Print Page   |   Report Abuse
News & Press: WSRA News

WSRA Announces 2016 Recyclers of the Year & Recycling Hall of Fame Inductees

Tuesday, April 19, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Anne Piacentino
Share |

View the PDF Version with Photos

WSRA is excited to announce our 2016 Recycler of the Year Award recipients and Recycling Hall of Fame inductees! On Tuesday, May 17, we will honor 15 organizations, businesses and individuals for outstanding recycling achievements at our Recycler of the Year Awards Gala Banquet which is part of the 36th Annual WSRA Conference & Trade Show  in Wenatchee. Recyclers of the Year and Recycling Hall of Fame inductees are chosen by a panel of WSRA members, board members, and Hall of Fame inductees.

The 2016 WSRA Recyclers of the Year include these outstanding honorees:

City of Federal Way Solid Waste & Recycling Division
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Public Agency
“Go to your people” is the motto driving the City of Federal Way’s efforts to provide waste reduction and recycling education to over 90,000 residents,150 multi-family complexes, and 1,000 local business. City staff fosters community relationships to bring recycling and waste reduction messaging directly to our constituents. Highlights include community events like the Family Green Fest and monthly Green Living workshops, “in-the-field” contamination prevention feedback at residents’ doors, as well as partnering with local community and business groups to leverage our messaging. Most recently, City staff organized a team of community members to launch South King County’s first tool library, which is on target to open this summer. To learn more about the City of Federal Way Solid Waste & Recycling Division contact Jeanette Brizendine or Rob Van Orsow

Strategic Materials
WSRA Recycler of the Year - Nucor Steel Recycling Business
Strategic Materials processes recycled glass for use in a wide array of products, creating efficiencies for our customers while conserving earth's natural resources.  Glass collected at the curbside is usually commingled, meaning that different colors and types of glass are collected together. Although all glass is made of silica and soda, the type and quantity vary slightly with different types of glass. Different melting points and chemical incompatibility make it important to sort glass by type. Strategic Materials finely tuned production processes use a series of equipment to process the various types of inbound glass material to meet and exceed our customer specifications. For more information, contact Carl Quinto.

University of Washington Recycling
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Higher Education
UW Recycling oversees UW’s comprehensive Recycling & Solid Waste Management Plan, which includes waste reduction, collection and disposal. Additionally, UW Recycling facilitates administrative oversight of the University’s contracted recycling and solid waste vendors and coordinates outreach efforts tailored to educate the campus community about recycling opportunities and services, such as our comprehensive student move out programs, MiniMax, Husky Football Bluebag Outreach, RecycleMania and more! For more information, contact Emily Newcomer

Waste Management’s Garbology Action Project
WSRA Recycler of the Year - Youth Education
The Garbology Action Project high school internship provides students with a framework to understand the complexity of the recycling system and product design as a whole – from resource extraction to remanufacture, along with the tools needed to effect change with many of the system’s influencers. As part of this program, students learn about garbology, life cycle analysis, systems theory, Community Based Social Marketing program design and how to provide technical assistance for campus-based waste prevention and recycling collection systems. They completed a full waste characterization and furthermore used their findings to develop waste reduction recommendations. The internship cumulated at a public presentation in front of Principal Hedin of Alcott Elementary, Principal Cindy Duenas of Tesla STEM High school, Mary Evans, Area Director of Public Sector Solutions at Waste Management, and other teachers and parents to present their findings. The real success of this program is the way that these students took ownership of their education and applied what they learned to a real world situation. For more information, contact Sarah Vaira

Tom Watson, King County’s EcoConsumer
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Social Impact
Tom Watson founded and manages King County’s EcoConsumer public outreach program, which provides tools and resources for waste prevention, recycling and everything “green.” The latest EcoConsumer project is the free community repair program in south King County. Watson has done more than 130 regular KOMO4 TV segments and more than 200 public presentations. He also manages the popular EcoConsumer Twitter feed, and wrote the EcoConsumer column in the Seattle Times for ten years.  For more information contact Tom Watson, EcoConsumer

Green Sports Alliance
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Nonprofit
The Green Sports Alliance leverages the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities where we live and play. The organization does so by inspiring sports leagues, teams, venues, their partners and millions of fans to embrace renewable energy, healthy food, recycling, water efficiency, species preservation, safer chemicals and other environmentally preferable practices.

The Alliance launched nationally in March 2011 with six teams and five venues in the Pacific Northwest. With membership now encompassing nearly 345 teams, venues and events from 20 leagues and 14 countries, the Alliance is advising more sports entities on environmental stewardship than any other organization in the world, and is promoting zero waste strategies to all members through source reduction, recycling, composting, and food donations. In 2015, the Green Sports Alliance released the Champions of Game Day Food: Professional Sports Venues Help Advance More Sustainable Food Systems report. For more information, contact Justin Zeulner

Old School Creations
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Entrepreneur         
Local mom Regan Wong found a creative way to repurpose the contents of that long forgotten box, tucked away in a closet, filled to the brim with broken, sometimes wrapperless crayons. Wacky Crayons takes used crayons, melts them down and, using food-grade molds, crafts new, multicolored drawing tools in various shapes and sizes. Wacky Crayons was born about five years ago, when after a typical craft project of melting crayons in a muffin tin Wong's son saw a snowman mold and wanted to try melting crayons into that shape. Her younger daughter then drew a simple coloring book and that Christmas Wacky Crayons became a business of taking recycled crayons and converting them into as many shapes as they could find.  Her older children, both Liberty High School graduates, help with marketing and creating custom coloring books. The younger two, students at Maywood Middle School, get their hands dirty in helping craft the crayons. Elementary schools in the Renton school district donate crayons to Wong.  Crayons are sorted and if they are not used in the production of Wacky Crayons they are distributed to other charities such as Generation Joy, which supplies art supplies to children in Africa.  Recology CleanScapes collects crayons, as well, and sells Wacky Crayons at their retail stores in Bothell, Burien, and Issaquah. All packaging of the crayons is either recyclable or biodegradable. For more information, contact Regan Wong

Steve Kopa, NW Tub Co. & Across the Street Antiques
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Reuse      

Steve Kopa, owner of NW Tub Company & Across the Street Antiques shows the power of one person. He is one person from a small Southwest Washington city, but he has made a big impact of the earth, and its environment. In his 18 years in business, he has diverted at least 9,000 doors; 4,500 claw foot tubs; 1,800 porcelain sinks; and 36,000 windows, plus numerous other old building materials and unique gems from local landfills. He and a partner now specialize in creating garden sheds made completely from reused treasures. All tallied, these reused items have kept more than 5,400 tons from being buried forever. He sees beauty in junk and the possibilities of soon-to-be trashed debris. He shares his passion with others. Steve visited the Central Transfer Station in Centralia one day, and complained to Lewis County’s recycling coordinator that too much good material was being thrown away. They brainstormed, and came up with The Re-Use Center, where customers can drop off good, reusable items in the transfer station’s recycling center. Others can stop by and take the items for free. As we all know in County government, this concept wasn’t approved overnight, but it FINALLY got the thumbs up and diverts at least 2 tons per month from the landfill. For more information, contact
Steve Kopa

WA Veterans Home
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Institution

The Washington Veterans Home was built in 1910 in Retsil (near Port Orchard) and is located on a 31- acre bluff overlooking the Sinclair Inlet of Puget Sound. Today the Veterans Home is a state-of-the-art, facility providing a "Resident Centered Care" concept that focuses resources around the individual resident.  The Home serves 240 residents needing skilled-nursing care. Several years ago Theresa Stanton Grose, the Dietary Services Manager worked with local recycling hauler, New Day Recycling and set up comingled recycling collection and then implemented a facility wide food waste recycling effort. The facility and its leadership has displayed significant commitment, resources and perseverance in order to implement these programs as well as to properly educate staff and residents.  Theresa and the entire team at Washington Veterans home are fully committed to and passionate about diverting material from the landfill. For more information, contact
Theresa Stanton Grose

WSRA Recycler of the Year – Retail                   
Husband and wife team Tyler and Jessica Russell started Tumbleweed Bead Co. in 2002. They use only recycled metals featuring natural stones. All the eco-fabulous pieces are handcrafted in the United States in their studio space in Wenatchee, WA. Since starting Tumbleweed in 2002, Tyler and Jessica have expanded and now have their own storefront, online presence, and products in boutiques around the state. Because all materials used are recycled, the jewelry Tumbleweed creates help reduce waste, while telling the story of the value of recycled products. Customers are consistently surprised and the jewelry creates a great learning opportunity for adults and children alike.  For more information, contact Jackie Endsley

Stan’s Merry Mart
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Business Generator
Stan’s Merry Mart, an ACE Hardware store, has been in business for 69 years and is located in the City of Wenatchee (Chelan County.)  Stan’s Merry Mart is the only collector of mercury-containing lamps for the LightRecycle program for a service area of 60,000 people in South Chelan County and over 20,000 people in East Wenatchee in Douglas County.  Stan’s has been collecting lamps since January 1, 2015, the day the LightRecycle program began operating. They collect both CFLs and tubes and average 380 lbs. of lamps a month from customers in an effort to keep mercury, a toxic metal, out of the environment.   Stan’s Merry Mart got into the program because they want to be the company that the Community can count on.  Their approach to all aspects of their work is “why can’t we help people?” and that is the basis of their operations and thus their success.  For more information, contact Brandon Wright

The WSRA Recycling Hall of Fame honors individuals who have made outstanding long-term contributions to recycling in Washington. The 2016 inductees include these outstanding individuals:

Terri Thomas | WSRA Recycling Hall of Fame
Terri Thomas has been working in the solid waste industry for over twenty years, starting with the US Naval Station in Crete, Greece as an Environmental Protection Assistant. Terri worked on federal environmental protection programs, and education efforts to increase recycling and waste conservation. In addition, she worked on hazardous waste disposal, inspections and coordination of HAZMAT emergency response teams.

Landing next in Ventura County, California, Terri began her work in county solid waste departments acting as an Environmental Resource Analyst.  Implementing waste reduction programs in both the residential and business sectors, Terri also wrote weekly “Eye on the Environment” column for Ventura County Star newspaper.  

 Continuing her waste reduction career, Terri began working with Thurston County, Washington in 2006 as their Waste Reduction Supervisor. Leading a team of six amazing Waste Reduction Specialists, Terri worked on facilitating and promoting the addition of food waste to the Thurston County organics stream, the facilitation of the Food2Flowers and Food Recovery programs as well as establishing single stream recycling across the county. In addition, she designed and promoted the database and implemented Thurston County Sustainability Policy.

As of March 2016, Terri decided to pack it all up in a reusable bag and retire. She plans on using the extra time during her retirement to camp, garden, travel, run, foster bulldogs, volunteer at the local dog shelter, enjoy morning coffee on the deck with her husband and take an occasional nap.

Terri Washburn | WSRA Recycling Hall of Fame
As the education/outreach coordinator for Kitsap County Public Works, Solid Waste, Terri brought recycling, waste reduction, and hazardous waste programs to all levels of residents – preschool through seniors. During her tenure at Kitsap County, the department developed high visibility displays and literature about the collection system, landscaping, composting, and worm bin techniques, hazardous waste and green cleaning, and recycling and waste reduction.

Her work on the South Kitsap School District Board of Directors gave her a great insight into emerging curricular changes which led to the development of lesson plans aligned to Washington State learning standards. To further support classroom efforts, she was instrumental in developing SEEK (Sharing Environmental Education Knowledge) which brought together all areas of Public Works as well as the PUD, City staff, water districts, and other local environmental groups to coordinate and publicize free opportunities such as a lending library for teachers, local field trips, hand on activities, and presentations to give residents a better understanding of the consequences of their actions and the solid waste system.

Terri also served as the Washington State coordinator for America Recycles Day working with businesses and statewide local coordinators to highlight recycling and waste reduction to state and local lawmakers. After 15 years of involvement in local and state educational efforts, Terri retired in 2005 and relocated to Las Vegas, NV to be close to her granddaughters.

Jim Wavada | WSRA Recycling Hall of Fame
Jim Wavada is a retired environmental planner who was with the Spokane office of the Washington State Department of Ecology until his retirement on March 1, 2016.  Jim started his work with Ecology in 1990.

Over a career of 28 years, Jim organized, facilitated or contributed to many projects designed to encourage sustainable values and behaviors in local governments and businesses operating in Eastern Washington.  Recycling was a key element in nearly all of these projects. In his work with local governments, Wavada organized two summit meetings of local governments in Eastern Washington to address the unique recycling challenges of Washington state’s more remote rural communities. Jim also served on Ecology’s internal Sustainability Team from its inception and worked with that team to identify and promote opportunities to encourage more recycling of more materials within Ecology.

Jim is a Spokane native and a two-time graduate of Eastern Washington University with a dual BA in Journalism and Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a special emphasis on Public Finance. He is a Certified Sustainable Building Advisor and worked to create comprehensive trainings in sustainable design and construction that are now used by hundreds of designers and builders in the Spokane area now know how to design recycling into their construction projects and building operations. Jim also helped establish the Inland Chapter of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, and has served on the organization’s board of directors. 

Now, Jim can be reached at any of the hundreds of great places to fish or golf in the Pacific Northwes
t. It might be hit and miss.  You know how retired people are. They sometimes forget to wear a watch or carry a cell phone.

Congratulations to all 2016 Recycler of the Year Award Recipients and Recycling Hall of Fame Inductees! For more information about the WSRA conference and awards presentation, visit or call 206-244–0311. Award applications are available each November at


The Washington State Recycling Association (WSRA), formed in 1976, provides leadership, networking, advocacy and education to foster the expansion, diversity and economic vitality of recycling in support of sustainable resource management. Its 280 member organizations and over 700 individual members include private, community and government recycling agencies, generators of recyclables, collectors, processors, transporters, broker, commodity markets, recycled content product manufacturers, and others.  Contact Washington State Recycling Association, 206-244-0311,




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

Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal