What We’ve Done

Selected Projects

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Commercial Recycling Outreach & Technical Assistance

Full Circle has been providing commercial recycling outreach & technical assistance to the cities of Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, and other agencies in the Puget Sound region since the firm launched in 1993. Full Circle has helped thousands of businesses improve their recycling and composting practices and achieve measurable waste diversion. 

Whether targeting shopping malls, high-rise office buildings, stand-alone family businesses, hotels, manufacturing facilities, or multifamily residences, Full Circle builds quick rapport and offers creative yet practical solutions. Full Circle also bolsters cities’ recycling education programs by developing newsletters and other communications initiatives, conducting waste characterization studies, and developing Community-Based Social Marketing strategies to engage businesses.

Redmond Right Sizing and Overcharge Prevention

The City of Redmond’s contract with WM allows businesses to recycle, at no cost, the equivalent volume of up to 200% of their garbage service. Beyond that, businesses must pay market rate for additional recycling volume. The City hired Full Circle to identify and work with businesses over 200% to ensure their service level is suited to their needs, and to identify options for cost savings. While similar to the business recycling outreach and assistance Full Circle is known for, this project adds new layers of complexity around data management, messaging, hauler contract negotiation, and billing analysis.

Automotive Product Stewardship & Shred Residue

Environmental policy on automobiles has traditionally focused on fuel efficiency and end-of-pipe emissions rather than considering the impacts and issues surrounding the automobile as a product. This requires attention to the materials and toxicity impacts of automobiles at each stage of the product lifecycle.

EPA Region 10 contracted with Full Circle to facilitate, interview, and convene public and private stakeholders from throughout a vehicle’s lifecycle – from car makers to steel mills – to identify intervention points for reducing environmental impact. EPA Region 10 also hired Full Circle to conduct site visits to regional automotive shredding operations, and to investigate issues surrounding the astoundingly large and heterogenous waste stream of automobile shredder residue.

Food Waste & Organics

Seattle Public Schools Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Program

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program provides all children in participating Seattle Public Elementary schools with a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the school day.

Full Circle provided on-the-ground support via direct interviews with school staff – including principals, teachers, lunchroom staff, custodians, and administrators – to evaluate the program’s performance and make recommendations for improvement. Our team also recruited new schools to expand the number of children reached by this program.

Issaquah Food Waste & Packaging Ordinance Implementation

The City of Issaquah passed an ordinance that bans expanded polystyrene foam packaging, requires food service businesses to use compostable or recyclable service ware, and requires food service businesses to provide recycling and compost for staff and customers.

Full Circle was hired to canvass all non-complying businesses to identify issues, provide technical assistance, and help each restaurant work toward compliance. By working with staff, business owners, property managers, service providers, City staff, and City Council, we were able to expand compliance and dramatically increase diversion.

EPA Region 10 School Food Share

School Food Share allows schools and food banks to work together to collect whole, packaged, uneaten cafeteria leftovers and share it within their community. This program helps schools use the food to first feed their own students, and second, donate remaining food to their local food bank to fight food insecurity in the community.

Full Circle worked with EPA Region 10 to support all aspects of program design and implementation, including on site operational support at schools, policy development and coordination with the Public Health Department, and coordination with food banks.

Waste Prevention

The King County Link-Up Program and Seattle Solid Waste Utility engaged Full Circle to identify agencies, businesses, NGOs, and other institutions involved in clothing waste prevention activities.

Full Circle undertook desktop research and analysis, as well as direct interviews with key international stakeholders, to gather current information, identify significant players, and begin to frame a path forward for local action. Covered topics ranged from repair and upcycling to clothing leasing, rental and swaps.

Snohomish County Packaging Waste Prevention

Full Circle worked with Sound Resource Management Group to support Snohomish County’s groundbreaking outreach business program to minimize and prevent packaging waste. The program helped businesses measurably reduce or eliminate packaging and establish returnable shipping systems, saving businesses thousands of dollars. The project also resulted in a useful guidance document,  “Prevent Packaging Waste: a practical guide to cost savings and the environmental benefits of re-evaluating business packaging.”

Regional Close the Lid Campaign

The City of Bellevue leads “Shut the Lid,” a regional, multi-city campaign focusing on reducing stormwater contamination from leaking dumpsters and improving behaviors and interactions with commercial dumpsters. The initiative began with a CBSM (Community-Based Social Marketing) pilot to analyze barriers, benefits, and behavior change strategies, and to leverage results to develop and implement an effective and on-going program.

During the initial phase of the campaign, Full Circle was hired by multiple cities in the region to conduct research and collect baseline data with which to analyze the impact of various interventions. Subsequently, Full Circle supported the City of Bellevue’s implementation of the program designed to change behavior through outreach, material distribution, and business assistance.

Water Quality

Community Car Wash Pollution Prevention

Full Circle partnered with Triangle Associates, on behalf of Kirkland, Bellevue, and Redmond, to provide outreach and education around the impact of car wash fundraisers. The project’s aim was to encourage environmentally-safe fundraisers among charity groups and participating businesses, and to ultimately to move the public away from all-too-common car wash fundraisers.

Full Circle informed businesses and charities about local car wash regulations, monitored and enforced charity car wash behavior, and undertook research that investigated utility costs, water usage, and the relative value of car wash fundraising to charity groups. In a related project for the City of Bothell, Full Circle examined the environmental impact and policy context for residential home car washing.

“Shift Green” Used Motor Oil & Filter Recycling Program

Full Circle launched “Shift Green” – a program focused on used motor oil and filter recycling education for DIY (Do-It-Yourself) oil changers – with the City of Bellevue and has since expanded the program to the City of Renton. 

In addition to direct outreach with automotive businesses, our team has drummed up printed collateral, surveys, events, partnerships, and other creative solutions to drive increased oil and filter recycling. Our team has successfully expanded the market for re-refined motor oil and built strong public-private partnerships with Bellevue and Renton’s automotive service sector.

Bellevue HHW (Household Hazardous Waste) Outreach & EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) Implementation

Full Circle supports implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs in the City of Bellevue and conducts broad Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) outreach. 

Washington State has a variety of active EPR take-back programs for HHW, including paint, pharmaceuticals, mercury-containing lights, and batteries. Full Circle conducts outreach, including direct business support as well as “secret shopper” visits, to monitor these programs and identify barriers to success. Full Circle has also forged public-private partnerships designed to increase consumer participation in EPR programs.

Full Circle has provided assistance and education to a variety of SQGs (Small Quantity Generators) of HHW (Household Hazardous Waste), including pharmacies, auto parts stores, auto repair shops, lighting retailers, battery retailers, and dry cleaners. For example, Full Circle has worked with dry cleaners using PERC machines and solvents regarding conversion to less toxic methods of cleaning, as well as education for dry cleaners already using hydrocarbon machines regarding best practices for managing HHW generated by the dry cleaning process. 

Energy & Transportation

Electric Vehicle End-of-Life Battery Market Research

This market assessment sought to understand if the processing infrastructure for batteries from Electric Vehicles (EV) in North America will be sufficient for the supply, given an increased market share in recent years. The study examined best practices for EV battery processing, policy frameworks for responsible management of end-of-life batteries, and created an inventory of EV recyclers and processing capacity.

Full Circle, on behalf of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation/NAFTA, engaged key market participants, including auto manufacturers, auto dealers, auto recyclers & dismantlers, auto shredders, battery processors, Dept. of Energy staff, and others to assess market structures and to map materials flows.

Kirkland Green Trip Program

The Green Trip program, led by C+C, is designed to encourage employees and residents to increase their use of green transportation options including riding transit, carpooling, vanpooling, teleworking, biking, and walking. Full Circle’s role has been to identify the employers most likely to engage in a program designed to reduce drive-alone trips, after which we developed and implemented an outreach strategy to recruit those businesses to participate in ORCA Business programs and other green transportation programs and incentives.

Urban Smart Energy Conservation Program

The Urban Smart program creates a downtown district in Bellevue in which smart people create a movement toward smarter buildings and business practices. The program drives technology, communications, facilities management, and individual & collective action to cut operating costs while significantly reducing the consumption of energy resources. Full Circle provided program design services and direct business outreach, in partnership with C+C and EnerNOC, to drive engagement and participation in the program. Program design and outreach relied heavily on CBSM (Community-Based Social Marketing) tactics.

Sustainable Purchasing

National Parks Service Green Purchasing

Full Circle staff has worked closely with the National Park Service to expand implementation of environmental purchasing activities at headquarter and regional levels as well as in the individual parks.

Our team’s green purchasing support has included tool and resource development, website redevelopment, curriculum development and training, communications initiatives, and assessment and analysis of regional green purchasing programs.

Domestic Processing of Mixed Plastic

Catalyzed by increasing concern about responsible recycling of mixed plastics and China’s National Sword ban, Seattle Public Utilities and King County’s LinkUp program reached out to key public, private, and NGO stakeholders to explore the immediate and longer-term capabilities for increased domestic sorting and processing of #3-7 plastic resins and other mixed plastics.

Full Circle, in collaboration with C+C, developed, implemented, and analyzed stakeholder interviews to gather information on the feasibility of and path toward directing #3-7 plastics to a domestic facility. The interviews explored what conditions are needed to provide support and infrastructure for domestic plastic sorting and processing.

Redmond Sustainable Purchasing

The City of Redmond hired Full Circle, in partnership with the Responsible Purchasing Network, to support the development of a Sustainable Purchasing Program for internal City purchasing.

The scope of work for this project includes: evaluating Redmond’s existing purchasing policy, conducting research on other sustainable purchasing programs in Washington, conducting interviews of City staff to determine barriers and opportunities, drafting a final Sustainable Purchasing Program and Policy report, and providing internal implementation support once the plan has been adopted.

Policy & Product Stewardship

Recycling Systems Framework Research

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality hired Full Circle, and prime partner RRS, to support the State’s Recycling Steering Committee by evaluating and recommending changes in the legal and relational framework underpinning Oregon’s residential and commercial recycling system.

Full Circle conducted research, reported findings and developed scenarios for a framework to ensure a high-functioning recycling system for the state of Oregon. EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) and product stewardship were explored as central policy approaches, ultimately contributing to Oregon’s passage of one of the nation’s first comprehensive laws governing EPR for packaging.

Redmond Construction & Demolition Ordinance Development

Full Circle is under hire to shepherd the development of Redmond’s new C&D ordinance from beginning to end. Construction and demolition generates more than double the tonnage of waste compared to municipal solid waste, and yet it’s an often overlooked and underregulated waste stream. Developing a cutting-edge ordinance that maximizes diversion through incentives, thereby increasing recycling of C&D debris, includes Best Management Practices research, comprehensive stakeholder engagement, ordinance development, legal review, city council approval, and implementation. Our team has been deeply engaged in stakeholder facilitation, building out draft language for the ordinance, and preparing materials for City Council.

Alaska Backhauling

Alaska’s waste system is distinct from the continental US. Logistics for proper disposal is a challenge, as the vast majority of communities are not connected to the road system. With a long-standing federal disposal subsidy about to sunset, the EPA needed to explore alternatives to organize and fund disposal, recycling, and backhauling activities.

Full Circle’s expertise in extended producer responsibility was called upon to analyze existing conditions for such products as electronics, batteries, and mercury-containing lighting. Full Circle provided research, expertise, and policy guidance, as well as engagement with a diverse array of public and private stakeholders in Alaska.

Plastic Packaging Management Study

In 2019, the Washington State Legislature found that producers of plastic packaging should consider design and management of their packaging in order to reduce environmental impacts.

The law directed Ecology to hire a consultant team to identify options to reduce plastic packaging in the state’s waste stream. Full Circle, with Cascadia Consulting, was hired to conduct a study of the impacts of plastic packaging in Washington. Full Circle was specifically tasked with designing and deploying the stakeholder consultation process to assure key party input to the research design and findings.