Category Archives: EnviroStars

Garden Questions? Call the Garden Hotline 206-633-0224

Garden hotline croppedIs this the right time to plant tomatoes? Where can I find good soil for my raised beds? How can I win my battle with slugs?

Home gardeners and landscape professionals can get expert advice by calling the Garden Hotline at 206-633-0224, Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Want to take a class, come to an event or watch a video?  Or do you prefer to email your questions? Visit

Helpful staff offer advice managing plant pests, encouraging helpful insects, reducing water use, managing rain water, planting for wildlife, building soil, mulching, chemical-free gardening, natural lawn care and much more.

Would you rather let others do the work for you?  Find an environmentally responsible landscaper by searching the database at

Let us help you have a happy spring season!


Clean Marina Washington announces winners of the Clean Marina of the Year competition!


Foss Marina, photographed by Puget Soundkeeper Alliance.

The Clean Marina program is proud to announce the winners of the first ever Clean Marina of the Year competition! Shilshole Bay Marina has won in the Public Ports Category and Foss Harbor Marina in the Private Marina Category. Both facilities are recognized for their exemplary leadership in pollution prevention and environmental protection.

Foss Harbor Marina switched to paperless billing and correspondence.  It also eliminated plastic and Styrofoam cups and transitioned to high-efficiency bulbs and fixtures to reduce energy consumption. Foss is very active in the local community working with organizations such as Citizens for a Healthy Bay and Tacoma Waterfront Association. Marina staff recently leveraged Clean Vessel Act (CVA) funds from WA State Parks to purchase and operate a sewage pumpout boat.  This provides free and convenient slip-side sewage disposal for tenants.

Shilshole Bay Marina is recognized for their work promoting Required Management Practices among their 1400 tenants, hosting an oil spill response trailer and developing a prioritized Environmental Management System to take a comprehensive look at potential environmental hazards. Tracy McKendry, Sr. Manager of Recreational Boating accepted the award on behalf of Shilshole saying, “We are extremely proud of our marina team and community.  It takes creativity, persistence and cooperation to continually work towards improving our environmental practices.  We are lucky to have such great partners in our environmental endeavors and would like to thank them for their continuing support.”

With over 70 Certified Clean Marinas in Washington State, this network of dedicated business owners and marine professionals are at the forefront of the exciting and innovative work being done to teach a new generation of boaters about how to care for and steward the marine environment for the future.

Help Us Celebrate the Groundbreaking Work of Healthier Nail Salons

NailGardenLiz This weekend Seattle will celebrate the first certified Healthy Nail Salon – the Nail Garden in the Green Lake neighborhood, located at 7900 E. Greenlake Dr. N, #109, Seattle, WA 98103. The celebration starts at 11 am and goes until 2 pm. Be one of the first 30 visitors and receive a bottle of “3-free” polish (no toluene, formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate) with this coupon. What’s special about Nail Garden that makes it a “certified” healthy nail salon? Those of us who have braved strong solvent odors for a manicure or pedicure will appreciate that this salon has a ventilation system that diverts the odors outside where they are quickly dissipated. This benefits not only the customers but the nail technicians who spend up to 8 to 10 hours a day breathing the vapors. It is not uncommon for nail technicians to experience dizziness, nausea and headaches. Long-term exposure can cause asthma, liver and kidney issues and memory problems. Most nail technicians are Vietnamese and have limited English proficiency. Like most of us, many are not aware of the problems exposure to these chemicals may cause. The Healthy Nail Salon project in King County partnered with salons to help them improve their ventilation systems, find safer chemicals and personal protective equipment. It also created a recognition program for those salons that safely handle, store and dispose of their chemicals. Come celebrate with Nail Garden this Saturday from 11 am to 2:00 pm. The celebration is more than just this nail salon’s commitment to protecting the health of their employees. It’s also a celebration of the groundbreaking work the Healthy Nail Salon project is doing in King County. The Healthy Nail Salon project is a part of the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County.

Motorists: Fix leaks so you ‘Don’t Drip and Drive’

Drip and drive coupon

Get a coupon

Free visual leak inspections, repair discount

Motorists in King County can find an affordable fix and keep pollutants out of Puget Sound so that they “Don’t Drip and Drive.”

Every year, more than 7 million quarts of motor oil drips out of vehicles and onto streets and parking lots, much of it ending up in streams, lakes and Puget Sound.

The Don’t Drip and Drive campaign and participating repair shops across western Washington are offering car owners a free visual leak inspection – a diagnostic service valued at up to $80 – available now through September.

If the inspection reveals a problem, the car owner will receive a coupon for 10 percent off service to fix the problem (up to $50). Repair coupons expire Sept. 30, 2014. Find a list of participating locations, help to self-diagnose your leak, and print out a coupon at Don’t Drip and Drive.

“The main reason we have been participating in ‘Don’t Drip and Drive’ is that we are aware that fluids do leak from a surprising number of vehicles,” said Mike Lenci of Bellevue Auto Service & Electric, Inc., an EnviroStars-certified business. “We want to help to repair these leaks and give the motorist a substantial discount on the repair as well to help keep our water clean.”

Studies show that two-thirds of drivers will fix a leak within three months of finding it.

You can keep your car running great while protecting our local waters.

Nail salon to get first EnviroStars certification for healthier products, environment

My Nail Salon & Spa in Bellevue uses new ventilation system,

safer nail polish and thinners, to earn environmental recognition

By using safer products and improving air quality for employees and customers, a Bellevue nail salon has become the first to receive EnviroStars Program certification as a Healthy Nail Salon.

The salon uses only polishes that do not contain toluene, formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate

The salon uses only polishes that do not contain toluene, formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate

The public is invited to learn how My Nail Salon & Spa’s new products and techniques help keep people and the environment safe during a June 14 open house, from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., at 1645 140th Ave. NE, Bellevue.

Becoming an EnviroStars Healthy Nail Salon means safer products and a safer working environment – and perhaps a leg up on the competition. Nearly 90 percent of recently surveyed nail salon patrons in San Mateo County, Calif., said they would pay more for services in healthy nail salons.

To qualify as an EnviroStars Healthy Nail Salon, My Nail Salon & Spa agreed to use less-toxic nail polish that does not contain the “toxic trio” of toluene, formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate, as well as polish thinners that don’t contain hazardous solvents.

Additionally, the salon’s state-of-the-art ventilation pulls airborne chemicals away from the nail technicians and clients, and brings in fresh air.

Salons can earn EnviroStars certification by using less toxic products or by safer practices, such as:

  • Using only nail polishes that do not contain toluene, formaldehyde or dibutyl phthalate;
  • Using polish thinners that do not contain hazardous solvents;
  • Requiring employees to wear safety gloves;
  • Using local ventilation at each nail salon table;
  • Bringing fresh air into the salon with a ventilation system; and
  • Safely storing chemicals.
  • Safely dispose of hazardous waste
  • Train all employees to use the safer salons practices

The Healthy Nail Salon project started in 2007 with a community partner, the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle (ECOSS), a local non-profit group with strong connections to the Vietnamese community.

Those connections matter: Of the estimated 430 nail salons in King County, more than 80 percent are owned and operated by Vietnamese-speaking people. Before this project began, there wasscant information available in Vietnamese on safe chemical handling and other safety issues related to nail salon operations.

Employees with the Local Hazardous Waste Program in King County partnered with ECOSS representatives in the Healthy Nail Salon project and created bilingual workshops, training materials and brochures for Vietnamese nail salon owners and workers.

Project partners also visited many of the 430 nail salons in King County to share information, best practices and offer tips on how salon operators can lower chemical exposure for workers and clients.

King County nail salons that become EnviroStars Certified Healthy Nail Salons gain access to many services, such as marketing, disposal and technical assistance.

For more information on how to become a Healthy Nail Salon contact Laurie Foster at 206-263-3061 or

EnviroStars team to win a Grand Award

Natalie Kozimor and Charlotte Yamamoto enjoy the green and healthy gardens at Swedish Hospital

Natalie Kozimor and Charlotte Yamamoto enjoy the green and healthy gardens at Swedish Hospital

Local businesses recognized for environmental efforts

The EnviroStars-certified Swedish Issaquah hospital and 5-Star Signature Landscape Services have been recognized by the Washington Association of Landscape Professionals with a Grand Award for their green approach.

This environmental award is for the conservation and sustainable practices the staff used to maintain campus landscapes. They include using drought-tolerant plants, horticultural practices and mulch to conserve water, and eliminate the use of pesticides.

The Issaquah, First Hill, Cherry Hill and Ballard Swedish hospitals are all EnviroStar certified for their green landscape practices. In addition to the award-winning organic gardening efforts, EnviroStars work to prevent the use of hazardous materials in all their operations.

“Swedish/Issaquah has really embraced a new way of managing their landscapes to create healthier outdoor spaces for their staff and patients,” said Laurel Tomchick, EnviroStars coordinator, “and Signature Landscape Services is showing how these practices can work on a commercial scale with their clients, including Swedish.”

For more information

Interested in your business becoming an EnviroStar? Join the over 850 local businesses like Swedish and Signature Landscapes and get recognition and support at

For more information about hazardous waste help for businesses, call the Business Waste Line, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., except holidays. Recorded information is available afterhours, and at

EnviroStars is one of the services provided by the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program through a partnership of more than 40 city, county and tribal governments working together in King County to reduce threats posed from hazardous materials and wastes.

Give your business a green EnviroStars valentine

We heart local businesses, helping them out with sustainable

 practices and marketing support

EnviroStars valentines are so dreamy!

With Valentine’s Day just hours away, check out the hugs and kisses the EnviroStars program is receiving from local businesses in a new video: EnviroStars, Good for Business, Good for the Environment. The video is available at

In the video, businesses like drycleaners, landscapers, property managers and manufacturers share how EnviroStars has added to their sustainable and environmental practices, and the value of the marketing to their businesses.

“We were amazed at how much time, knowledge and experience (EnviroStars) brought to us,” said Cindy Parks, with Printing Control, about its visit with program staff. “Being able to cut down our costs on hazardous waste recycling – that made the biggest impact for us.”

To schedule a free consultation and assistance visit from EnviroStars technical staff, King County business owners can contact Laurel Tomchick at 206-263-3063,, or visit  Consultants will visit businesses with information on reducing hazardous wastes, green practices, access to a cash rebate for waste improvements, disposal options and more.

Interested in your business becoming an EnviroStar? Join more than 850 local businesses like Printing Control and get recognition and support at

EnviroStars is one of the services provided by the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program through a partnership of more than 40 city, county and tribal governments working together in King County to reduce threats posed from hazardous materials and wastes.

Marine flares now accepted from King County residents at the household hazardous waste facilities.

Boat owners can safely dispose of old and unwanted marine flares.

For safety and per regulation requirements, the capacity to accept marine flares is limited, but boaters now have a safe disposal option.

Dispose of flares safely

Dispose of flares safely

The North Seattle, South Seattle and Factoria  household hazardous waste facilities ONLY are now collecting marine flares from Seattle and King County boaters. Due to permit requirements and limited container size, these three facilities can only take ten (10) flares per visit. Once the container is full no more flares will be accepted until the container can be emptied.

Important note: These flares are not accepted at the Roving Wastemobile or Auburn Wastemobile sites.

For more information call the Household Hazards Line at (206) 296-4692, Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, except holidays.

Boat owners can find the boater’s guide and boat repair guide at: There is information on EnviroStars certified Clean Marinas that are helping keep the sound clean. Happy sailing!

Tomorrow’s GoGreen Conference on green solutions for businesses

Stop by and visit our tables providing businesses large and small with information on hazardous materials and the EnviroStars sustainability  and recognition program.

GoGreen Conference

GoGreen Conference – stop by and visit us!

The GoGreen Conference happens tomorrow, Wednesday April 24th. The conference highlights innovative solutions and best practices for sustainability and business operations. Local governments will also be sharing their environmental efforts and vision.

The conference lineup includes:
– King County Executive, Dow Constantine will give the keynote talk on the County’s vision for a sustainable future.
– A mayor’s Forum with the mayors from Snoqualmie, Kirkland and Redmond to discuss economic, health and environmental challenges.
– A climate change panel of governmental, business, academic and other organization’s representatives discussing solutions, environmental and economic impacts.
– Demo workshops for new tools and technologies in supply chain mapping, data collections and analysis.
– Solutions labs on change and brand communications about sustainability.

Details: April 24, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Conference Center in downtown Seattle (8th Avenue and Pike Street). Tickets can be purchased online until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, and will be available in limited quantities on-site.

Washington State Ferry terminals earn highest EnviroStars rating

Ten state ferry terminals meet high environmental standards, including three terminals in King County

The Washington State Department of Transportation Washington State Ferries system (WSF) is celebrating a milestone achievement this Earth Day by earning the highest 5-Star certification from the EnviroStars Program at 10 ferry terminal facilities – including three in King County.

Washington State Ferry - best view in the house

Washington State Ferry – best view in the house

Their stewardship practices include purchasing least hazardous products, avoiding the use of pesticides, using Green Seal certified cleaning products, monitoring contract work to prevent pollution, protective storage, posting spill procedures and cleanup materials, and carefully managing wastes.

“I congratulate the ferry employees and terminal workers for their diligence to keep activities there safe and clean,” said EnviroStars Program Manager Laurel Tomchick.

“It’s not just activities on the water that can create a pollution problem – it’s shoreline and dock facilities, our roadways – everything that flows downhill and downriver. If your vehicle is leaking oil when you pull into a ferry line, it’s a problem for all of us.”

“The certification process was rigorous and thorough, and we learned some new things for our facilities, and for the vessels, too,” said Sheila Helgath, WSF Environmental Program Manager.

Certified EnviroStars Terminal facilities are: Anacortes, Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Fauntleroy, Kingston, Point Defiance/Tahlequah, Port Townsend, Seattle, Southworth and Vashon.

Each terminal facility provided documentation of its practices, procedures and policies, and on-site visits were conducted for verification.

“We are proud to be among the EnviroStars certified organizations and businesses,” said WSDOT Assistant Secretary David Moseley. “WSF is deeply committed to being a good steward of the environment.”

Washington State Ferries terminals join a growing list of businesses that have earned the EnviroStars certification. There are more than 850 EnviroStars rated companies offering a variety of services from car repair, dentistry, dry cleaning, landscaping, and printing, to veterinary care – a great way to take care of your business while supporting environmentally sound businesses in your community.

EnviroStars are given a 2- to 5-Star rating, based on their demonstrated commitment to environmental sustainability in their business practices, and reducing hazardous materials and wastes.

Residents who want to support environmentally responsible businesses can look for the EnviroStars window decal and certification logo, find a business at, or call 1-877-220-7827 (STAR) for a directory.

The nationally recognized EnviroStars Program was created by the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County in 1995, and has expanded to include seven counties in the Puget Sound region and across Washington. It is implemented by health departments, source control and hazardous waste programs, and partner organizations. Information is available at