Washing the inmates' laundry in cold water, composting kitchen waste and collecting rain water are holding down costs to both the taxpayer and the environment, says the Department of Corrections
The state's 15 prisons have seen some successes in the last four years:
• 23 percent less waste sent to dumps
• 18 percent less vehicle fuel used
• 1.5 percent less energy use per square foot
• 40 percent increase in recycling
"It's like a lot of other things. It's where the light shines. There's some unexpected gains when you start going down the road on sustainability," said Dan Pacholke, the department's facilities administrator for Western Washington.
Inmates and staff at Cedar Creek Corrections Center have headed some of those efforts, particularly in water use and gardening.
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