Recipients to be recognized at WSRA Awards Gala Banquet, May 9, 2017

WSRA is excited to announce our 2017 Recycler of the Year Award recipients and Recycling Hall of Fame inductees! On Tuesday, May 9, we will honor 10 organizations, businesses and individuals for outstanding recycling achievements at our Recycler of the Year Awards Gala Banquet which is part of the 37th Annual WSRA Conference & Trade Show in Pasco. 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 2017 WSRA Recyclers of the Year include these outstanding honorees:

City of Kirkland Solid Waste Division
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Public Agency
In 2016 Kirkland Solid Waste took on a number of waste reduction and recycling programs. In March 2016, after years of background work, Kirkland’s plastic bag reduction policy went into effect, banning plastic bags and requiring a fee for large paper bags. Kirkland staff took on a leadership role in the Washington State Organics Contamination Reduction Workgroup (OCRW). Over the course of 2016, and in partnership with a broad variety of regional stakeholders, Kirkland assisted in the work and creation of the OCRW report. Kirkland continued to focus on multifamily recycling by updating city code to require 1:1 ratio of capacity for recycling onsite at multifamily properties. The City continued to hold its popular monthly “StyroFest” events, offering a collection point for EPS, expanded polyethylene foam, and plastic bags for local residents. Kirkland Solid Waste also organized and hosted its first Halloween costume swap. Community members donated 75+ costumes before the event at City Hall and two elementary schools, then came to the swap event to select costumes and accessories. To learn more about the City of Kirkland Solid Waste Division contactJenna McInnis or John MacGillivray


F.R.O.G. Soap™

WSRA Recycler of the Year – Nucor Steel Recycling Business
F.R.O.G. Soap makes earth-friendly, handmade soap using reclaimed oil as a part of their recipe. Each day they strive to find new ways to recycle, reclaim and up-cycle ingredients, packaging and display items. To date they have reclaimed nearly 5 tons of veggie oil and corrugated cardboard over the course of 4 years. For their efforts, they have won Best New Product Award, two-time Best Gift Shop and have been a two-time Semi-Finalist in the Kitsap Bank Edg3 Fund Competition. In addition, owner Laura Kneib has presented during Women’s History Month Breakfast for PSNS & IMF Professional Women’s Engineering Networking Group, sharing the company’s processes. They have been featured on KOMO News, as well as in print via the Kitsap Sun, Sound Publishing and West Sound Home & Garden. They have shared their methods and recipes from Italy to Bolivia as was reported via For more information, contact Laura Kneib.


Olympic College

WSRA Recycler of the Year – Higher Education
Olympic College has been committed to recycling and sustainability initiatives for many years and most recently reaffirmed that commitment by implementing food waste recycling in their culinary arts program. Some of their key initiatives include a successful campus wide comingled recycling program that incorporates student created 3D signage, an onsite composting program in their Child Development Center, yard waste recycling from their campus grounds and pre-consumer food waste recycling from the culinary arts program. Olympic College has demonstrated their commitment to sustainability by implementing a mini-library reading shelter that utilizes upcycled material (skis) as well as a “Snow Fence” which is a collaborative sculpture made by students that utilizes upcycled skis. The facilities/grounds department uses Zero Emission electric utility vehicles that minimize carbon emissions on campus. A unique program that deserves mention is a multidisciplinary outdoor learning landscape called The Barner Learning Landscape that features a 2.5-acre multidisciplinary outdoor landscape that contains former park-like areas with unique vegetation specimens, native plant communities, and marine intertidal zones. The college is actively using this property as an outdoor learning space for biology, environmental science, geography, and botany courses as well as for other disciplines such as photography and art. For more information, contact Christopher Plemmons


Safeway Albertsons
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Business Generator
Safeway/Albertsons have a commitment to composting and recycling in our retail stores and distribution centers.  We partner with Feeding America and its affiliates to ensure that surplus food is donated to approved food banks and feeding programs in the same communities as our stores. Food products like cooking oil, meat/fat, and bones are all recycled through local rendering companies. Our Asset Recovery Center, located in Auburn, WA, is the final collection point for all recyclables that are shipped back from our retail stores.  The recovery center provides recycling for all items such as cardboard, hard plastic, plastic film, and styrofoam.  The combination of all these programs allows the diversion of recyclable items, edible food, and food waste which reduces our solid waste, feeds our local communities and improves our retail sustainability. For more information, contact Shane Erickson or Jay Hildebrand.  


Methow Recycles
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Innovation
Now celebrating its 15th year of serving the Okanogan County’s Methow Valley, Methow Recycles is powered by tremendous community commitment and support, energetic volunteers, creative staff and strong board of directors. When recyclers enter our parking lot they know they are among friends who will welcome them, help them unload, and answer their questions. The non-profit organization’s success created an opportunity for commingled collection by the area’s licensed hauler, making it a model for other small, rural communities. Our commitment to quality defines the products we prepare for buyers and our relationship with our community partners who are integral to all we do. Our Education and Outreach Program works with school-aged students, adult learners, and business owners to demystify recycling and assist them on their journey toward zero waste.For more information, contact Betsy Cushman

Savers/Value Village
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Reuse
Savers, locally known as Value Village, is a global thrift retailer based in Bellevue, Washington. For over 60 years, Value Village has been dedicated to reuse, diverting more than 700 million pounds of reusable goods from landfills annually. In 2016, Value Village launched its Rethink Reuse campaign with the goal of raising awareness around the environmental benefits of reuse and inspiring action. The multi-faceted campaign utilized visually arresting art installations, “I Give a Sh!rt” – a movement challenging people make their next t-shirt a thrifted one – and the first-ever State of Reuse Report to raise awareness of the clothing industry’s environmental impact. The campaign reached over 800,000 people online, and those who engaged with the campaign were 36 percent more likely to reuse goods. Additionally, 2 million people took part in our “I Give a Sh!rt” challenge and made their next new t-shirt a used one, helping to save over 1 billion gallons of water (700 gallons of water is the amount needed to create just one cotton t-shirt). For more information, contact Sara Gaugl

Toledo Elementary School
WSRA Recycler of the Year – Public Education
Implementing improvements at a failing primary school in a small town requires inclusion as best stated in the axiom: “It takes a village to raise a child.”  Obtaining buy-in from school leadership, teachers, parents and other community leaders that an augmented approach to their Science program that blended both research and practical interactive activities could translate into improved learnings.   Given that the Cowlitz River is only blocks away from the school the focus on environment, watershed protection, recycling, composting and the development of an on-site garden for kids grew from nothing to a thriving full cycle nutrition focused series of classes called Garden Science.  In the last five years, the school’s state-wide test scores have gone from the bottom 5% to a School of Distinction.  These results speak for themselves.For more information, contact Principal, Angela Bacon


The WSRA Recycling Hall of Fame honors individuals who have made outstanding long-term contributions to recycling in Washington. The 2017 inductees include these outstanding individuals:

Dan Gee | WSRA Recycling Hall of Fame

Dan was born and raised in Tacoma and Lakewood, WA.   He graduated from the University of Washington, in Seattle, with a degree in Forest Management.  After college and four years living in Sun Valley, ID. He met his wife of 35 years, Marilyn, in Seattle; and have two grown children, two grandsons, and now reside in the San Francisco bay area.

Dan’s 20 year career with Weyerhaeuser Company, began in wood product sales, then into the paper recycling business in Charlotte in 1994.  In 2008 Weyerhaeuser’s containerboard business, including the recycling business, was acquired by International Paper.  He has held a wide variety of buying and sales roles within the recycling business, and has managed the national brokerage team, as well as sales teams in the U.S. and China.

Active on the WSRA Board from 2001 – 2007, Dan held an officer position for all six years. Beginning as the WSRA treasurer and ending as Co-President with Diana Winburn-Perey. Helping the organization continue to grow and evolve was an extremely rewarding experience in his professional as well as his personal life.

He was active on the Executive, Awards, Finance, and Membership development committees.  He was part of the Board who initiated the WSRA Anti-Trust Statement and was very involved in fund raising for the “Recycling License plate project.”  After leaving the Board he twice facilitated the WSRA Board retreat, held each June, laying out the upcoming year’s plans, budget, and election of officers.

Dan has retired from International Paper and has started his own consulting company, Recovered Paper Consulting, LLC based in CA.

Jim Haynes | WSRA Recycling Hall of Fame
Jim’s 40 years of his work career were first spent in banking, where he worked in commercial lending at Rainier Bank in Seattle. After 14 years, he moved to Spokane where he worked for Pacific Materials Exchange – one of the first 42 Waste Exchanges in the US. In 1993 he landed a contract with the city of Spokane to administer their Waste Reduction Assessment Program.  WRAP provided free evaluations of businesses solid waste providing recommendations of reducing and recycling waste to save money (if for no other reason).

Jim worked long hours, often weeks on end without time off, as a volunteer spreading the message of sustainability.  We all knew without asking that Jim would somehow make time to assist in the many community outreach programs/events.

Jim served on the board of the WSRA from 1998-2000 and on the Recycling Foundation from its inception in 2000 through 2016.

In 2014 the City of Spokane, after receiving national recognition, dismantled the program reducing it considerably along with many of the living wage jobs.

Jim and his wife created a wholesale coffee roasting company unique in their new industry.  True to their values they have been recognized nationally six times for the country’s best coffees and as one of the only roasters (competing) totally committed to organic, shade grown, fairly traded, bird friendly, rain forest alliance and WOMEN PREMIUM coffees.  Still embracing the ethics of the Guild, they use recyclable, compostable bags, cups and office supplies.

They also support community events such as the Lands Council, Bike Swap, Spokefest, Earth Day and others serving over 10,000 free cups of coffee each year.

Their goal is to change the traditional coffee commodity business model from one of deforestation, degradation of water systems and unfair labor practices to an ecologically sustainable, fiscally responsible model that uniquely pays fair wages – both in the countries providing their green coffee beans – but also here in their community.

Congratulations to all 2017 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