn and Rosy Johnson
Do you find yourself picking up litter as you take your morning walk? Does seeing litter on the side of the road in your neighborhood leave you feeling appalled? Lynn and Rosie Johnson of Bremerton were asking themselves the same questions and found a solution by joining the Kitsap County Adopt-A-Road program. The Adopt-A-Road Program offers individuals, service groups, and other community groups – including local businesses – an opportunity to volunteer their time to help keep Kitsap County clean. Volunteers receive safety training, safety equipment, litter bags, and free disposal for roadside cleanup activities. Lynn and Rosy Johnson joined the program in March 2006. Together they have logged 1,779 hours, removed 2,821 pounds of litter, and cleaned up 824 miles of roadway.

They routinely keep a large portion of the Navy Yard City area clean, and don’t mind being our “poster-children”, with their photo displayed on our promotional litter bags. In 2014, Kitsap County added a new recognition component to the program, “be green and be seen”! Volunteers who meet the program’s annual cleanup commitment and wish to show off their adopted road are recognized with an Adopt-A-Road sign. As Lynn and Rosy continue their efforts today, we acknowledge them with a sign of their time. 

Waste Wi$e Kitsap
Kitsap County Parks Department
Recycling rode into the 2013 Kitsap County Fair and Stampede when the Parks Department received a grant from Keep America Beautiful and the Alcoa Foundation to implement recycling and composting systems. The project goals were to create sustainable recycling and composting systems at special events, and to introduce recycling and composting to a wide variety of people. The project could not have succeeded without the Kitsap County Fair and the Kitsap County Solid Waste Division’s administrative and maintenance staffs to coordinate event preparation and provide expert knowledge of the facilities. 

The main strategies for success were conveniently located recycle containers and visible signage. Motivating vendor participation by handing out green ribbon awards, volunteers circulating among compost bins and recycling containers, and the use of “Recycle Here” flags to attract attention were also instrumental. AmeriCorps volunteers and county staff hosted an education booth focused on “Get Caught Recycling at the Fair”. With help from “Betty the Bottle” mascot, recycle containers were frequently monitored for observational research. By reducing their garbage and recycling 2.5 tons of aluminum cans, plastic bottles and cardboard boxes, 10.6 tons of fats, oils and grease, and composting .04 tons of food waste the fair achieved a 38.8% recycling rate. 

Kelley Dennings with Keep America Beautiful said, “While there is much work and resource dedication needed to increase recycling and composting at fairs and similar public events, we continue to learn efficient and effective steps that can lead to improvements in waste reduction and recovery. These programs require dedicated time, knowledge and skill, but Kitsap County’s results speak to how event coordinators can make a difference!"

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 Washington State Recycling Association | 545 Andover Park W, Ste 209, Tukwila, WA 98188 | 206.244.0311 |

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