NW Natural Employees Cut Waste, One Paper Coffee Cup at a Time

Media Contact: Dawn Johnson, NW Natural dawn.johnson@nwnatural.com, 503-818-9845 (pager)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 16, 2015

 

NW Natural Employees Cut Waste, One Paper Coffee Cup at a Time

A Dozen Organizations Adopt NW Natural’s Innovative Sustainability Program for Earth Month

PORTLAND, Ore. — A NW Natural (NYSE:NWN) workplace sustainability initiative to limit the number of disposable coffee cups employees use is spilling over to other workplaces in downtown Portland during Earth Month in April.

Through NW Natural’s one-of-a-kind ‘Reduce. Reuse. Recaffeinate.’ program, employees receive cards that participating coffee shops punch each time the employee uses a reusable cup. Employees then turn in full cards for prizes from NW Natural.

The Company's Green Team came up with the incentive-based program after a waste audit tracked the amount of paper cups being thrown away each day. The cups can’t be composted or recycled due to a polyethylene plastic lining.

“At NW Natural, environmental stewardship is one of our core values,” said Holly Meyer, NW Natural’s energy policy and sustainability manager. “We advocate energy efficiency and carbon-offset programs for our customers, but we want to ensure our employees are working through a stewardship lens as well. Our Green Team leads the way for sustainability-related behavioral change – from building a bike commuting culture and implementing two-way teleconferencing in place of driving to meetings, to our new coffee cup program.”

Since the ‘Reduce. Reuse. Recaffeinate’ program started six months ago, NW Natural estimates the company’s 600 central office employees have kept 2,500 paper coffee cups out of the landfill.

Now, 13 additional organizations are taking part in the coffee cup challenge as part of PDX Green Teams Unite. The group, that NW Natural helped co-found, brings together businesses, nonprofits and government entities to work jointly on sustainability efforts. They include:

  • Bonneville Environmental Foundation
  • CLEAResult
  • Craft Brew Alliance
  • EarthShare Oregon
  • Ecova
  • Energy Trust of Oregon
  • Full Creative
  • Howard S. Wright Construction
  • Interface Engineering
  • Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
  • NW Natural
  • Pacific Continental Bank
  • The Standard
  • Wild Salmon Center

If employees at each of the participating organization - 3,000 collectively - chose a reusable rather than a disposable cup five times during April, it could save more than 2,500 metric tons of carbon waste or nearly 6,000 trees.

In addition to participating in the coffee cup challenge, PDX Green Teams Unite will take part in other earth- friendly events each day this month. Activities include lunch n’ learns on sustainable food systems and reducing water use, kayaking to Ross Island to remove ivy, and pulling ivy in Forest Park. Visit www.facebook.com/pdxgreenteams for a full list of activities and to learn more about PDX Green Teams Unite.

About NW Natural

NW Natural (NYSE:NWN) is headquartered in Portland, Ore., and provides natural gas service to about 700,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is the largest independent natural gas utility in the Pacific Northwest. Additional information is available at www.nwnatural.com.

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