On October 27, KCIC hosted the 12th annual Sustainability Awards at the Evergy Energy Center. The Sustainability Awards recognize and promote sustainable practices implemented by businesses across the metro area — particularly those located in Kansas City’s industrial areas — but also those nominated by KCIC member businesses. We’re thrilled to recognize businesses who are embracing sustainable thinking and helping to create a more resilient Kansas City.
We recognized seven businesses in three categories: Sustainability, Stewardship and Innovation.
Congratulations to our 2022 Sustainability Awards Winners:
Sustainability – Silver Level
All too often, urban trees that fall or are removed are mulched up or simply discarded. KC Custom Hardwoods has made it their mission to keep these trees out of the waste stream and instead repurpose them into usable lumber. KC Custom Hardwoods specializes in making custom, live-edge tables for its residential and commercial clients using reclaimed urban trees. Their on-site operations include milling and kiln-drying the lumber — and they offer a full-range of woodshop services to help others take their own projects from raw lumber to a finished piece.
Located just north of the Swope Park Industrial area, DIT-MCO manufactures wiring analyzers for cable testing, harness testing and other automated product testing solutions. This spring, DIT-MCO partnered with Artisun Solar to install a 200-kilowatt solar array comprised of 600 panels. They estimate this will allow them to generate more than 51% of their power needs annually. The company’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond this single project. They recently switched to a four day work week, which they estimate has reduced emissions from employee commutes by 20% and energy use by 10%.
Sustainability – Gold Level
Soon to offer the first fully permitted construction and demolition recycling facility in Missouri, KC Dumpster Company is changing the game for the capture and recycling of C&D waste in the greater Kansas City area. With the new facility and process, construction sites can eliminate the need for extra space and labor to sort materials as everything goes into one box for later sorting later at the Resource Recovery Park. The facility is still under construction, but they have already begun accepting co-mingled containers off several area construction sites. The team has hand-sorted over 40 boxes in the last six months, with more than 150 tons (90%) being diverted.
Steel & Pipe Supply is a privately held carbon steel distributor with extensive value-added, coil processing and logistic capabilities. This past year, they installed a 1,400-kilowatt solar array — the largest rooftop solar array in the state of Kansas. In its first year of operation, the array, which is made up of over 4,200 solar panels, will produce over 1.8 million kilowatt hours. The environmental impact of the project is estimated to be a lifetime carbon offset of nearly 37,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which is the equivalent of the equivalent of 610,817 tree seedlings grown over 10 years or not driving over 91 million miles by an average passenger vehicle.
Stewardship Award – Gold Level
As a non-profit social enterprise, KC Can is committed to improving the social and environmental landscapes of Kansas City through community education and environmental justice work. Their business model was designed to solve two problems: the lack of infrastructure for businesses and residents to divert their food waste efficiently and effectively away from the landfill; and the high recidivism rate due to a workforce that excludes vulnerable populations from meaningful, living-wage employment opportunities. KC Can provides businesses with customized implementation plans to start a successful compost collection pickup program in the workplace. They also offer residential collection bins with drop-off locations throughout the metro. Their Green Core Training program prepares individuals transitioning out of difficult circumstances, like houselessness or incarceration, for work with KC Can or other environmentally minded organizations.
PCs for People is on a mission to make digital equity a reality. A national nonprofit social enterprise based in Minnesota, PCs for People has a local presence with a warehouse located in the Historic West Bottoms. There, they work to get low-cost, quality computers and internet to individuals, families and other nonprofits in need by capturing and refurbishing usable computers before they get to the landfill and responsibly recycling any unusable e-waste. Since the start of the pandemic, PCs for People has diverted over five million pounds of electronics waste from landfills and distributed over 60,000 fully refurbished computers to low-income communities around the U.S.
Innovation – Gold Level
In 2010, the City of Kansas City, Missouri entered a federal Consent Decree with the E.P.A. to reduce the volume of overflows from the City’s sewer system. KC Water’s Smart Sewer program is a 30-year effort to address this challenge. The Trolley Trail Storage Basin project is one of more than 100 projects being implemented as part of the Smart Sewer program. The Trolly Trail Storage Basin Project was initially envisioned as a sewer relief project requiring the installation of about 9,400 feet of large sewer pipes. After exploring more cost-effective alternatives with community benefits in mind, the idea of constructing an open storage basin within a largely unused portion of South Oak Park came to fruition. The earthen open storage basin is now successfully capturing combined sewer overflows using real-time controls during rain events, reducing the volume of combined sewer overflows into local waterways. Through the collaboration, KC Water and KC Parks also built 525 feet of new trail, connecting South Oak Park to the Trolley Track Trail, adding two new pedestrian bridges, and resurfacing and widening 1,330 feet of existing trail.
Thank you to all our winners for your investment to our natural environment. And thank you to our sponsors and sustainability committee for making this awards program possible.