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News Releases from Region 09

EPA Recognizes Drug Enforcement Administration Western Laboratory in Pleasanton, Calif. as a Federal Green Challenge National Winner

Contact Information: 
Soledad Calvino (

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes federal facilities in California and nationwide for effectively applying measures to conserve money and resources as part of the Federal Green Challenge program. The Challenge is a national EPA effort which encourages federal agencies to reduce the federal government's environmental impact.

“We recognize the Drug Enforcement Administration Western Laboratory, located here in California, for implementing innovative programs to achieve outstanding environmental and economic results,” said EPA Pacific Southwest regional administrator John Busterud.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Western Laboratory, located in Pleasanton, California, increased electronics recycled through a third-party certified recycler or donated to colleges/universities by 92.9% (0.54 tons of electronics recycled/donated in FY 2019 compared to 0.28 tons in FY 2018).  Whenever possible, the laboratory purchases Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Silver certified electronic products, reducing its environmental footprint and maintaining its ongoing commitment to leadership in sustainable procurement.

In addition to ensuring that all surplus/obsolete DEA electronics are properly disposed of in the most environmentally friendly manner, the Western Laboratory holds multiple personal electronics recycling drives for its employees. In 2019, 0.44 tons of personal electronics were recycled.

Beyond its national-level Federal Green Challenge award, the Western Laboratory is also being honored this year with a Pacific Southwest Regional Federal Green Challenge award in the Leadership category. DEA’s Western Laboratory joined the PG&E Solar Choice Program, using Green-e Energy certification, which provides clean renewable electricity from offsite, utility-owned solar photovoltaic arrays in Northern California.

In the first three months of participation in the program, the Western Laboratory received 435,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy, accounting for 100% of the facility’s energy use.  The Western Laboratory’s participation in the Solar Choice program was a contributing factor in increasing DEA’s agency-wide renewable energy content from 2 percent in fiscal year 2017 (FY17) to over 10 percent in FY19.

“Led by its Environmental Management System (EMS) team, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Western Laboratory staff is committed to environmental sustainability and reducing our operational footprint.  For example, over the last year, the Western Laboratory effected a 93% increase in electronics either recycled through a 3rd party certified recycler or donated to colleges/universities. We hope to continue our tradition of improvement and innovation, implementing practices that will preserve and protect our environment in the years to come,” said Esther W. Chege, laboratory director of the DEA Western Laboratory.

In FY19, national Federal Green Challenge participants reduced their environmental impact throughout the waste stream, including:

  • Sending nearly 180 tons of end-of-life electronics to third-party certified recyclers.
  • Diverting more than 600,000 tons of waste from landfills.
  • Adding nearly 5,000 electric, hybrid, and alternative fuel vehicles to their fleets.
  • Recycling 180 million gallons of water.

For more information on the Federal Green Challenge and this year’s winners, visit

For more information on the EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program, visit

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