The Great Fork Over: Ecova Employees Support Portland Elementary School’s Conservation Efforts

In a typical school year, a single student will use approximately 170 plastic utensils to eat his or her school lunch. For Peninsula K-8 Public School’s 370 students, this adds up to over 6,000 plastic utensils used and thrown out each school year! In an effort to manage the waste and expense of disposable utensils, a group of teachers at the school started an initiative to replace disposable utensils with reusable silverware donated from the community. For the last couple of years, the teachers have coordinated the procurement and the washing and replacement of the forks and spoons. They have also used the project to help educate the students about conservation topics, including waste reduction and recycling. Ryan Brown, our Sr. Graphic and Web Designer and a member of Ecova’s Impact...

Leveraging Data in Today’s Evolving Waste Landscape

America’s waste landscape is a moving target. In the midst of ever changing regional recycling collection laws, evolving solid waste legislation, and emerging municipal waste fees and new mandates, facility directors can have difficulty just figuring out where to begin when tasked with the challenge of managing waste expenses across a large portfolio. Combine that data with uncertainity, or the lack of data, and managers are faced with even a larger hurdle. Given that waste invoices may not always include specific details of on-site waste services, it can make knowing “what you’re paying for” difficult. Here’s where the Ecova Waste Solutions team comes in. Our group of industry professionals knows that our strength lies in our data, and we’ve been working hard to enhance our systems and...

How to Create an Energy & Sustainability Program That Delivers Long-Term Value

I recently hosted a webinar on how to create an energy and sustainability program that delivers long-term value. Ecova calls this approach “Continual Improvement,” which is one of the five Keystones of the Ecova Blueprint Framework that guides successful energy and sustainability management programs. The webinar discussed the continual improvement process and shared examples of companies who have implemented best practices. The Continual Improvement process includes assessing your operations and competitive positioning, developing a strategic plan, rolling it out through program implementation, and then evaluating progress and modifying the tactics, if necessary. The main difference between implementing a program with a continual improvement approach vs. implementing isolated projects is...

Clothes Dryers Getting Attention in the Energy Efficiency Space

Over the last three decades, appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines have become increasingly more energy efficient. More efficient appliances benefit consumers and the environment through lower utility bills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. However, in contrast to the efficiency improvements we’ve seen with these appliances, the clothes dryer has remained almost unchanged and received little attention―until now. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recently released an Issue Brief detailing the energy savings opportunities for residential clothes dryers. The Issue Brief, based on testing and analysis conducted by Ecova’s Research & Policy team on behalf of PG&E and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), outlines the reasons behind...

Gaining Recognition for Your Zero Waste Achievements

The 2014 U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC) Conference, was held in Atlanta this past May and attracted a variety of participants, from waste vendors and consultants to businesses and governmental organizations, all who share a vested interest in developing or improving zero waste practices. “Zero Waste” has become a familiar term in many corporate facilities and operations departments, though the definition varies greatly. As indicated throughout the conference, a fundamental purpose of the USZWBC is to create a solid foundation to advance the integrity and credibility of Zero Waste. This has led the organization to create the first third-party Zero Waste Business Certification program for facilities to meet the Zero Waste principles outlined by the Zero Waste International...