An eco-friendly workplace
“ Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition. ” — Abraham Lincoln
Operating a sustainable business has its own rewards. Being worthy of recognition is certainly one of them. Recently PCC again was recognized as a “Best Workplace for Recycling and Waste Reduction” by the King County Solid Waste Division (SWD). Sixty-five organizations made the 2009 list and, for the third consecutive year, PCC is the only grocery retailer.
Best Workplace criteria
To be named a “Best Workplace” by SWD, an organization must be located within King County, Wash., outside the city of Seattle, meet five required criteria, and follow at least 10 optional ones from a list of recycling, waste reduction and other environmental practices.
Required criteria are:
- Recycles paper, cardboard, plastic, metal.
- Recycling bins located next to desks, printers, fax machines or cashiering areas, next to waste baskets, and scattered throughout common areas.
- Indoor recycling bins and outdoor dumpsters are large enough, and plentiful enough, to accommodate all accepted recyclables.
- “How to” labels or posters are prominently displayed on or near recycling bins.
- New employees are oriented into the recycling program when hired.
Optional criteria include a variety of easily implemented practices including placing bins for paper, plastic, glass and cans in break rooms, kitchens and cafeterias; collecting food scraps for off-site composting; establishing a “reuse” station for common office items such as file folders, envelopes and binders; programming printers and copiers to print and copy double-sided pages; and furnishing offices with items that are used, recycled or made with recycled materials.
The PCC workplace
PCC operates three stores in King County, outside of Seattle city limits, but all nine PCC stores adhere to the required criteria. Of the optional practices on the “Best Workplace” list that practically apply to a retail grocery business, three-fourths are followed at PCC. Not on the list are several other eco-friendly practices in place including: floor cleaning with soapless scrubbers (manufactured by the Tennant Company) that electrify plain tap water and turn it into a powerful, chemical-free solution; organic soap (from Oregon Soap Company) in all kitchens and restrooms; and no plastic shopping bags given at check out.
Some new initiatives are on the horizon, too. The PCC human resources department is replacing all employee name badges, currently made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, with aluminum, recyclable ones. The PCC graphics department has sourced a new 100 percent biodegradable material suitable for many store signs. Plastic produce bags made from virgin resin have been replaced with 100 percent post-industrial recycled resin bags. PCC also is looking into the possibility of offering recharging stations for electric cars at some locations.
For a list of all 2009 “Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction,” — and advice from each organization on how to make your organization worthy of recognition as an eco-friendly workplace — visit yourkingcounty.gov. Resources for developing workplace recycling are available here.