Washington Applied Sustainability Internship Program

The Washington Applied Sustainability Internship (WASI) program is a summer internship program designed to link dedicated engineering, chemistry, sustainability and environmental sciences students with business and industry in Washington. Interns research identified pollution prevention opportunities at a Host Business to analyze, recommend, and/or implement process changes to find and use safer chemical alternatives, reduce hazardous and solid wastes, conserve energy and water, reduce water contaminants and emissions, increase efficiency and cost savings, and improve employee health and safety. These pollution prevention internship projects will benefit Washington’s waterways and other natural resources. 

For More Information and How to Apply


2023 Projects and Success Stories

Seth Kleckner – The Boeing Company

Environmental Science | University of Washington, Tacoma

WASI Project: Environmental Heat Map and Sludge Drying

Industry: Aerospace Manufacturing (NAICS 3364)

Seth created an environmental heat map to help Boeing prioritize projects based on the environmental impact. To reduce the volume of dangerous waste shipped off-site, Seth also researched different wastewater sludge drying techniques. He recommended a sludge dryer that could reduce hazardous waste by 242,000 pounds. Seth is an Environmental Studies major at the University of Washington in Tacoma.

The Boeing Company is a leading aerospace company servicing over 150 countries. Boeing is a top U.S. exporter and has been a leader in advancing economic opportunities and creating sustainable practices. They continue to innovate for the future, focusing on sustainability and community impact, by fostering their core values of safety, quality, and integrity.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes has been a leading manufacturer of commercial airplanes for decades. Boeing represents almost half of the world’s fleet with more than 10,000 commercial jetliners in service today. Currently, Boeing manufactures the 737, 767, 777, and 787 families of airplanes.

Boeing is committed to reducing their total waste footprint. They created the Global Enterprise Sustainability (GES) organization, which guide’s Boeing’s efforts to reduce waste and conserve environmental resources.

The Boeing Company has operational performance targets to meet by 2025, using 2017 as a baseline. These goals include reducing:

  1. Greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent
  2. Water consumption by 20 percent
  3. Solid waste to landfill by 20 percent
  4. Energy consumption by 10 percent
  5. Hazardous waste by 5 percent

Ashley Cohen – Canyon Creek Cabinet Company

Environmental Studies | Carleton College

WASI Project: Wood Waste Reduction

Industry: Cabinet Manufacturer (NAICS 3371)

Ashley analyzed Canyon Creek’s wood waste to optimize wood scrap reuse. Recovering the readily usable scrap can save Canyon Creek over $537,000 annually. Ashley is studying Environmental Studies at Carleton College in Minnesota.

Canyon Creek Cabinet Company manufactures premium semi-custom cabinetry in Monroe, Washington, and markets its products to designers, builders, and a select network of independent dealers throughout the United States. Canyon Creek Cabinet Company has been a recognized leader in the kitchen and bath industry since 1981 and has won many industry awards for its cabinetry as well as for its commitment and efforts towards safer environmental practices.

The company has focused on sustainable manufacturing for more than 30 years and constantly looks for better materials and ways to cut energy use and create less waste. Current manufacturing processes prioritize efficiency over the conservation of valuable materials. This prioritization cost the company a previously unquantified sum of money that could instead be invested into more environmentally and financially beneficial business practices.

Canyon Creek’s emphasis on sustainability led them to look at the large quantity of wood scraps they were generating. Wood remnants that are larger than 9 x 5.5 inches are considered “usable scrap” and are recyclable. If a wood remnant is smaller than 9 x 5.5 inches, it is considered “scrap” and is not recyclable. The “scrap” is ground up and turned into wood chips or sawdust for easier transport out of the facility. Previously, Canyon Creek sold this waste as biofuel to a papermill that is now closed, so they are trying to minimize the amount of waste and find alternate disposal options.

Jimmy Huynh – SEKISUI Aerospace

Mechanical Engineering | University of Washington

WASI Project: Prepreg Waste Reduction

Industry: Aerospace Manufacturing (NAICS 3364)

Jimmy modified SEKISUI’s part kit and layup process, minimizing the amount of prepreg scrap created during product manufacturing. These changes can help reduce 1,200 pounds of hazardous materials and waste annually – for just one part. Jimmy graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

SEKISUI Aerospace specializes in the design and manufacture of composite products for the aerospace industry. SEKISUI offers innovative and cost-effective solutions for aerospace structures, systems, and interiors, catering to a wide range of customers.

SEKISUI Aerospace, a part of the SEKISUI Chemical Group, has over 700 employees spread across three sites in Renton and Sumner, Washington, and Orange City, Iowa.

SEKISUI actively prioritizes social and environmental value by decreasing their material use and process costs, thus lowering its environmental impact. These goals align with their parent company, SEKISUI Chemical, which has been selected as a 2023 Global 100 Sustainable Corporations in the World for the sixth consecutive year.

Payton Curley – Wilcox Farms

Environmental Science and Resource Management | University of Washington

WASI Project:Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling

Industry: Food and Beverage – Chicken Egg Production (NAICS 112310)

Payton helped Wilcox Farms divert over 340 tons of liquid egg waste and over 12,000 pounds of nitrogen from their wastewater lagoons to on-site manure compost. She also helped the farm recycle nearly 500,000 pounds of clean cardboard. Payton is studying Environmental Science and Resource Management at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Wilcox Farms is a family-owned and -operated farm based in Roy, Washington, that manufactures egg products. Wilcox Farms is dedicated to providing the highest quality eggs and raising happy, healthy hens. Through this mission and commitment to sustainable agriculture, they’ve developed a trustworthy and socially responsible brand image. Wilcox Farms follows the Certified Humane standards and offers free range, pasture raised, and certified organic eggs and egg products.

Wilcox Farms’ dedication to the livelihoods of their hens extends to preservation of the environment. They follow water reclamation and conservation guidelines and are certified salmon safe. Wilcox Farms are participants in Stewardship Partners, protecting wildlife that reside in the Nisqually River that runs directly through their property. Their core values include transparency, integrity, and humane practices. They value their chickens, employees, and the ecosystem where they operate.

As part of their commitment to sustainable agriculture, Wilcox Farms saw an opportunity to reduce levels of total nitrogen discharged into groundwater. Wilcox Farms believed reducing the amount of liquid egg waste discharged would significantly contribute to this reduction. Wilcox Farms also wanted to pursue alternate disposal options for the fiber and corrugated cardboard waste stream. In addressing these two waste streams, Wilcox also anticipated an increase in resource efficiency, maximizing product output while minimizing labor and reducing costs.