OLYMPIA – Three Vancouver-based businesses will receive the 2007 Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention and Sustainable Practices in a ceremony at the state capitol on Oct. 9. No other city in the state had as many companies receiving this honor. The winners are among 11 companies and agencies Washington is recognizing this year for their success in moving the state towards a more sustainable future.
“These winners represent the best of the best at protecting the environment while running profitable businesses,” said Jay Manning, Department of Ecology Director. “I never fail to be impressed by the creativity and vision displayed by these award winners. They show that in Washington you can protect the environment and succeed commercially at the same time.”
The Vancouver companies receiving awards are:
Bi-O-Kleen manufactures non-toxic cleaners and detergents from soy and citrus extracts. They consider the environment in all their operations. They make their products from renewable resources and sell them in concentrated form to limit packaging.
They helped develop a national “green” standard for cleaners that use third-party systems for verification. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized them as a company that formulates cleaners and detergents with a positive environmental profile. Bi-O-Kleen has an Official Formulatory Partnership through the EPA’s Design for the Environment.
By selling the products in concentrated form, the company uses less material and gives the same amount of cleaning as other products. They save in transport and in their use of material for packaging. www.biokleenhome.com/home
SEH America, Inc.
SEH America, Inc. produces silicon wafers for computer chips. They succeeded in maintaining high quality while reducing and eliminating the use of toxic chemicals in the processing operations.
They worked with their colleagues in Japan to eliminate chromium in one wafer-making process. They replaced another process with one that does not need isopropyl alcohol. In less than four years, they went from discharging 270,000 pounds of chromium-contaminated wastewater to zero. They went from using 251,000 pounds of isopropyl alcohol to 47,021 pounds.
Each year SEH America joins Clark County to hold a hazardous waste collection day for the community. They reuse water in the facility and make sure that they don’t send any contaminated water to the Bridge Creek watershed. Their recycling rate is more than 90 percent. www.sehamerica.com/
The Holland, Inc.-Burgerville
The Holland, Inc. owns the Burgerville restaurant chain in Washington and Oregon. In their industry, they lead the way towards sustainability by conserving energy and resources, supporting local, organically raised food, and educating their customers and employees on the benefits of sustainable practices.
The Holland, Inc. buys renewable wind power credits for all of the electricity in the 39 Burgerville restaurants. Their example has led many others in the community to adopt wind power. All restaurants recycle their used cooking oil into biodiesel fuel. They are piloting a paper and food waste composting program at the Salmon Creek restaurant.
The restaurants focus on serving food that is “local, fresh and sustainable.” They buy their beef, turkey, bread, cheese, eggs, and produce from ranchers and farmers who support more sustainable practices. They won the Food Network national award for the Best Better Burger. They support their employees with a good health insurance program and have cut their turnover in half.
Overall, the state award winners reduced or even eliminated their use of toxic materials, applied key principles of sustainability, and conserved resources that otherwise would have been consumed.
They demonstrated excellence and leadership through their commitment to environmental quality and their willingness to share their knowledge of pollution prevention and sustainable practices. Sustainable practices allow a facility to meet its needs, without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
An external panel of judges selected the winners from finalists reviewed by Ecology staff. The judges are past winners, pollution-prevention experts, and representatives from business, labor and environmental groups, and academia.
For more information: Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention and Sustainable Practices website: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/GovAward/index.html
Ecology’s Web site: http://www.ecy.wa.gov