EPA Recognizes Governments, Organizations and Businesses for Outstanding Waste Reduction Efforts

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes the waste reduction accomplishments of 29 participants in and endorsers of EPA’s Waste Wise program and EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. These collaborative initiatives apply sustainable materials management practices to decrease wasted food and municipal and industrial wastes in the United States, leading to economic and environmental improvements. EPA provides tools, resources and support to help participants establish baselines, set objectives, track progress and realize their waste reduction goals. EPA reviews the data submitted by participants by employing an extensive quality assurance process.

“Food Recovery Challenge participants diverted nearly 606,000 tons of wasted food from entering landfills or incinerators in 2014, nearly 88,600 tons of which were donated to people in need,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “These innovative efforts will help us achieve our ambitious national wasted food reduction goal – a 50 percent reduction by 2030. I encourage other organizations to follow their lead by joining the Food Recovery Challenge.”

In 2014, nearly 800 governments, businesses and organizations participated in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, including grocers, educational institutions, sports and entertainment venues and restaurants. These entities diverted wasted food from entering landfills or incinerators through a variety of innovative actions, including creative re-use of trimmings by university dining staff; donating excess, wholesome food to food banks, shelters and soup kitchens; composting in urban settings; and using wasted food to produce electricity.

EPA recognizes Food Recovery Challenge participants and endorsers with awards in two categories: data-driven and narrative. The data-driven award recipients achieved the highest percent of wasted food diversion and prevention in their sector in 2014. Narrative award winners excelled in the areas of source reduction, leadership, innovation, education and outreach, and endorsement.

2015 Food Recovery Challenge National Award Winners

Data-driven Improvement by Sectors

  • Colleges and Universities: Salem State University, Salem, Massachusetts
  • K-12 Schools: Pearl City High School, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Grocers: Sprouts Farmers Market: 24, Tucson, Arizona
  • Hospitality: Ortega National Parks, LLC: White Sands Trading Company, Alamogordo, New Mexico
  • Restaurants and Food Service Providers: Serendipity Catering, Denver, Colorado
  • Sports and Entertainment Venues: SAVOR…Chicago-McCormick Place South, Chicago Illinois
  • Other Organization: Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Theo Lacy Facility, Orange, California

Narrative Categories

  • Source Reduction Winner: University California (UC), Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California
  • Source Reduction Honorable Mention: Clark University, Worchester, Massachusetts
  • Leadership Winner: MB Financial Park at Rosemont/Village of Rosemont, Rosemont, Illinois
  • Innovation Winner: Crystal Creamery, Modesto, California
  • Innovation Honorable Mention: City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Prison System, Philadelphia Pennsylvania
  • Education and Outreach Winner: Keene State College, Keene, New Hampshire
  • Endorser Winner: Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

WasteWise participants also reported impressive results in 2014, preventing and diverting more than 6.7 million tons of municipal and industrial waste from being disposed. These colleges and universities, federal, local and tribal governments, businesses and non-profit organizations implemented a variety of waste prevention and recycling initiatives to both reduce waste and increase efficiencies throughout their operations.

EPA recognizes exceptional WasteWise participants for their annual improvement, overall improvement and waste prevention performance by sector in 2014. Additionally, the endorser award recognizes outstanding efforts to promote WasteWise as a means to help organizations reduce waste and promote overall sustainable materials management.

2015 WasteWise Program Awardees

  • Federal Government Winner: U.S. Postal Service Headquarters Facilities, Orlando, Florida
  • Federal Government Honorable Mention: The Presidio Trust, San Francisco, California
  • Tribal Government Winner: Chumash Casino Resort, Santa Ynez, California
  • Local Government Winner: City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Small Business Winner: Exel Lockport, Lockport, New York
  • Small Business Honorable Mention: Command Packaging, Vernon, California
  • Mid-Size Business Winner: Madison Precision Products, Madison, Indiana
  • Large Business Winner: Commonwealth Edison Company, Terrace, Illinois
  • Large Business Honorable Mention: Rooms to Go, Suwanee, Georgia
  • Very Large Business Winner: Toyota Motor North America, Torrance, California
  • Very Large Business Honorable Mention: Kohl’s Department Stores, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
  • College and University Winner: Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • College and University Winner: Clark University, Worchester, Massachusetts
  • Non-profit Organization Winner: Cannon Grange #152, Wilton, Connecticut
  • Endorser Winner: Global Fiberglass Solutions, Inc., Bellevue, Washington

For more information on WasteWise: http://www3.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/smm/wastewise/

For more information on the Food Recovery Challenge: http://www2.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food

EPA Now Accepting Applications for the 2016 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting applications through January 29, 2016, for its second annual Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards.

“Safer Choice partners and award winners have shown that safer products are good for the health of our families, the environment, and business,” said EPA assistant administrator Jim Jones. “We look forward to recognizing the next group of award winners who have innovated and promoted the use of Safer Choice products.”

Award winners will be recognized for advancing the goal of chemical safety through exemplary participation in or promotion of the Safer Choice Program at a ceremony in late spring of 2016 in Washington, D.C.

EPA will present at least one award in each of these five categories:

  • Product and Chemical Manufacturers
  • Purchasers and Distributors
  • Retailers
  • Supporters
  • Innovators

To qualify for the Safer Choice label, a product must meet EPA’s Safer Choice Standard, of stringent human and environmental health criteria. Currently, the Safer Choice Program has nearly 500 formulator-manufacturer partners who make more than 2,000 products for retail and institutional customers.

More information on the 2016 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards and application process can be found at http://www2.epa.gov/saferchoice/safer-choice-partner-year-awards

Three Student Winners Selected for IAC Video Contest

The Industrial Assessment Centers program, administered through the Advanced Manufacturing Office, recently selected two winners, and one honorable mention for creativity, from its student video contest held earlier this summer. Students were asked to create a five minute instructional video that identified industrial energy efficiency system improvements and opportunities.

The student winners hailed from Tennessee Technological University, Syracuse University, and the University of Idaho Boise.

Click here to view the winning student videos.

EPA Calls for the 21st Presidential Green Chemistry Award Nominations

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its request for nominations for its 2016 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards for companies or institutions that have developed a process or product that better protects public health and the environment.

“For more than two decades, we have seen creative innovations making our manufacturing processes and products better and safer,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Our efforts to speed the adoption of revolutionary and diverse disciplines have led to significant environmental benefits, innovation and a strengthened economy.”

Since the start of the program, EPA has received more than 1,500 nominations and presented awards for 104 new technologies that have reduced more than 826 million pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents, savings 21 billion gallons of water, and eliminating 7.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide releases.

EPA is sponsoring the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards in partnership with the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute® and members of the chemical community including industry, trade associations, and academic institutions. Nominations are due to EPA by December 31, 2015.

Next June, EPA expects to give five awards for outstanding green chemistry technologies in traditional categories and a sixth award for a green chemistry technology that addresses climate change. The award areas include:

  • Greener Synthetic Pathways
  • Greener Reaction Conditions
  • Greener Chemical Products
    The Design of Greener Chemicals
  • Small Business (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by a small business)
  • Academic (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by an academic researcher)
  • Specific Environmental Benefit: Climate Change (for a technology in any of the three focus areas that reduces greenhouse gas emissions)

More information on past award winners and how to submit entries can be found at: http://www2.epa.gov/green-chemistry

President’s Environmental Youth Award

The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) recognizes outstanding environmental projects by K-12 youth. The PEYA program promotes awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. Since 1971, the President of the United States has joined with EPA to recognize young people for protecting our nation’s air, water, land, and ecology. It is one of the most important ways EPA and the Administration demonstrate commitment to environmental stewardship efforts created and conducted by our nation’s youth. Applications for this year’s award are due December 31, 2015.

Each year the PEYA program honors a wide variety of projects developed by young individuals, school classes (kindergarten through high school), summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness. Thousands of young people from all 50 states and the U.S. territories have submitted projects to EPA for consideration. Winning projects in the past have covered a wide range of subject areas, including:

  • restoring native habitats
  • recycling in schools and communities
  • construction of nature preserves
  • tree planting
  • installing renewable energy projects
  • creating videos, skits and newsletters that focused on environmental issues
  • participating in many other creative sustainability efforts

Evaluation results consistently demonstrate that participation in the PEYA program is frequently a life-changing experience for many of the young people and their project sponsors.

Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) Award

Letters of intent due: January 26, 2016; January 28, 2017; January 27,  2018
Applications due: February 26, 2016; February 28, 2017; February 27, 2018, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.
Read the full solicitation.

The Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) Award is intended to identify the most talented Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) who intend to make a long-term commitment to research in the Environmental Health Sciences and assist them in launching an innovative research program focused on the understanding of environmental exposure effects on people’s health.


Illinois Companies, Organizations Honored for Achievements In Sustainability

Nineteen Illinois companies and organizations were honored October 27 for their demonstrated leadership in implementing sustainable principles and practices. The Governor’s Sustainability Awards, the “Emmy Awards for Sustainability,” were presented by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) during a ceremony in Chicago. ISTC is a unit of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Since 1987, ISTC has presented Governor’s Awards to organizations in Illinois that have demonstrated a commitment to environmental excellence through outstanding and innovative sustainability practices. Any Illinois public or private organization is eligible to apply for the award. Winners are selected through a rigorous process of review and examination by ISTC technical assistance experts.

“Businesses that invest in sustainability drive a thriving Illinois economy by creating jobs and making an investment in our future,” said Governor Rauner. “The Governor’s Sustainability Awards foster sustainable innovation and encourage our public and private sector to build a stronger, more sustainable Illinois.”

Sustainable economic growth is essential to the long-term competitiveness of the state, according to ISTC Director Kevin O’Brien. “These awards demonstrate that you can preserve natural and cultural resources and simultaneously grow your business,” he said. “That is why this award is very critical. It demonstrates it can be done, it’s being done in Illinois, and it is what sets us apart as Illinoisans.”

The complete list of 2015 award winners is listed below.

2015 Governor’s Sustainability Award Winners

  • Abbot Laboratories – Abbot Park
  • Abbie Inc. – North Chicago
  • Argonne National Laboratory – Lemont
  • Caterpillar – Morton Parts Distribution Center
  • Clarke – St. Charles
  • ComEd – Oak Brook Terrace
  • Cook County – Chicago*
  • Golden State Foods Chicago – McCook*
  • Griffith Laboratories – Alsip*
  • Hoffer Plastics Corporation – South Elgin*
  • Illinois Tollway – Downers Grove
  • J.L. Clark – Rockford
  • John G. Shedd Aquarium – Chicago*
  • McHenry County Government – Woodstock*
  • Public Building Commission – Chicago*
  • Saratoga Food Specialties – Bolingbrook*
  • Silgan Containers Manufacturing Corporation – Rochelle*
  • University Housing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign*
  • Western Illinois University – Macomb*

 * Indicates a first-time winner of the Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award.

Additional information on the Governor’s Sustainability Awards program, lists of previous winners, and information on technical assistance for Illinois companies and communities are available from the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, One Hazelwood Drive, Champaign, IL 61820, phone (217) 333-8940, http://www.istc.illinois.edu/

To Request Photos of Winning Teams, please contact jdexter@illinois.edu