Gov. Christine Gregoire has honored Totem Ocean Trailer Express
(TOTE) of Tacoma and Federal Way, Washington. with the 2005 Governor's Award for Pollution Prevention & Sustainable Practices, the state's highest honor for taking care of the environment while doing business in Washington.
The awards recognize businesses and others who have found innovative ways to offer services and make products while reducing or eliminating hazardous waste and conserving vital resources such as energy and water.
TOTE runs a regular transport service between the Port of Tacoma and Port of Anchorage, Alaska. The company has reduced its use of toxic chemicals and fuel. It protects the marine environment and supports local communities.
TOTE's U.S.-built ships are designed to carry more cargo, use less fuel and provide greater environmental protection than the company's previous vessels. The more efficient diesel-electric motors reduced fuel use by 30 percent, or 5,000 less barrels per week.
The ships have redundant rudder steering systems, redundant monitors and alarms on the fuel tanks, and extra spill-equipment lockers. Two of the engines can be worked on while the ship is underway without threatening the integrity of the power plant.
The ships also have an internal fresh water ballast system so they do not have to take on or discharge seawater for ballast. This avoids introducing invasive species
to local waters. They have desalinization plants, so reclaimed salt water is used for all fresh water purposes on board. The ships have state-of-the-art sewage treatment plants and use only biodegradable soap, detergents and degreasers on board.
On their return trips to Tacoma, the TOTE ships carry recyclables for processing, electronic waste for proper disposal and used clothing, all for free. The Alaska recycling organization values the recyclables transport alone at more than $1 million each year.