Gresham Awards its "Greatest of the GREAT" Sustainable Businesses
Three Gresham businesses were awarded the City's "Greatest of the GREAT" sustainability awards Oct. 23 for actions ranging from harvesting rainwater for landscape irrigation to teaching youth how to cook with organic produce grown on site.
American Honda Motor Company and Twelve Mile Market received awards for the overall "Greatest of the GREAT" representing large and small businesses.
Centennial Learning Center, an alternative school for middle and high school students in the Centennial School District, won the City's "Greatest Composter" recognition and was also voted the "People's Choice Award" by attendees at the awards celebration.
"It's inspiring in the City of Gresham that small and large businesses recognize that recycling and sustainability is the right thing to do," said City Councilor John Kilian.
The American Honda facility has a rainwater harvesting system that captures runoff from the warehouse roof and stores the water in a 77,000 gallon underground storage tank. The water is used for flushing toilets and landscape irrigation.
Vegetable scraps are taken from Twelve Mile Market's kitchen and brought back to the laying chickens that supply the eggs for the store.
Centennial Learning Center has a kitchen classroom with student cooks who use produce from a local farm. This year the school started a composting program and reduced its garbage by two thirds.
"We want this to spread - we're the smallest school in the district and we want the big schools to follow," said Rusty Simms, evening program coordinator for Centennial Learning Center. "We're the little wave that became a tidal wave," he said.
Gresham's GREAT Businesses program helps businesses implement sustainable practices in their operations. The free City program has worked with more than 1,000 businesses since 2001 and recognizes 146 local businesses as achieving GREAT certification, a designation for businesses that meet criteria for their environmental conservation practices.
For more information about the GREAT Businesses program visit GreshamOregon.gov/GreatBiz or call 503-618-2694.