City of Olympia, Olympia School District, and Thurston County win 2014 recycling awards
Three out of the nine 2014 Washington State Recycling Association's (WSRA) Recycler of the Year awards went to organizations here in Thurston County. Each year, a diverse panel of WSRA members chooses organizations, businesses, and individuals who have made outstanding recycling achievements. WSRA members represent a variety of aspects of the recycling industry, including collectors and processors, government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations. Recipients will receive their awards at the Recyclers of the Year Awards Banquet on Tuesday, May 6 during WSRA's annual conference. -30-
City of Olympia Public Works Waste ReSources – Public Agency Recycler of the Year
WSRA recognized the City of Olympia for their accomplishments and new programs centered on their Vision of Zero Waste, a mission to lead and inspire their community toward a waste-free future and to play a strategic role to create opportunities to eliminate waste. Olympia's innovative programs include their award-winning GrassCycling Virtual Workshop, Pedestrian Recycling, 3rd Grade Education Program, Business Waste Assessments, and Lakefair Parade Recycling.
Olympia School District's Child Nutrition Services Department – Youth Education Recycler of the Year
WSRA recognized the Olympia School District for implementing some of the most innovative and visionary school food service waste reduction initiatives in the nation. These include using milk dispensers to reduce milk carton and milk waste; replacing disposables with durable utensils, bowls, cups, and trays; and participating in the Food Rescue program to collect prepared but unserved food for the Thurston County Food Bank. The Olympia School District has a 30-year history of reducing waste, and was one of the first school districts in the state to implement comprehensive recycling and organics collection programs.
Thurston County Solid Waste's Plastic Whale Project – Societal Impact Recycler of the Year
WSRA recognized the Plastic Whale Project for uniquely combining art and marine biology with the goal of preventing waste. Thurston County Solid Waste Division educator Carrie Zeigler conceived a plan to marry her artistic skills with her environmental education job by having local school children assist with the creation of a giant whale sculpture that would use plastic bags and other plastic waste. The large-scale art project was a way for kids to get a hands–on experience while learning about the harmful effects of plastic waste on the environment and wildlife. The project brought together more than 900 people from all walks of life to create a 32 foot replica of a gray whale made entirely out of plastic bags and other waste commonly found in our oceans. More than 100,000 people viewed the whale in person, and it was seen on television by 1.65 million people.