Innovation in Sustainable Operations: Keen
By Matthew Kish
Chris Enlow, Keen's care and community manager, helps keep the company ambitious in its sustainability goals.
It started with a simple — but very bold — idea.
Keen Inc. wanted to renovate a century-old, 50,000-square foot brick warehouse and not throw away a single scrap of drywall, tile or lumber.
“We looked at ourselves and said, ‘Can we move in and not throw anything in a landfill?’” said Chris Enlow, Keen’s care and community manager. “Portland is a hub for sustainability. What small part can we play to amplify those values that the community is so proud of?”
Although it came up a dumpster short, the ambitious project helped push Keen toward winning this year’s Sustainable Business Oregon award for sustainable operations among medium-sized companies.
The Portland-based footwear maker started the project after it purchased the Pearl Building in February. The project wrapped up last month.
“It was a pretty fast timeline to move almost 150 people and renovate a building,” Enlow said.
|• Meet the 2012 SBO Awards winners >>|
In order to minimize waste, the company sent truckloads of used materials to the Rebuilding Center and other organizations that reuse building supplies.
It also saved some lumber that was ripped out of the walls. It’ll use the material in the new Keen retail store that will open on the building’s ground floor in December.
While the project came up short of its idealistic goal, the company sent less than one dumpster of debris to the landfill. Similar sized projects would likely have filled 30 dumpsters.
“We wanted to do it in a thoughtful way,” Enlow said. “We didn’t want to come in and just rip out the old stuff and put in all this new stuff. We challenged ourselves to have zero waste.”
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