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News Releases from Region 03

EPA recognizes two federal facilities in Pennsylvania with Green Challenge awards

Local winners save resources and taxpayers’ money

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PHILADELPHIA (Aug. 22, 2019) - Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is recognizing federal facilities across the country for conserving resources and saving taxpayers’ money as part of the Federal Green Challenge (FGC).  In EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, the James E. Van Zandt Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Altoona, Pa., and the Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Coatesville, Pa., will both receive the Region’s Federal Green Challenge Award.  The challenge is a national effort under the EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program, which encourages federal agencies to lead by example in reducing its environmental impact. 

In fiscal year 2018, FGC participants reduced their environmental impact by:

  • Sending more than 235 tons of end-of-life electronics to third-party certified recyclers.
  • Reducing transportation costs by more than $23 million.
  • Using approximately 536 million fewer gallons of potable water.
  • Decreasing paper purchasing by nearly 2,800 pounds.
  • Diverting an estimated 675,000 tons of waste from landfills.

“We need innovative, sustainable practices to reduce waste, improve efficiency, save energy and reuse valuable resources,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “I applaud all of the agencies doing this good work, and congratulate Veterans Affairs and its Medical Centers in Altoona and Coatesville who will receive this year’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Federal Green Challenge Awards.”

Innovation Award: James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center, Altoona, Pa.  
The ongoing efforts of Green Teams in the Van Zandt Veterans Affairs Medical Center has made a difference by identifying and innovatively resolving issues. Teams do assessments in their working areas to recycle paper, turn off lights and motivate and challenge other TEAMS to be greener.  The Green Team from the Procedure Clinic named themselves GANG GREEN, got green T-Shirts with their name on them, and established an email group to exchange ideas in greening the operating room.  More than 90% of the medical center’s employees in the clinic are actively engaged in a Green Team and are promoting the program to all new employees. 

Waste Diversion Award: Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Coatesville, Pa.
The Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center diverted waste and put it back into productive reuse by recycling 1,450 tons of materials, sending 17.5 tons of wood waste to shred into an absorbent material which is processed at an environmental recovery center; and composting all grass clippings, leaves, and wood from downed limbs and trees.

The Federal Green Challenge is a voluntary, yearlong commitment in which federal participants focus on finding more ways to efficiently manage their resources to reduce the costs of building operations, maintenance, and supplies.  For more information on the Federal Green Challenge, and this year’s national and regional winners, please visit