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Federal Green Challenge

Apply for a Federal Green Challenge Award

Recognition is a key element of the EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program and the Federal Green Challenge (FGC). FGC awards are offered in two categories: Data Driven awards and Narrative awards.

Applicants are evaluated on information submitted via the annual data and awards nomination sections of the Federal Green Challenge data management system.

EPA encourages all eligible federal facilities to apply for these awards. Smaller facilities will equitably compete with larger facilities. EPA recognizes that one size does not 'fit all' and may give multiple awards under one category to reflect the variation in federal facility types.

The winners are based on annual data from the previous year’s activities.

Eligibility Criteria

Participants are eligible to apply for a Federal Green Challenge award if you meet the following criteria:

  • Meet your Federal Green Challenge goals in the target area(s) for which you are seeking recognition (Waste, Purchasing, Electronics, Energy, Water, Transportation).
  • Submit your FY annual results into the Federal Green Challenge Data Management System (Re-Trac Connect)Exit by the selected due date.
  • Submit an award nomination form in the Federal Green Challenge Data Management System (Re-Trac Connect)Exit by the selected due date.
  • Your facility possesses no formal environmental enforcement actions and no significant environmental violations in the last 3 years.

Awards Categories

Data Driven Awards

Data Driven Awards (offered at both national and EPA regional levels) are in the target areas of Waste, Electronics, Purchasing, Energy, Water and Transportation. Awards are based on information submitted by participants in their annual data entered into the Federal Green Challenge data management system.

Data Driven Awards will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
  • Improvement: based on percentage improvement over the previous year’s numbers in a specific target area.
  • Overall Level of Performance: the annual cumulative percentage improvement in two or more target areas to determine the highest overall level of performance.
  • Overall Materials Recovery Performance: For the data reporting in the current recognition cycle, the Federal Green Challenge is recognizing facilities that are recovering the highest percentage of their generated materials stream.
    • The percentage will be generated by calculating a summary all recovery stream categories entered (reuse, recycling and composting) and then dividing this by the sum of the total generated materials stream (reuse, recycling, composting, landfilling and waste to energy).
    • The facility with the highest percentage may be recognized at the National and/or Regional level at discretion of each Region. Facilities may submit partial data, but to be considered for the award a participant must have submitted data from at least one recovery stream category and one disposal category (landfilling or waste to energy).

Narrative Awards

Narrative Awards (offered only at the regional level) are given in the categories of Innovation, Education & Outreach and Leadership. Awards are based on information submitted by participants in the award nomination form section of the Federal Green Challenge data management system. Narrative awards are evaluated based on responses to the specific questions listed under each type of narrative award. For scoring purposes, the questions/statements in each of the following sections are weighted equally.

Innovation – Using or showing new methods or ideas

  • What innovative method(s) or idea(s) were used?
  • How they were these innovative methods or ideas used?
  • What criteria was evaluated or taken into account by the use of these innovative methods or ideas? Why was the implementation of your innovative method or idea so significant?
  • What impact did your implementation of the method or idea have on your target area?
  • Describe how this was an innovative idea or method for your facility?

Education and Outreach – what actions were taken to promote education of environmental impacts and potential reductions for the FGC target areas?

  • Identify the percentage of your total target population reached by the education and outreach activity you want recognized.
  • Describe the methods used to reach this target population?
  • How did you measure the results? What are the environmental impacts in real data (what you measured) as a result of education and outreach to your target population?
  • Why was the implementation of your education and outreach so significant? Describe what obstacles you overcame
  • What impact do you foresee this education to have on your target population in the future?
Leadership – selection is based on narrative clearly addressing the following criteria.
  • Documentation, presentations and outreach that lead to other entity’s success in achieving significantly reduced environmental results as a result of that coaching. What were those results in real data?
  • Describe the efforts taken to mentor/assist others where those other entities achieved significantly reduced environmental results as a direct result of that coaching.
  • As leadership should be defined through leading by example – how did you meet /exceed your own goals.
  • Describe how your entity’s leadership went outside your field of control.
  • Why was the undertaking and evidence of your leadership so significant?

How to Apply for an Award