King County honors Issaquah’s top recyclers

June 24, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 a.m. June 24, 2010

Efforts to recycle batteries, toner cartridges, cooking oil and construction materials earned Issaquah agencies and businesses kudos from the King County Solid Waste Division.

The county has recognized the Issaquah municipal government, the Issaquah School District and three Issaquah businesses — Pogacha, Rowley Properties and Timber Ridge at Talus — as Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction.

The city earned plaudits for providing compostable service ware, as well as food-waste and compost collection containers, at every employee event and meeting. Staffers also recycle toner cartridges and cut unnecessary printing.

The school district encourages students and staff to recycle paper, cans, bottles, cell phones, printer cartridges, batteries, fluorescent tubes and electronic equipment. Campuses also work to reduce paper use.

The district food-service program replaced polystyrene food trays with compostable trays. In 14 schools, Green Teams coordinate food-scrap recycling. The district plans to expand the program to every school in the near future.

Pogacha started recycling cooking oil long before the practice became commonplace. The restaurant started composting food waste last year. Pogacha has cut garbage by more than half.

The eatery often offers to provide reusable platters for catered events that the customer can return to the restaurant.

“We started composting food waste last year and have had great success,” Sarah Barnes, Pogacha manager, said in a news release. “We have cut our garbage by over half, and even inspired many of our staff members to begin composting at home. We had initial resistance to this change, but the transition was really smooth, and I would suggest that any business at least give it a shot.”

Rowley Properties recycles copper, steel, brass, gypsum wallboard and lumber from every construction project, in addition to cardboard, paper, plastic and aluminum. The builder also works to reuse existing structures and fixtures — such as cabinets, doors and light fixtures — in projects.

Timber Ridge at Talus, a retirement community housed in a LEED-certified building, promotes recycling among employees and residents. The facility has a room on each floor with separate chutes for trash and recycling, and boxes for used batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and newspaper. Newspapers and recycled electronics head to AtWork! for processing.

Including the Issaquah honorees, King County recognized 75 organizations for eco efforts. Read the complete list here.

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