Robin Freedman, who heads up communications for Waste Management, explains that the company wanted to build an infrastructure and fueling site for its compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.
She says, “We invest significantly in innovative solutions that reduce our carbon footprint. One way we do this is by powering our trucks with CNG, increasing air quality and reducing greenhouse gases. Our engines are quieter, too.”
She adds, “We also wanted to have a state-of-the-art container repair and paint facility. The new facility allows us to use advanced water-based paints.”
North Sound has a number of environmentally-friendly aspects, with the priority being to protect Little Bear Creek, which is located near the site. To this aim, the company has created a multi-million dollar high-tech storm water drainage system.
According to Freedman, it is one of the most advanced water systems in the Little Bear Creek watershed.
She says, “The system is self-contained and holds the rainwater from our vehicles, parking lot and entire facility. After we collect the water, it goes through an extensive process that actually separates and cleans the water.”
She continues to explain that the process involves three steps. First, the runoff is collected and any oil residue is separated. Then the water goes through four swales (small valleys that slope and provide proper drainage). The swales also contain native vegetation that removes impurities from the traveling water.Finally, the water flows into a self-contained cement vault underneath the facility. This vault is shaped like a V so that all the muddy and murky water flows to the bottom, allowing the clean water to flow through the vault into Little Bear Creek.
“It is a fascinating, modern process and Waste Management is one of the first companies to create a hauling site that has a state-of-the-art drainage system,” comments Freedman. The company services residential and commercial customers out of its North Sound location, collecting recycling, garbage, and food and yard waste.
Drivers take all the recycling materials down the road to the Waste Management Cascade Recycling Center.
Although the hauling site is not open to the public, it runs 24-7.
Some of the commercial drivers begin their jobs at 4 a.m. and there are operations staff working until late at night, doing repairs and preparing the vehicles for the next day. Freedman notes there are 230 employees and 40 CNG vehicles at the facility.
Overall, Waste Management in the Pacific Northwest has 2,400 employees, 55 operations, 24 collection districts, 10 transfer stations, five recycling facilities, seven landfills and two renewable energy plants. The company provides services to 773,000 residential, 84,000 commercial/multifamily and 4,000 school and university customers.
Recycling tips for the holidays courtesy of Waste Management:
• Most wrapping paper can be recycled in your home recycling container. A little tape is fine, but remove the big pieces. Consider saving reusable wrapping paper, along with ribbons and bows. Glittery paper and ribbons you can’t use again should go in the garbage.
• Recycle electronics at a Take it Back Network location, such as Bartell Drugs or McLendon’s Hardware. Such locations will take back computers, T.V.s, cellphones and certain other household electronics. You can also recycle computers, monitors, T.V.s and e-readers for free at E-Cycle Washington locations.
General Biodiesel offers cooking oil recycling locations (i.e. Sammamish Safeway, Central Market in Shoreline, North Kirkland Community Center and Crossroads Par 3 Golf in Bellevue) around King County during the holiday season.
If you buy new energy-efficient holiday lights, ask your retailer if it will accept your old lights or visit recycling locations such as McLendon’s Hardware (all six Puget Sound stores).
By recycling your Christmas tree, you’ll give it new life as wood chips or compost. Place the tree on the curb for collection with your regular yard waste or check to see if your city has any sponsored tree recycling events.
For more information: www.wmnorthwest.com.